Will Strauss looks at post production in 2014


Will Strauss# TV-Bay Magazine
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by Will Strauss
Issue 85 - January 2014
 
 
Despite being named in Americas Top 10 Dying Industries in 2011, post-production still very much has its place in the UK. But it is changing. And fast.

With increasingly commoditized and affordable technology allowing pretty much anyone (within reason) to do post-production, the lines between production and post continue to blur.

At the same time, as workflows change and TV folk seek out new ways of being ever more creative, the traditional model of using a large hardware-filled facility resplendent with armies of permanent staff and vast picture and sound suites is no longer suited to the budget or creative taste of every client (or every post company owner for that matter).

Of course, the technical expertise required for certain types of shows and for QC, audio finishing, media management and programme delivery means that the post facility will be with us for many years to come but some parts of the chain, notably a number of the craft elements, are evolving with new ways of working emerging.

One of these is what you might call remote working. Its not so much the euphemistic working from home (although that is relevant) but rather members of the production team using technology to allow them to dovetail on a project in locations that are removed from the media, the suite, the facility or each other: be it on the other side of the world or down the corridor.

Let me give you an example. When ITVs northern operation moved from Quay Street in Manchester to MediaCityUK in Salford , the broadcasters in-house post facility adopted a more elegant and flexible way of working based around the mantra of work wherever, whenever.

The key to this, according to technical manager Taig McNab, was unlocking the space from the task. So, working with systems integrators Root6, they came up with an infrastructure that allowed any technology to be used in any suite or room.
 
Why do you have to edit in an edit suite? asked McNab. Why cant you edit in a meeting room if you want to? That drove quite a lot of the infrastructure decisions.

The secret ingredient was Amulet Hotkeys zero client, a KVM (Keyboard, Video and Mouse) technology that allows a user to access and use any of the hardware and software in the machine room from a single interface at their desk.

Originally adopted by the financial community, it enables users to access multiple systems from a single interface over a network connection without operators and, more importantly, the operating system or application being aware that it is being used from afar.

Clearly you cannot do a grading session in the canteen, says McNab but, where it is appropriate, staff can work where they feel most comfortable and feel most productive.

This type of post-production flexibility can go way beyond the walls of a facility too.

Cloud-based video management and collaboration platforms such as Mediasilo are allowing members of the production team to access footage from anywhere and use this as the basis for their work.
   
For Manchester-based drama indie Red Production Company for example, this technology has allowed audio tracklayers to work from home.

I think that is going to change again in the next few years and enable picture editors to be able to work from home for at least some of the periods of the post-production cycle, explains executive producer Tom Sherry. [It could also open] new doors for us to work with international editors and attract international directors who could do some post at home.

Aframe - the omnipresent cloud platform for collecting, managing and storing video - also allows for this work anywhere-style sharing and reviewing workflow but also adds some editing options too.

Via its Edit Flow feature users can export their timecode-specific metadata out of Aframe and directly into Avid Media Composer, Apple Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. Once there, the metadata relinks with the original media retaining all user changes automatically.

Remote editing is also possible using Adobe Anywhere and Avids Interplay Sphere.

Requiring only a NewsCutter or Media Composer license and an Internet connection to an Interplay Production workgroup, Interplay Sphere connects multiple remote editors at the same time, allowing them to combine locally shot footage with material on the Interplay Production system. Ideal for news production, it uses proxies when faster speeds are required.

Adobe Anywhere, on the other hand, relies on centralized clustered storage and allows a remote editing station to access Premiere projects over a LAN or VPN with the media streamed to the workstation or laptop using the Mercury Streaming Engine, an innovation that negates the need for proxies by adapting resolution to match the available bandwidth.

Quantels QTube is another consideration, especially for news, enabling content creators, administrators and managers to interact with their content wherever they are and wherever their content is located.

At the slightly less expensive end of the scale, Forbidden Technologies long-established FORscene offers the ability to log, edit, review and publish content via any Internet connection.
 
