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POST PRODUCTION The fast-moving business of providing ‘Pop-up’ editing suites by Danny Carri, Commercial Development Manager, LA Micro UK V ideo editing is moving at a fast pace, with video, software and server specifications all changing with the seasons. For production companies who know what they want, hiring an editing system for the duration of a production is an efficient alternative to hiring the services of a post production facility. We have been working with Xstratek, which supplies Post Production Equipment for rental, including specialist Avid editing suites. Xstratek carries an extensive hire fl eet and can cater for every need from a single VTR for a day’s hire to a multi-user Avid Unity system for a long term project. Their systems have been used for Feature Films, TV Dramas, Comedies, Sports, TV commercials and conferences, and they are provided as complete solutions, with technical support. Projects can be either “long form” dramas of say six to eight episodes, or “short form” such as advertising and corporate video. The hire job fi nishes when the offl ine edits are complete and the work goes to a post facility for conforming, online, grading, etc. The edit packages are based on Avid systems and include software, workstations, broadcast monitors, speakers, dedicated editing keyboards, and the specialist extras: a video IO box such as Avid Nitris DX media composer, storage disk arrays. The company takes pride in listening to their customers and providing them with the exactly the equipment they need, backed by fi rst class technical support. Post production is all about teamwork, and Avid Media composer can have multiple workstations all editing together in one collaborative environment . The edit team needs the technical knowledge to fi x anything which was not quite right during fi lming, “We’ll fi x that in post,” is a common comment when something doesn’t seem quite right. Xstratek also provides fully equipped preview theatres for viewing. It’s the prerogative of the editorial producer, series producer, executive producer and broadcast commissioner to be able to make changes – and then to change their changes, so sometimes the edit takes longer than expected. However, Kevin McIlduff says “We’ve 50 | KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 97 JANUARY 2015 never known a production that didn’t make it out on air – although sometimes it’s been a close call.” Because of the rapid advances in video production technology, the hardware specifi cations are always changing to support the latest software enhancements. One clear trend is the expansion in storage required. Avid’s latest integrated storage system, ISIS Unity provides a shared editing and storage system and can accomodate 16/32/64TB capacity confi gurations. Most network connectivity is now Ethernet, with some companies ready to move to 10 Gigabit Ethernet to utilise faster networks for faster workfl ow delivery. Video editing requires some of the most powerful high end workstations and servers, and all of the new capabilities and software enhancements add to the workload on the machines, so the specifi cations of the hire systems are continually reviewed to be sure that they will offer ample processing power for clients’ work. “Software will always grow, and each enhancement places a little more demand on the machines,” Kevin McIlduff explains, “so we upgrade them to run the background processes. We always recommend allowing enough headroom on the workstations to be sure of great performance.” The powerful machines needed to work with video can be costly, so there are some serious investment decisions to make. “A lot of the older, legacy equipment out there probably needs replacing,” he adds, “and it depreciates fast too. With new machines falling so rapidly in value, we decided to purchase refurbished HPZ820 workstations. LA Micro carry huge stockholdings of servers and workstations, including machines that match the standard Avid