Tour de France 2016: When Post Production Goes Mobile

For the past three years, the VIDELIO group, via VIDELIO — Events and VIDELIO — Cap’Ciné, has supplied France Télévision and ASO (the Tour organizer) with a mobile post production platform for the Tour de France. The system is housed in two trucks, which wait for each stage at the finish village. Just as with the mobile control rooms, they are like motorhomes.

The vehicle provided for ASO houses four Avid Media Composer workstations. These workstations are used to create short summaries, best ofs or highlights that are fed to the international broadcasters. These editing workstations are linked by fiber to the heart of the system, which is housed in the node in the vehicle occupied by the France Télévision teams.

This truck is divided into five editing suites, an air-conditioned node and a control room. The system used is a 64TB Avid Shared Storage, managed by Avid Interplay | Production, which is used to communicate with the EVS configuration to ensure stream ingest and distribution.

The editing suites offer all of the features that would be found in a post production office: soundproofing, air-conditioning, mixing desk, enclosure, twin computer screen, a 24-inch video monitor and an Avid Media Composer system. The VIDELIO – Cap’Ciné, VIDELIO – Events and VIDELIO – Media teams have all worked together on the vehicle to ensure that it deploys quickly.

Once the truck is in place, it takes less than an hour to get the configuration up and running. And every evening, the entire kit is dismantled in record time for it to be driven to the following day’s location. These vehicles form part of VIDELIO’s arsenal, and their modularity means they can be fitted out to suit the event.

Changing the Game

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Trailblazer Studios: Collaborative Workflows for TV and Post

Raleigh, N.C., isn’t known as a media-production hub. But if Trailblazer Studios has anything to say about it, it will be soon. Besides working on their own original productions like Salvage Dogs, Southern Uncovered with the Lee Brothers and Twice Born Stories from the Special Delivery Unit, Trailblazer Studios is passionate about collaborating with outside production partners — including Figure 8 Films (Sister Wives, Bringing up Bates) and Markay Media (A Chef’s Life).

Despite being a medium-sized facility, Trailblazer Studios is operating at a level of speed and efficiency that would make some major Hollywood studios blush. The full-service production and post company is leveraging cutting-edge Avid workflows to accelerate production and dramatically enhance collaboration at every step of the creative process — from ingest and editing, to sound design and mixing, to color correction and finishing.

“In this industry, if you’re not constantly looking ahead, you’re falling behind,” says Scott Roy, VP of Post at Trailblazer. “People come to us for collaboration and for finishing their films. Avid allows us to seamlessly integrate their projects into our pipeline and finish the shows on time. At any given moment, we could have four to five shows going out the door simultaneously.”

Avid shared storage provides the backbone of the workflow at Trailblazer Studios, allowing diverse creative teams of graphic artists, audio engineers, editors, producers and color correction specialists to all work together and collaborate on the same projects simultaneously. As soon as they start shooting a project, they immediately push the media from the field and store it on the Avid network, and the editors go to work. Three or four editors can work simultaneously on each different segment, which allows the teams to deliver segments at a lightning-fast pace.

“Being on Avid shared storage enables us to seamlessly move between offline editing, online editing and sound,” explains Eric Johnson, VP of sound and engagement at Trailblazer. “Avid gives us incredible speed and allows us to get projects out the door much faster — under unbelievable time pressure.”

“Every network wants it faster, every network wants it cheaper, and we’re always trying to find ways to be more efficient—in production, in post, and in collaboration between the two,” says Jeff Lanter, VP of production at Trailblazer.

Trailblazer Studios has a full sound department, including a field team that captures audio on location, sound designers, mixers and composers. Everything is captured in Pro Tools — from composition to final mix — allowing the sound team to work together and collaborate seamlessly with video teams.

“Having an Avid workflow and sticking to the Avid workflow internally really helps us manage our time,” Roy says. “If we start using extraneous workflows, it costs us time in the end. We really want to start with Avid and finish with Avid.”


Watch the video now.

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Ricardo Cutz Runs Estúdio 106db in Rio de Janeiro with Pro Tools | S6 and Pro Tools | HD for Cinema and TV Post Production

Ricardo Cutz is the owner of Estúdio 106db and is a sound engineer and mixing technician who has worked with audio for the past 21 years. He started his career as a music production assistant in 1995, and since 1999 has been working in audio post production. Between 2005 and 2008, he worked at Estúdio Mega, where he did post production on his first feature film. In 2013, he founded Estúdio 106db in Rio de Janeiro city, which now works mainly with audio post production for film and television.

