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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Infrastructure boost with single node storage solutions
Lee Griffin Like other market segments, the motion picture and video production industry is dominated by smaller productions and facilities. Until now, the only option for this portion of the market to take advantage of the performance, fault-tolerance and ease of management of a modern scale-out storage platform was to invest in a storage cluster consisting of three storage nodes and at least one metadata controller.
Tags: iss126 | storage | san | nas | single-node | efs | xstream | efs200 | efs300 | editshare | Lee Griffin
Submitted by Lee Griffin Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
State of the Nation - part 1
Dick Hobbs - new Imagine you are the director of the Champions League Final, knowing that 200 million people will be watching your every decision. Or you're directing the Eurovision Song Contest. Or even, to be honest, the Tunbridge Wells local news opt out. And at live minus 30 seconds, all the screens in the monitor wall suddenly go black then show a demand, in broken English, for 300 Bitcoin.
Tags: iss126 | iabm | british airways | ransom | bitcoin | cybersecurity | cots | Dick Hobbs - new
Submitted by Dick Hobbs - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Getting started with IMF
Bruce Devlin - new Content is still King, but only if you can get it out to the consumer. I have just had the privilege of doing a live episode of Bruce's Shorts at the EBU IMF Workshop in Geneva. It was a privilege because I was able to talk about real world issues in making IMF compositions rather than talking about the theory of IMF. I was happy that people laughed at the jokes but even happier that people were taking notes and came up to discuss practical solutions to these difficult problems.
Tags: iss126 | class | imf | mam | Bruce Devlin - new
Submitted by Bruce Devlin - new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Integrated and automating marketing campaign production
James Gilbert ITV, as an integrated producer broadcaster, creates, owns and distributes high-quality content on multiple platforms. It operates the largest commercial family of channels in the UK and delivers its content through traditional television broadcasting as well as on demand via the ITV Hub. ITV has the largest share of the UK television advertising market and its family of channels attracted a total share of viewing of 21.4% in 2016, the largest audience of any UK commercial broadcaster. ITV's main channel is the largest commercial channel in the UK, delivering 99% of all commercial audiences over five million.
Tags: iss126 | pixel power | itv | marketing campaign | James Gilbert
Submitted by James Gilbert Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Implementing an IP workflow
John Smith -new The eventual move to incorporate IP into your infrastructures is an inevitability. However, with justified concerns about interoperability and uncertainty about which vendors are best placed to help organisations achieve their IP media networking and content delivery goals, is it any wonder there is hesitation about moving forward? Broadcasters very wisely, don't want the pain without the gain!
Tags: iss126 | medialinks | ip | mdp3020 | gateway | John Smith -new
Submitted by John Smith -new Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Monetizing OTT
Oliver Botti Competition in the TV arena is hotting-up for traditional broadcasters with even ESPN, a strong-hold of sports TV, seeing a reduction in subscriptions with the number of American homes paying to get the service declining by more than 12m since 2011. With Mintel reporting that the subscription video streaming market in the UK is due to exceed revenues of GBP 1 billion (EURO 1.37 billion) by 2019, and account for 38% of the total UK video market, traditional broadcasters clearly cannot afford to turn a blind eye.
Tags: iss126 | ott | moentizing | fincons group | Oliver Botti
Submitted by Oliver Botti Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Understanding the process of video production
Joseph Adamson In this article I will focus on understanding the process of video production. The use of miniaturised video equipment and understanding the capability of the kit chosen for the job will be mentioned. The video production process is a road map, which not only helps the producer to minimise problems during production and achieve professional results, but also saves time.This process can be tricky to understand and many videographers are self taught, including myself.
Tags: iss126 | video production | wasd | ail | africans in london | Joseph Adamson
Submitted by Joseph Adamson Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Audience engagement with advertising in an OTT world
Hank Frecon Adapting to how we advertise in an OTT world starts by reaching audiences on every screen with tailored content. Most consumers viewing habits include multi-tasking and juggling different activities at the same time, particularly the younger viewing audiences who tend to watch in a more fragmented, on-demand manner. The task of monetizing content in a way that suits this method of viewing pushes monetization strategies to adopt new technologies, so first let's look at the opportunity.
Tags: iss126 | ott | advertise | acr | source digital | Hank Frecon
Submitted by Hank Frecon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
TV Futures
Jane Lawrence When I was younger my dad used to encourage me to be a Jack of all trades and a master of none. One of those clich© things parents hand down to their children. However, as I have grown and gone through different stages of education I have found this little piece of wisdom has followed me. Don't get me wrong, being amazing at one thing is a great skill to have, but for me having a good understanding of everything is also vital.
