The growth in connected consumer TVs and mobile devices, combined with more affordable and faster broadband coverage, is rapidly making 4K/UHD content ubiquitous. Post production studios are upping their game and equipping their facilities for 4K/UHD but there are other factors at play which make modern-day post production more challenging than it’s ever been.
Turnaround times are still high on the agenda, of course. There’s little or no premium to be charged for creating higher resolution content and you do not want to be taking four times as long to deliver four times the data. Likewise, it also means four times the amount of storage capacity too.
But a less well-publicized side effect of the digital age is impacting post production: we’re just shooting more stuff – a LOT more stuff – and shooting ratios are skyrocketing. Consider this: George Miller’s 2015 action blockbuster Mad Max: Fury Road had a shooting ratio of 240:1, with 480 hours of raw footage. That’s more than two-and-a-half times the shooting ratio of Apocalypse Now (95:1), which has a running time over 30 minutes longer! (source: VashiVisuals)
Movies are rare beasts though, compared with the staple of most small-to-medium post houses: unscripted and reality TV. Here, the combination of cheap, digital acquisition and recording media invariably leads to even bigger shooting ratios, sometimes up to 400:1.
So, a very big challenge for today’s editor is that, with so much more media, it just takes longer and longer to find stuff. ‘Asset management’ is a dry and uninspiring term, especially in such a creative environment, but it’s essential in today’s post production workflows, not just because it manages media and available capacity, but because it acts as your own in-house search engine for your content.
Media Composer has a long-established reputation for rock-solid media management, but the asset management systems that grew up around it were invariably more suited to broadcast production than post. For larger facilities, the investment in retraining staff to learn a new navigation tool was viable, but for smaller post houses, who typically hire a lot of freelance talent, the benefits of enterprise MAMs were often undercut by the cost and effort to onboard talent.
The development of the much more open and integrated MediaCentral platform, has given Avid the opportunity to develop a module that is much more in step with the needs of modern post production. That module is called MediaCentral | Editorial Management, and what is unique about it is that it’s built around a concept that is VERY familiar to editors – shared projects and bins.
Although MediaCentral | Editorial Management is designed for smaller creative or editorial teams, it is extensible enough to grow up to 25 users in its first version and offers a framework of additional options to adapt to a range of workflows. It brings a new layer of file management, as well as extended collaborative capabilities to Avid Media Composer workflows.
Everything is about speed and ease of use. Navigation is familiar to anyone who knows Media Composer, and the indexing schema the indexing schema is now directly linked to up-to-date bin activity, making it much faster and easier to search shared projects and bins – even if they’re not open – and add media from Avid NEXIS too.
You can search for markers, rename clips and add comments to clips. You can browse through non-Avid media and link it to bins. We’ve even added phonetic search to save time trawling through media libraries for soundbites. This is a huge time-saver and cannot be underestimated. The hours an editor gets back can be the difference between being able to put more creative thought into a project, or just getting to pick up the kids from school on time.
Because MediaCentral | Editorial Management has been developed from the outset to be tightly integrated with Avid NEXIS shared storage, it’s very easy to install and configure – again, the learning curve is kept to minimum. The MediaCentral Core indexing engine and service keep track of all projects and media stored on Avid NEXIS, so everyone on the team can view what’s available in real-time.
One huge benefit of the MediaCentral playback architecture is that producers, or assistant editors prepping a project, can connect to MediaCentral | Editorial Management via a web client. This means that they can access clips from a remote location, from a home office, or while traveling; they do not have to be directly connected to the Avid NEXIS.
Developing the new MediaCentral eco-system has been Avid’s largest-ever engineering project, and by design, will extend into many different content creation environments. The potential benefits for Avid’s core post production customer community – streamlining their workflow to make production slick and efficient, even when dealing with more footage than we’ve ever shot at any point in history – makes MediaCentral | Editorial Management a true game-changer.