TV-BAY Magazine

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Pass the remote by Will Strauss W ith ever- faster Internet speeds and the introduction of remote editing and grading software, doing post-production need not necessarily include a trip into Soho, writes Will Strauss. Despite being named in America’s “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 workfl ows change and TV folk seek out new ways of being ever more creative, the traditional model of using a large hardware-fi lled 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 fi nishing, 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. It’s 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... 38 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 85 JANUARY 2014 MediaCityUK When ITV’s northern operation moved from Quay Street in Manchester to MediaCityUK in Salford, the broadcaster’s in-house post facility adopted a more “elegant and fl exible” 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 can’t you edit in a meeting room if you want to? That drove quite a lot of the infrastructure decisions.” The secret ingredient was Amulet Hotkey’s 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 fi nancial 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 fl exibility can go way beyond the walls of a facility too.