Ricardo Cutz, at Studio A of 106db with Pro Tools | S6

The latest works of 106db include Tomás Portela’s Special Operations; Claudio Torres’s Magnifica 70 (HBO); Jorge Duran’s Romance Policial (“Police Romance”), Gustavo Accioli’s Mulheres no Poder (“Women in Power”) and Douglas Duarte’s Seven Visits. The works also include the TV shows Vai que Cola (Multishow), As Canalhas (GNT), Tempero de Família (GNT), A segunda Vez (Multishow), Super Bonita (GNT) and Questão de Família (GNT).

The post production workflow at Estúdio 106db is based on Avid. The studio has two rooms: Studio A, for 5.1 surround mixing; and Studio B, which features two stations for stereo mixing and one for editing. The studio is well known as one of the best audio post production studios in Brazil.

The rooms feature four Pro Tools | HD systems, with Pro Tools | HD Native; Thunderbolt and PCIe cards; and Pro Tools | HD Omni and Pro Tools | HD I/O audio interfaces. At Studio B, the stations still rely on Artist Control and Artist Mix control interfaces. The Pro Tools | S6, M10 control surface with 16 faders, is used at Studio A, where 5.1 surround mixing is performed.

“Pro Tools | S6 is an exceptional evolution on Avid control surfaces; it has an excellent layout, ergonomics and workflow speed”

—Ricardo Cutz, Sound Designer and Owner of Estúdio 106db

Studio A at 106db, with Pro Tools | HD systems and Pro Tools | S6 control surface

“The S6 is incredible,” says Cutz. “For several years I used nearly all Avid’s surfaces, so I was pleased to see that S6 not only brings the same concepts of excellence in ergonomics and the working speed of System 5, but it also has an amazing integration with Pro Tools, which is an exceptional evolution of the brand’s control surfaces.”

According to Cutz, one of the greatest benefits that S6 provided to his studio was the flexibility on workflow. This not only helped to accelerate projects, but also provided the professionals with more time to listen and think over the projects.

“Nowadays, when we have complex, heavily processed sessions, the Pro Tools | HD systems provide us with a surface with an excellent layout which is very easy to use, so we can work faster and more easily,” he says. “The S6 is especially good because it has everything there in front of you; you just need to press a button to enter the command you need.”

With a career of more than 20 years, Cutz gives a few tips for young professionals who want to follow the path of audio post production for cinema and TV: “You need to study a lot. Persevere; be attentive to art; open yourself to the various languages of cinema. And, of course, you’ll need to work a lot!”


Mixing Redefined

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Getting the Perfect Look for Your Next Story with NewBlue Filters 3 Ultimate

As an editor, I’m constantly in “go mode.” With each new project I try to up my game. I’m always after the latest camera, the newest lens, and fresh storytelling techniques for the edit bay.

I’m guessing you’re the same way. And I don’t blame you! Constant improvement is our nature. Using great tools means we produce better stories, faster. Exactly as we see them.

For a limited time, the Media Composer team is excited to give you an awesome toolkit to experiment with. When you buy Media Composer before September 30th, you’ll also get a 90-day license to NewBlue Filters 3 Ultimate from NewBlueFX—normally $299—completely free. These powerful plug-ins will help give your projects the highest production value with the fewest clicks possible.

I can’t say enough good things about this plug-in pack. NewBlue Filters 3 Ultimate includes 22 NewBlueFX filters with over 250 presets that instantly bring new life to your storytelling. The flagship plug-in in the bundle is ColorFast—an advanced color correction tool with over 20 presets that really makes your scenes pop. Fast. With total control over primary and secondary colors, it’s easy to get the perfect look for your video right in the Media Composer timeline. And it does a great job of enhancing colors while preserving skin tones.

But there’s so much more. NewBlue Filters 3 Ultimate has great plug-ins to create dynamic color and lighting scenarios with one click, like Diffusion and Dream Glow. You can even make daytime footage look like it was filmed at night with Day for Night. It feels like the production possibilities are endless when you’re working with these tools.

Here are just a few more great features you’ll get with this special offer:

  • Experiment with new storytelling techniques using interesting effects like Fish Eye and Tilt Shift
  • Transport your audiences with classic looks like Old TV, Film Look, Bleach Bypass, and more
  • Smooth harsh lighting scenarios and address blemishes with Soft Focus
  • Create intense dramatic moods with Selective Tint, and Selective Color, which drastically alter the color of selected areas of your frame



Note: Offer does not apply to Media Composer floating licenses, upgrade and support plan renewals. NewBlue Filters 3 Ultimate is good for 90 days. After that, you’ll have to purchase the product to keep using the effects.