Tags: iss126 | tvfutures | ccitv | portsmouth | preditors | Jane Lawrence
Submitted by Jane Lawrence Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Lighting - the stuff you do not see
Tama Berkeljon Lighting is the stuff you don't see that makes a difference in what you do see. How the audience feels about a character and whether the scene is scary, tense or upbeat are communicated by the quality and placement of light. Lighting can take the drama to a whole new level - think about film noir with all those shadows on the wall.
Tags: iss126 | outsight | ghost in the shell | led lighting | Tama Berkeljon
Submitted by Tama Berkeljon Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Canon CN-E 18-80mm T4.4 Review
Ben Sherriff The Canon Cine range of lenses have been around for quite a few years now. The CN-E Cinema Prime lenses became an early alternative to using PL adaptors or the Zeiss Compact Prime lenses. Other than that the choice was rehoused stills lenses or maybe if you were lucky a set of Zeiss super speeds. The cine lens set became a cost effective offering for sharp prime lenses with clear and accurate markings for proper functionality.
Tags: iss126 | canon | review | cn-e | 18-88mm | t4.4 | Ben Sherriff
Submitted by Ben Sherriff Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Media Production Show and other news
Duncan Payne So, the 2nd Media Production Show has been and gone. Hands up who went to Islington by mistake? I know at least two people who did. Their secret is safe with me! For me, the sign of a great trade show is when I come away really enthused about an innovative use of existing technology or a brand new product. When I find something that combines both these things, then I'm a very happy man.
Tags: iss126 | adamantean | finance | leasing | mps | ptz | sam | Duncan Payne
Submitted by Duncan Payne Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Ad servers and switching solutions
Peter Blanchford Hardware-based ad servers and switching solutions have been around for a long time and, broadly speaking, do the job just fine.
Tags: iss126 | starfish technologies | ad server | ts splicer | ts switch | gop | Peter Blanchford
Submitted by Peter Blanchford Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Mobile internet connectivity in the field
Bill Nardi Mobile Internet connectivity is critical to the success of remote news crews. Whether they're doing a reporting assignment for news, sports, or live events, they need a strong and reliable Internet connection. To have an edge over their competition and get content to air faster, crews need to be able to work just as if they were in the studio, but from the field.
Tags: iss126 | dejero | mi-fi | gateway | wi-fi | cellular | Bill Nardi
Submitted by Bill Nardi Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
IP Based Remote Production
Ed Calverley Over the last few years Suitcase TV has been getting involved in remote production at the software layer, and I want to talk about some of the ways we have been getting involved in remote production, including a specific trial that we did last year with BBC Sport for the Euro 2016 tournament in Paris.
Tags: iss126 | remote production | IP | jt-nm | smpte 2110 | suitcase | Ed Calverley
Submitted by Ed Calverley Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Facebook Workplace - why it might just work
Jake Ward At the Facebook F8 Developer Conference last April, Facebook's Workplace, a collaborative platform for organisations, announced enhanced live video functionality. Being able to stream live into Workplace will fundamentally change the way companies communicate, from broadcasting weekly meetings and webinars to live streaming Q&As. The possibilities really are endless.
Tags: iss126 | facebook | workplace | groovy gecko | Jake Ward
Submitted by Jake Ward Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
360 degree video storage requirements
Dave Frederick Swim with bears, run with the bulls, get a pads-eye view of a rocket launch: 360 degree video production, also known as cinematic VR, makes these and many other bucket list-worthy events more accessible than ever. The format has evolved into a powerful storytelling tool, and one that changes not only the way in which visual experiences are shaped, but also the way in which media consumers perceive and interact with video content.
Tags: iss126 | 360 degree | vr | storage | vfx | ssd | san | nas | quantum | Dave Frederick
Submitted by Dave Frederick Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Object Based Audio - The first steps
Peter Poers The world of broadcast audio is about to reach new levels as we embrace the future in terms of Next Generation Audio (NGA). Although at this stage we can't be precise about what this will bring, we do know that some 3D Immersive formats are already under development and will find their way into broadcast production and distribution very soon. Unlike the world of relatively constrained channel based coding that we are accustomed to, these new codec systems will support more channels and/or object based audio coding. For the end consumer, there will be two major benefits - a greater sense of involvement or immersion and a degree of personalisation. That's what the promises are.
Tags: iss125 | immersive audio | junger | nga | oba | Peter Poers
Submitted by Peter Poers Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine