TV Bay Questions Editor and Technical Manager at Astley Baker Davies


Who are you? (about yourself and Astley Baker Davies)

I am Taig McNab, editor and technical manager at Astley Baker Davies. We are a small, multi-award winning animation studio based in central London.

What do you do? What does Astley Baker Davies do?

We are most famous for our involvement with the Peppa Pig series. Our other shows include Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom and The Big Knights - which has just been re-mastered in HD and released on Blu-ray.

Being a small company, we don't have a large edit department so its just down to me my assistant to take care of all the editing requirements from just after the voice recordings to final delivery. We do everything in house except the voice records (which are done at The Sound Company) and the sound design/mix (which is done at Fonic).

I also look after all the technical/IT things in the studio from managing the SAN and network to the AppleTV!

Tell me a little about your previous experience, what you've worked on and with up to your current position?

Before coming to ABD, most of my work was in live-action editing. Mainly online and grading work for entertainment and factual television shows. When I started there was still a lot of linear editing and Lightworks systems around.

That pretty quickly moved to an almost exclusively Avid based period followed by the slow introduction of a bit of FCP over the last decade.

Personally, I've moved away from worrying about what software I'm running and have taken more of an interest in the hardware/infrastructure side of things. From past experiences, the software really doesn't make a difference if the infrastructure and workflow isn't right.

What specific project(s) do you have in the works?

We're just starting work on a new series of Peppa Pig, and we've got another series of Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom in the pipeline too. That takes us right through until Easter 2012.

What new technology are you working with?

The technology hasn't really changed much for us over the last few years - the only difference is, we have more of it!

All our output at the moment is to HDCAM SR at 1080 25PsF using FCP via a Blackmagic Multibridge Pro. We're also going to be doing some 2K work next year and its great that we won't have to upgrade our edit suites for that.

Our biggest changes have been on the infrastructure side of things. The most recent big purchase was earlier this year - we re-vamped our network and SAN. We wanted something to increase our storage capacity while reducing rack space and power consumption. We have quite a small machine room and a very full rack so we retired 4x Infortrend EonStors and put in a Nexsan SATABeast. Luckily nobody has to work in there as its pretty noisy but it ticks all the boxes for us.

What new products/technology are you looking forward to the most?

At work we have a pretty set workflow and outside Final Cut Studio, Illustrator, Photoshop and our animation software, CelAction, we don't really use a great lot of anything fancy other than a bit of AppleScript and Filemaker Pro.

I'm still looking for the perfect asset manager and there are a couple of things in this arena that look really interesting. I'm also hoping to get some automatic voice recognition in place for our audio assets too - we have an enormous amount of archive that it would be brilliant to be able to catalogue and tag - at the moment we pretty much go from memory!

During your career in post what was the biggest “turning point” into new technology?

For me, it was probably offlineing a series on a £400 PC using cheap drives and it conformed perfectly. Thankfully, I've never had to do that again as I'm a big fan of not waiting for things to render, but having things like HD/2K editing and grading on a computer you can buy on the high street means that you can complete work to the highest of standards while keeping your costs competitive.

What is your favourite / least favourite things about working in post?

I love that anything is possible given time and money. I hate that most clients have very little of either.

What gets you out of bed in the morning to go to work?

I get a kick out of making things work better or more efficiently than they did before so I quite like it when someone comes to me with a problem - it gives me a chance to make sure we're doing things the right way.

Tags: iss047 | astley baker davies | peppa pig | blackmagic | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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