Get NewBlue Filters 3 Ultimate with Media Composer

Start telling your story with Media Composer before September 30th and get this amazing post-production toolkit from NewBlueFX completely free for 90 days.


The Best of Big Screen and Event Presentation Take Over the Motor City at IDEA Conference

As Fourth of July celebrations have come to an end and the dog days of summer are in full swing, we now set our sights on the 34th Annual IDEA Conference. Since 1983, the conference has provided educational and networking opportunities for big-screen and event presentation professionals across the sports, entertainment and convention industries.

Hosted by Detroit-based members of the Information Display and Entertainment Association (IDEA), this year’s conference will be held July 10–13 at the Motor City Casino Hotel. Supporting the show for the ninth consecutive year, Avid is proud to be a gold partner of the event, which promises to be one of the best conferences in IDEA’s history.

On Wednesday, July 13, I’ll be participating in a panel on “Managing Your Media Assets” alongside speakers from the University of Oklahoma Soonervision and EVS. Moderated by Stuart Reynolds of systems integrator Diversified Systems, the panel will focus on the tools and workflow that the University of Oklahoma uses to manage a huge volume of assets — from logging and tracking assets in their EVS system, to asset management and life cycle in Avid Interplay and shared storage systems, to long-time archive through StorageDNA.

Reflections from Rio: Thoughts on Seeing Avid Everywhere at Work for the World Cup

At 9 a.m. Tuesday, July 12, Avid will host an intermediate-level training session offering tips and tricks for Avid Media Composer and Interplay | MAM. The session will include an overview of the new Media Composer features released over the past 12 months, including support for high dynamic range (HDR) workflows, as well as new Interplay features and integration with Adobe Premiere Pro.

At the Avid booth, we’ll showcase our latest innovations for sports customers, including a new version of the Avid PlayMaker video server for advanced slow-motion replays and media-highlights editing. It provides streamlined collaboration with the new Avid NEXIS software-defined storage, and, when used with Media | Director, exported clips and consolidated playlists can be automatically checked into Interplay | Production while maintaining all keyword metadata tagging.

We’ll also showcase the new Maestro Engine Clip Store, which gives customers cost-effective options to quickly and easily input short clips, posters and other graphical options, regardless of the tools used to create them. We’ve developed these capabilities in response to customers’ requests and have delivered them with full HD and 4K capabilities. Visitors can see these innovations and more at the Product Showcase at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 13.

Changing the Game

Captivate your viewers with a fully immersive sports experience. From rich Ultra HD/4K content and augmented reality to powerful sports enhancements—Avid end-to-end sports solutions give you the platform to create captivating content from any location and deliver a game-changing viewer experience.



Future-Proof Your Media Workflows Through Software-Defined Storage

Since Avid announced Avid NEXIS, a question I’ve been asked a lot is “what do you mean by software-defined storage?”. I can certainly talk for hours on Avid NEXIS and software-defined storage but a great new reference is a whitepaper from Mukul Krishna at Frost & Sullivan.

This paper lays out the challenges in media production storage today and how software-defined storage delivers a platform for today, tomorrow and unforeseen needs in the future.  Media production of all types is undergoing a content explosion, driven by a multitude of devices & ubiquitous connectivity. This means more content needs to be done with shorter deadlines and more collaboration.

Software-defined storage is the unlinking of the hardware from the storage services. This allows a common infrastructure to be built and on top of that a number of virtual storage pools are provisioned as and when needed and tailored to the specific requirements at the time. For example, protection schemes are no longer set by the storage devices, media workspaces can be set to suit the needs of the project. Some media is critical and needs mirror protection, some is very important and RAID 6 is appropriate other media is less critical and RAID 5 is suitable. Software-defined storage allows workspaces with each of these attributes to be provisioned on a common storage hardware at the same time. Indeed media protection becomes a selectable choice that can adapt as the project progresses. Software-defined storage is also all about simplicity and flexibility. Simplicity that it is easy to administer and provision, with detailed reporting.

What software-defined storage can do is to allow a customer to start out with a small and grow and adapt in any way needed as their business grows and changes. It means you can buy what you need now without trying to predict future needs, this avoids spending too much on an anticipated need that might not materialize and at the same time, not under investing in a storage platform that is insufficient for demands before it is amortized. Storage must provide the best collaboration and be agile, reliable and affordable — software-defined storage delivers.

Avid NEXIS is Now Available

Invest in your future with the reliability you need today, the scalability for tomorrow, and the technology to take you beyond. Take your storage to the next level with Avid NEXIS.


