Under the Bonnet at Windmill Lane

Under the Bonnet at Windmill Lane


Written by Jason Gaffney

[Read Time: 3 mins]


In order for a house to stay standing – the foundations must be strong. Since arriving at 29 Herbert Street in May 2022 Ed Smith – Head of Operations at Windmill – has been laying / relaying structures that will set Windmill Lane up for long-term success.

As he says himself; How we protect, manage, move and access our data dictates a large proportion of our business. With the company feeding the imaginations of millions worldwide through VFX, Animation, Film, TV and Commercials its easy to forget just what goes on behind the scenes to make the creative process possible. Lets check under the bonnet of Windmill Lane with Ed Smith to understand how the infrastructure has been built and allows the artists to flourish. 


Can you tell me about how you set your stall out, in the early stages, after joining Windmill Lane as Head of Operations?

Initially I was predominantly focussed on understanding all the legacy workflows and familiarising myself with the idiosyncrasies in each department. Identifying inefficiencies and trying to increase communication were primary goals.  In parallel to that, I jumped in at the deep end managing our security overhaul to bring us in line with TPN best practices.

Can you tell me about some of the key challenges you have faced in your role?

Change management is probably the main challenge. Long standing habits are always tricky to adjust but the team at Windmill are really flexible and open to new ideas and workflows. Making changes is always a collaborative process and I’m lucky to be surrounded by such an experienced crew who are always happy to give great feedback and bounce ideas around.


[IT Security is paramount for Windmill Lane]


How important is it for a company like Windmill Lane to invest in IT infrastructure and why?

There are a lot of creative people at Windmill, constantly putting incredible pictures and sound on our screens, but sometimes I like to simplify our facility as “a more fun version of a data centre“. How we protect, manage, move and access our data dictates a large proportion of our business.  Windmill has heavily invested in our IT infrastructure over the last 18 months and almost every business justification for that investment comes back to facilitating better artist collaboration and allowing our incredible teams to spend more time being creative.  In this way, we continue to develop more efficient workflows while still producing high quality results for our clients.

You have just got back from attending IBC in Amsterdam. How did it go?

IBC 2023 was fantastic. So many incredible new technologies and workflows being demonstrated. This year we were mainly focussed on security so it was great to engage with TPN directly. We made some significant connections with some potential vendors and further developed our relationships with fellow Irish industry members.


[IBC 2023, Amsterdam]


Why do you enjoy your job?

I’ve had a very interesting last year and a half at Windmill lane. The team here are incredible workmates so I’d have to say any time I can make someone’s workday a little easier is a fulfilling day for me.  Streamlining a process means we’re being more efficient and ultimately, being a bit smarter about using our resources.

Meet some more of our Support team below…


[Windmill Lanes Support & IT Team]
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