 
Picture editing and audio track laying are not the only disciplines that can be done remotely. Grading anywhere is also possible.

Yes, it can be a standalone process with the colorist working independently. Or, if the project is being graded on Blackmagic Designs Da Vinci Resolve, clients can watch a grade in real-time while the colour correction is happening in a completely different location.

To do this, two DaVinci Resolve systems with identical material are synchronized over the web and all changes made by the colourists system are sent across in near-as-damn-it real-time and applied on the other. Skype can then be used to chat about the project as if both people were in the same room.

Various UK facilities including The Mill, MPC and The Look offer this and other similar types of service with the latter also teaming up with Sumners in Salford to offer grading at MediaCityUK.

With the client doing the prep and the footage upload, The Looks managing director and senior colourist Thomas Urbye points to the potential cost and quality savings that are possible working this way.

A lot of production companies either use their in-house editors or a freelance colourist on a day rate, he says. These are often not dedicated colourists and the results are not as good as you get from one of the colourists here at The Look.

Freelancers are usually booked on a day rate, and this can be complicated if your client makes changes to the edit as the grade can be delayed and freelancers can bill for these last minute re-bookings we can work by the hour.

Remote, flexible working doesnt suit everyone or every production. But as post-production continues to evolve - and the industry become increasingly mobile and global - it is one of the options that will almost certainly become commonplace.
 

 