Industry Visionaries Shine with Avid at Media Production Show 2016

At this year’s Media Production Show in London, Avid was out in force, with an entire catalogue of award-winning innovations for media professionals across four reseller stands. Digital Garage, Jigsaw24, Altered Image and Tyrell all wore the Avid badge of honour at the show, giving visitors the opportunity to get hands on with the latest Avid Artist Suite solutions—including Avid Media Composer 8.5 as well as Avid Pro Tools 12.5 featuring the much-anticipated Avid Cloud Collaboration.

Solutions from the Avid Storage Suite were also on display at the show, including Avid NEXIS shared storage, the world’s first software-defined storage platform that enables true storage virtualization for any media application. This powerful system delivers unmatched flexibility, control, and extensibility to Avid MediaCentral Platform applications.

Leading names from the world of audio and video post-production and a number of independent creatives were also in town to discuss their storytelling craft and latest technology developments in the Avid Post Production Theatre.

Thursday afternoon saw Avid’s Director of Strategic Solutions, Kevin Usher, chair a session on intelligent media storage in a packed-out theatre. CEOs and decision makers from a host of industry giants joined the session, including Darren Woolfson from Pinewood Studios Group, David Shield from IMG Sports Media and Neil Hatton from the UK Screen Association.

Kevin Usher and David Shield

Darren Woolfson and Neil Hatton

Kevin led the discussion on the challenges of today’s extraordinary production demands, including 4K, and the efficient and reliable workflows critical to any company’s success. The panelists discussed the changing media space, key concerns around production and distribution expansion, security, reliability, adaptability and virtualization, and how as key industry players, they continue to rely on Avid Storage Suite solutions, including Avid NEXIS.

CEO of the UK Screen Association, Neil Hatton, said, “It’s incredible how the media industry treats archiving so differently from other industries like banking or financial. Once a project is complete, you need to move and archive instantly to ensure efficiency across the board—it becomes a management game! There’s cost savings in use of storage and use of people. Automation allows efficient management of content to maximise our systems.”

On the final morning of the show, Avid Audio Application Specialist Manager, Dave Tyler, hosted a session on audio post production and the changing trends in mixing. Joined by Simon Ray, Head of Operations and Engineering at Goldcrest Post Production, the session covered the different approaches to audio mixing that these two industry professionals have experienced throughout their careers, the importance of using the right tools for the job, and how Avid and the Pro Tools family have helped modernise audio workflows.

Dave and Simon also looked at current trends in the industry and the ways in which companies are addressing these changing technical requirements. Reflecting on the Avid workflow in place at Goldcrest, Simon explained, “Moving from Avid ICON to the Pro Tools | S6 was so easy. As it’s a modular system, it gives us the flexibility we need. Now, our S6 set-up at our Dean Street facility is proving very popular with clients and we’re seeing more demand than ever.”

Avid NEXIS is Now Available

Invest in your future with the reliability you need today, the scalability for tomorrow, and the technology to take you beyond. Take your storage to the next level with Avid NEXIS.


Fast-Paced Storytelling on NBC’s The Voice

In the world of reality TV, there are successful shows—and then there’s The Voice. NBC’s hit singing competition is a cultural phenomenon, drawing 13 million viewers for each episode. Now in its tenth season, The Voice is more interesting and engaging than ever.

The show has evolved beyond the standard competition format to blend a unique mix of behind the scenes storytelling, exciting live performances, and candid interviews. Over the course of each season, the audience gets to know each of the contestants and their backstory, which ads a personal touch and engages viewers on a level that’s rarely seen in television.

It takes a small army to put each episode together—the editing team is made up of 22 individual editors! Deadlines are extremely tight, and the team often only has a day or two to turn the raw footage into a cohesive episode. With such a large team and so much on the line, collaboration is essential.

In our new video filmed live at NAB 2016, supervising editors Jason Stewart and A.J. Dickerson and graphics producer Daniel Cox discuss how cutting-edge Media Composer workflows enhance collaboration and enable the team to meet extremely tight deadlines and turnaround times—show after show, week after week, season after season.

  • See how they turn a massive amount of footage into cohesive artist stories
  • Learn how their editing process has evolved over the years
  • Discover how they quickly handle last minute changes
  • Get an inside look at different stages of the editing process

Go behind the scenes of one of the most popular shows on television—watch the video now.

Avid NEXIS is Now Available

Invest in your future with the reliability you need today, the scalability for tomorrow, and the technology to take you beyond. Take your storage to the next level with Avid NEXIS.


