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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Yaniv Ben-Soussan -new OTT video consumption is gaining traction in Western Europe, with 55 percent of UK broadband households and 51 percent of homes in France watching TV programming and movies online, according to Parks Associates. OTT subscriptions are especially popular with today's Millennial population, as Parks Associates found that 23 percent of Millennial heads of household in the U.S. are OTT-only households.
Tags: iss123 | ott | cloud | harmonic | pure compression engine | Yaniv Ben-Soussan -new
Submitted by Yaniv Ben-Soussan -new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Swimrun World Championships - LiveU report
Kim Svensson - new Through the open waters and across the islands of the Swedish wilderness, battling the elements in the OTILLO Swimrun World Championship isn't for the faint-hearted. The total distance is 75 kilometres, of which 10 km are open-water swimming and 65 km are trail-running, presenting a huge physical - and doubtless mental - challenge. Taking place in early September, competitors battle along remote islands that form the archipelago to the south east of Stockholm.
Tags: iss123 | liveu | swimrun | blackmagic atem | tvone scaler | Kim Svensson - new
Submitted by Kim Svensson - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
What is the future of video contribution?
Mark Andrews - new Live Streaming is a generic term and can apply to any part of the process from capture on the camera where video is immediately streamed, to the process of playout on any device. Playout is a huge subject in itself. However "video contribution" is considered the terminology used to capture at the camera end, and to deliver live video from the camera to where ever it needs to go.
Tags: iss123 | soliton systems | streaming | hevc | telecaster | 3g | 4g | h.265 | lte network | Mark Andrews - new
Submitted by Mark Andrews - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Live Remote Production Over IP
John Smith -new As broadcasters migrate to a more ubiquitous IP transport and switching network infrastructure, a key benefit is that the variable expenditures of remote on-site live productions can be dramatically reduced, as it is no longer necessary to carry the high field costs associated with these activities.
Tags: iss123 | medialinks | ip | remote production | John Smith -new
Submitted by John Smith -new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel from Blackmagic Design - Reviewed
Rebecca Goodeve - new Blackmagic's new, more affordable control surface for professionals is probably the most perfect panel I've ever used......
Tags: iss123 | blackmagic design | minipanel | davinci | grading | Rebecca Goodeve - new
Submitted by Rebecca Goodeve - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
OBs are still outside and so are broadcasts
Mike Ransome - new With the advent of new and emerging technologies, and with the one getting the most oxygen at the moment being video over IP, a number of people are asking whether the ability to move control rather further way from an event has, or will, change the nature of OB production.
Tags: iss123 | remote production | ob truck | presteigne | ip | Mike Ransome - new
Submitted by Mike Ransome - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
A Software Based Approach to Video Monitoring
Anupama Anantharaman - new Real-time content monitoring is a mission-critical operation for broadcasters, telecom, and satellite operators. Traditionally, service providers have used monitoring systems based on specialized hardware with a dedicated, fixed interface designed to monitor a specific number of video feeds. Yet, bespoke hardware solutions require a substantial amount of manpower, have a higher cost of ownership than software, and are inflexible.
Tags: iss123 | monitoring | virtualization | interra | orion | Anupama Anantharaman - new
Submitted by Anupama Anantharaman - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
5G Streaming - The Rollout
Steve Plunkett - new 5G will bring significant improvements in bandwidth per device, capacity per network and reduced latency per session. These are all very important features for video both today and going forward. The growth of new formats such as UHD, AR, VR and 360 video place much greater demand on the networks that serve consumer devices, so 5G will be essential to accommodate this demand.
Tags: iss123 | vod | 5g | ott | ericsson | virtual reality | vr | 360 | Steve Plunkett - new
Submitted by Steve Plunkett - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
How to illuminate a better shot
Chuck Edwards LED (Light Emitting Diode) technology built for the general lighting market is designed to meet very different criteria than the critical lighting requirements for image capture. While LEDs may be a suitable lighting option for some photography and videography, critical applications, such as feature film, production requires users to understand the limitations, capabilities and advantages of the many types of LED technologies and fixtures available on the market today.
Tags: iss122 | led | lighting | cct | rpt | remote phosor technology | Chuck Edwards
Submitted by Chuck Edwards 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
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 TH-X Tripod review
Nick Robbins It is worth highlighting that I am primarily an Editor. Like many of us, over the years I have regularly been involved in the entire creative process in some capacity but increasingly I am asked to go out and film the simpler corporate jobs such as exhibition stands or a 'piece to camera' for YouTube, Vimeo etc. and embedded into the customer's web site. These tend to be the jobs which wouldn't happen at all if the client had to pay for the whole package; camera, sound, director, kit hire, etc.
Tags: iss122 | libec | th-x | tripod | Nick Robbins
Submitted by Nick Robbins 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 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