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Submitted by Dick Hobbs. Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
What are the challenges of AoIP
Craig Newbury At the setup of a recent Outside Broadcast (OB), I was privy to an attempt to pass a signal across two independent Audio over IP (AoIP) enabled trucks. In an SDI world, this bridge would have been as simple as coupling two BNC cables together, but here the engineers quipped about the additional and sometimes challenging processes of connecting one truck's IP router to the other's. What range, what subnet, what protocol? And so, I was introduced first-hand to some of the practicalities of transitioning from SDI to AoIP within a live production environment.
Tags: iss122 | aoip | madi | wohler | Craig Newbury
Submitted by Craig Newbury Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The now and how of LED Lighting
Tama Berkeljon LED lighting has come a long way from the days when companies like Outsight were ridiculed by major manufacturers at trade shows because, the manufacturers asserted, technology couldn't be entrusted with the requirements of our industry.
Tags: iss122 | led lighting | outsite | cri | tlci | dmx control | Tama Berkeljon
Submitted by Tama Berkeljon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A transformation in aquisition technology
Malcolm Harland KitPlus spoke with Malcolm Harland of Garland Partners to find out how the requirements and capabilities of acquisition technologies have changed since the early 2000s and what the state of play now is.
Tags: iss122 | garland partners | liveu | lu600 | h.265 | hevc | Malcolm Harland
Submitted by Malcolm Harland Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Transistion in Audio Monitoring
Shane Toven As signal chains have become increasingly complex, the challenges involved in managing and monitoring these paths have multiplied exponentially. Over the past few decades, we've migrated from handling a single channel of content using composite video and analog audio pairs, to elaborate multi-channel facilities routing HD video with embedded audio over SDI or in many cases discrete AES pairs. These audio signals are often a mix of 5.1 and stereo programs and in many cases encoded to or decoded from Dolby at some point in the chain.
Tags: iss122 | aes | ebu r128 | atsc a85 | aes67 | Shane Toven
Submitted by Shane Toven Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Libec HFMP out of the box review
KitPlus Just before we all broke up for Christmas we took delivery of a new 'thing' at KitPlus HQ. Our first reaction was surprise and a little curious as to how it was going to make itself useful. What's the point?
Tags: iss122 | libec | hfmp | monopod | idx | hands free monopod | KitPlus
Submitted by KitPlus Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Polecam user review
Phil Vinter When it comes to filming from above, drones have dominated in recent years. But restrictions on where and when they can be used means there is still a demand for traditional style jibs.
Tags: iss122 | polecam | review | Phil Vinter
Submitted by Phil Vinter Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Not all power is created equal
Jose Flores Battery companies are quickly coming to realize that as new technologies continue to emerge, power solutions cannot be a one-size-fits-all commodity. There is no single battery for every situation, but instead a myriad of choices to accommodate even the most complex requirements. Below are five common videographer or photographer scenarios with the corresponding power option that will best fit the situations' needs
Tags: iss122 | power | battery | core | swx | Jose Flores
Submitted by Jose Flores Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Future of Bournemouth Air Festival
Georgia Tolley For the past two years I have had the opportunity to present live at the Bournemouth Air Festival (BAF), which, as a Television & Broadcasting student from the University of Portsmouth, was a fantastic way to see first-hand how an outside broadcast works...whilst getting paid!
Tags: iss122 | portsmouth uni | citv | baf | bournemouth air festival | Georgia Tolley
Submitted by Georgia Tolley Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
The Benefits of LED Lighting in Broadcast
Rod Aaron Gammons The humble LED studio light has come a long way since its introduction. In the early days adoption was low, while scepticism that the quality and functionality of LEDs could rival traditional tungsten lighting was high. There has been a period of adjustment, challenges (particularly around light quality and manufacturing) overcome and the broadcast, media and entertainment industry has gradually grown more accepting of the technology and its benefits.
Tags: iss122 | rotolight | led lighting | celbro studio | bbc | mtv | trt | anova pro | Rod Aaron Gammons
Submitted by Rod Aaron Gammons Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Dick finds the truth out there
Dick Hobbs. The Oxford English Dictionary has determined that its word of the year for 2016 was "post-truth". We'll skip over the fact that it is, clearly, two words.
Tags: iss121 | dick hobbs | michael gove | smpte | fake news | Dick Hobbs.
Submitted by Dick Hobbs. Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
6 Misapprehensions of MAM
Julian Wright Implementing a media management system is considered to be a risky business. The perceived complexity, upheaval and perception of failure can be so daunting that the risk may seem to outweigh the reward. But, like so many business technologies, MAM have been transformed in recent years and it's time to debunk some common MAM myths.
Tags: iss121 | mam | blue lucy | capex | Julian Wright
Submitted by Julian Wright Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Sully - Grading a miracle
Maxine Gervais We all know the story. On 15 January 2009 an Airbus A320 took off from LaGuardia airport in New York, heading for Charlotte. Just a couple of minutes later the plane flew through a flock of Canada geese and blew out both engines. Knowing the risk of crashing into heavily populated areas, Captain Chesley Sullenberger - Sully - aimed for the only long flat surface he could see: the Hudson River.
Tags: iss121 | sully | grading | filmlight | Maxine Gervais
Submitted by Maxine Gervais Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
5 top tips to getting the grade you want
Tom Russell Generally speaking, a grade session can be broken down into two distinct parts - managing the people involved and managing the grade itself. As colourists, we know that unless both of these criteria are satisfied, it is likely that the client will walk away from the project unhappy and not return to us with the next job.
Tags: iss121 | grading | top tips | Tom Russell
Submitted by Tom Russell Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Challenges for MAM with varying production types
Jonathan Aroesty Many media asset management platforms are designed to handle the immense number of assets needed for today's fast-moving, content-heavy productions. Since every production is unique, each has its own set of asset management requirements and workflow needs. While the unique workflows vary, a common necessity for an easy-to-use interface with the ability to efficiently organize and manage large amounts of content is required, regardless of the type of production you are working on.
Tags: iss121 | pronology | mam | media asset management | Jonathan Aroesty
Submitted by Jonathan Aroesty Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Assets in the air
Paul Wilkins People everywhere are talking about "the cloud", as if it is somehow something (1) new and (2) intrinsically exciting. It really is neither of those things. In the IT world, software as a service (SaaS) has been around since the 1960's when organisations bought the use of mainframe software on a time-sharing basis.
Tags: iss121 | tmd | cloud | mam | era | coeus | Paul Wilkins
Submitted by Paul Wilkins Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine