Post Production


The global financial downturn is having a significant impact on every industry and television is suffering too. The programme budgets of most channels are being held or cut making the costs of producing content significant in the decision on whether programmes and series are aired. Yet the demand remains for bigger, bolder and more cinematic styles and effects in television programmes. The challenge to post-production is how to achieve these high production values but at the same time reducing costs.
At Suitcase TV we believe that too much post-production work is done in edit suites or, worse still, using pen and paper that could be done using inexpensive pre-editing tools. By reviewing and redesigning workflows to incorporate such tools we believe that costs can be cut at the same time as efficiency and flexibility can be increased.
The first key to these improvements is the introduction of metadata capture into the workflow as early as possible. Metadata means “data bout the data” and encompasses qualitative as well as quantitative information about the content. Start and finish timecodes and length of programme represent quantitative data while shot tagging with subjective data (such as noting a scene contains bad language) represents qualitative data that bridges the gap between meaningful and meaningless content.
Whether the programme is live or pre-recorded, ShotLogger is an indispensable software application designed to log events or shots and quickly generate metadata tags. This tagging process is achieved using an on-screen keyword pad of pre-defined tags to which free text can be attached and used in metadata searches. Tags might be set up for identifying cautions such as swearing or nudity for compliance editing; from live news broadcasts to party policital debates, sports and music, ShotLogger can cater for all events.
The paper-based approach, where editing personnel jot down timecodes of the best take in drama rushes, goals in sports production or key moments in news programmes can be laborious, and time-consuming. But ShotLogger displays the video alongside a timeline with timecode, a familiar environment for post-production staff, and allows instantaneous tagging of shots within the content being reviewed.
The second key to improved efficiency and cost reductions is to limit the amount of time your content is in the edit suite. Splice, our pre-editing tool, enables content to be reviewed and Edit Decision Lists (EDLs) to be generated without the use of expensive equipment or staff.
Either by picking up tagged events, created in ShotLogger, or using the clip in/out marking tools in Splice, the user can start assembling a rough edit from server content. When the EDL has been created, the virtual edit sequence can be viewed prior to publishing or exporting to the edit suite for fine editing. Splice is compatible with full craft editing packages such as Avid, Final Cut or Quantel, for finishing. Splice will work with full resolution media (including 50i), or low resolution “proxy browse” copies.
To enable more flexible working, both ShotLogger and Splice applications can be used to stream video to remote users, allowing multi-user and multi-region access to content; an excellent feature for post-production houses, subtitle generation/dubbing facilities and programme commissioners/producers that would like to preview content remotely. Because the low-resolution video is streamed directly from the server it means that at no point is any video saved to local hard disks and the content remains secure from piracy. Some might think that streaming all media from the server would be slower than working conventionally with the content held locally, however Suitcase TV customers have experienced first-rate performance using Splice in Los Angeles whilst working on content from servers located in the UK.
Although TrakStak isn’t directly linked to the post-production process, it does alleviate the use of some post-production tools to do the same jobs. The TrakStak features include simple addition/deletion of audio tracks, management of audio languages and subtitles, and track adjustment as well as offering an editorial review and QC tool.
TrakStak excels in situations where new audio tracks have to be added after the video content has been ingested. Appending a new track in TrakStak can be done at up to 80 times real-time, and without re-ingesting the video. The application allows quick lip-sync correction making use of the visual waveforms and the track nudge tool, offsetting the track in either milliseconds or frames.

Tags: post production | iss044 | metadata | suitcase tv | shotlogger | edl | splice application | trakstak | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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