M6 — Delivering Cutting-Edge On-Air Graphics With Avid

M6 is part of the RTL Group and the youngest major broadcaster in France, with a mission to challenge its competitors. Technology and innovation are part of the DNA of the channel and, as an Avid customer for more than 20 years, M6 has constantly embraced technological advances to realize its creative ambitions.

Avid systems can be found throughout M6, and the integration between the systems has greatly increased M6’s efficiency and speed to air – crucial for a news broadcaster.

Avid solutions have helped M6 meet some major challenges over the years, such as cost-effective archiving with Interplay MAM and Interplay PAM, and creating a new studio in a small space with Avid Graphics solutions providing sophisticated virtual sets and graphics. As it faces new challenges, such as the growth of 4K, Video over IP and virtualised technology, M6 has a reliable partner in Avid to help the broadcaster achieve its goals.

Watch how M6 has embraced Avid Studio Suite including augmented reality, newsroom innovations and effective media asset management to maintain its competitive edge.

Avid Studio Suite

Avid Studio Suite provides comprehensive tools to create and enhance in-studio presentations, virtual studio environments and viewer experience.


Cutting an Escape, a Heist, and a Two-Act Action Sequence for the Season Finale of Marvel’s ‘Agent Carter’

Editing Marvel’s Agent Carter was a dream come true. I had previously worked with showrunners Michele Fazekas and Tara Butters a year prior when they were co-showrunning ABC’s Resurrection. They were also showrunning Agent Carter (with Chris Dingess) at the same time. I loved working with them on Resurrection but was secretly jealous of everyone getting to work with them on the first season of Agent Carter. I was a big fan of the character of Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger.

Cut to six months later: I was actually minutes away from accepting another job offer when they reached out to me to work on Season two. I jumped at the opportunity and was thrilled when I got to edit the Season two premiere, two additional episodes, and the finale.

Agent Carter follows the adventures of Peggy Carter in the late 1940’s after the “loss” of Steve Rogers in Captain America: The First Avenger. She is an incredibly capable highly trained spy who works for the Strategic Scientific Reserve (and will eventually, with the help of Howard Stark, found S.H.I.E.L.D.).

The Season Two picture editorial team consisted of three picture editors: myself, Chris Cooke, and Andrew Doerfer. Three assistant editors: Emily Streetz, Shannon Weiss, and Matthew Anconetani. We were also fortunate to have a VFX team consisting of Sheena Duggal (VFX Producer), Ian Markiewicz (VFX Producer), Shari Ellis (VFX Coordinator), and Sharon Smith Holley (VFX Editor). Seven Avid Media Composer systems shared media via Avid shared storage.  The show was shot primarily on Arri Alexa, and our editorial DNxHD 36 dailies were processed by Encore. The phenomenal VFX were done by Double Negative in London.

The series itself is a delightful combination of drama, action, suspense, and comedy. I find that when I get a chance to flex all the different editorial storytelling muscles I am really in my zone. Agent Carter was my first opportunity to do so since True Blood.

The #TimelineTuesday I posted came from “Hollywood Ending” the finale of Season Two. The episode was written by the three showrunners. It was directed by the wonderful Jennifer Getzinger. The episode hinges around neutralizing the Season 2 villain Whitney Frost.

The finale is many things: an escape, a heist, and then a two-act action sequence focused around opening (and then trying to close) an inter-dimensional rift used to neutralize the central villain of Season 2. Oh, and there’s a hovercar. And a love story.

I generally cut complex VFX/Action shows with about 10-12 tracks.  However the rift/hover car sequence required a few more tracks of music and sound effects. What you see here is the fully expanded (checkerboarded) sequence masterfully managed by my amazing Assistant Editor Emily Streetz. Four tracks of Dialog and ADR, eight tracks of Sound Effects, four Stereo Audio tracks of temp score, and two tracks of Mono Audio for LR music.

We also use locators to try to keep track of VFX (green), ADR (yellow), and notes to one another (white). On an episodic drama schedule there can be very little time between when you lock picture and turnover for the final picture and sound, so having a system to track all the various elements that can change frequently during the editorial process is vital.

Here are some Media Composer tips I love:

  • I’m always surprised when people don’t use option-c (alt-c) for making a sub clip that just magically appears in the source monitor. It’s a timesaver and makes changes in the room lightning fast.
  • Don’t fear the blue arrow button (Replace Edit button) but do practice with it.
  • Asymmetrical trimming is what I do for a living! Try it out for yourself, it’s awesome!

Got you interested in watching Agent Carter? Seasons 1 and 2 are available on iTunes, Hulu and Amazon.

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