What are the challanges in todays post-production?
The technical quality and capabilities of equipment for content creation has changed a lot over the times and will go on improving. Movie scenes, content footage and news items are recoreded globally and expected to be available just moments later at any other place world-wide. Resolutions and color depth are increasing quite fast what causes data volume to increase. Graphics, backgrounds or complete scenes are animated by specialists at places where movie industry was not at home in the past. Directors and editors as well as music componists, language dubbing studios, subtitle translation contractors are loacated world-wide distributed. Consequently you require a post-production ecosystem that addresses such challanges. It has to be accessible from where your teams are. It has to offer all tools that are required for a particular production. It has to expand according to your material and data throughput needs. It has to reflect your teams production workflows and interaction. It has to support all your delivery targets. And for sure it has to keep all your assets save and secure.
How do we address your needs for a streamlined post-production?
Our answer to address the needs listed above is using a "software guided and acellerated creative production workflow". Based on the products we have in our portfolio we´ve build an end2end solution for post-production environments. It supports a centralized as well as a fully distributed team setup. This is achived by integrating the technical production elements at various facilities, in the cloud or abroad to behave as one ecosystem. Non-creative processing steps are automated as far as possible to make your business more efficient. The innovative products we offer help
to build a modern system architecture by respecting and integrating already existing software as well as hardware at your company.
Who are the product partners for our Ingest Solution?
Capella: file transcoding
FlowWorks: production asset management system
MXFserver: editing storage mangement system
Signiant: B2B file transfer
Woody: file and metadata ingest
x-dream-media: ingest file processing
How a network architecture can look like?
Ingest is a topic itself. Our "Ingest Master Solution" addresses all kinds of ingest. The complete solution or relevant elements from it can be an integral building brick of this Post-Production end-2-end Solution. Thus we do focus here on typical ingest needs in fictional productions.
central ingest station
The central ingest station is the main place for ingest operations. It's usually located in a room where all new content is brought to. A number of dedicated workstations are used by a team of ingest specialists to bring files from camera or other storage devices into the post-production environment. While doing so files are previewed, selected, pre-cut and stitched. Technical metadata is automatically generated and descriptional metadata is manually added. The product used for this function is Woody in2it. It can transcode and re-wrap the files to the production house format.
A variant of central ingest is given when the source devices are getting attached to a server or files are getting moved there in advance to the ingest operations. In this case x-dream-media's Ingest Browser is the right choice. It allows to remotely browse, preview, select and segment video files. In difference to Woody's in2it the x-dream-media Ingest Browser sends the files for processing to x-dream-media's Workflow Manger WFM. WFM orchestrates transcoding, re-wrapping, QC, virus scanning and other operations. It's usually used to manage larger amounts of material.
Despite the fact that tapes might be dead archives often still consist from tapes. Sometimes tapes are still used in production or for transportation. Consequently our ingest solution addresses this topic for manual operations by making use of Rohde & Schwarz Venice servers in combination with Woody's in2it.
External contributors might require high resolution or low resolution video files as they are providing special effects, graphics, subtitles or translations. In return they will send their work results as source to the all over post-production. Some of such contributors may have an permanent engagement others do probably provide essences only occasionally and in smaller volumes. But the number of such contributors might be very high. Thus a simplified way to up and download video files with related metadata is required. Tools have to be world-wide accessible and intuitive to use. We do address this needs by so called "upload and download rooms". Technically such a room is a website that takes or provides the essence file and requests or provides mandatory and optional metadata. The contributor either has access to his up or download room as he is a permanently registered user or he gets invited by an operator to a temporal room. The essences, qualities and functions within his room can be role dependent limited. All his interaction gets logged.
After files and metadata have been ingested fully automated actions can take place under control of our Workflow Manger (short: WFM): Transcoding and re-wrapping to house format or browsing proxies, quality control, audio processing (e.g. normalizing), video processing (e.g. standard conversions). Finally assets (files + metadata) are handed over to the production management system (Flow PMS). Optionally assets can be send and checked in to a media asset management or archive management system.
The post-production is a creative process that cannot be automated but streamlined by software assistance. Various production steps such as color correction, animations, graphics, editing and audio mixing are performed. Flow PMS keeps all essences as part of a production under control.
If required it sends and retrieves files and metadata to and from the individual production systems (e.g. Avid Interplay PAM). But it also provides a so called panel for Adobe Premiere and acts as production asset management system (short: PAM). Others might not allow this. Thus our post-production solution offers a freedom of choice in selecting the creative tools by using MXFserver as storage management system (short: SMS). In addition MXFserver allows to strictly separate content of different clients when accessing it from the creative applications.
Certain productions do strictly follow a well defined production process that consists from manual creative work, automatic processing and human interaction. Such business processes can be "implemented" within the Flow Workflow Manager. An operator collects all essences that belong to a production and kicks of a production workflow job. The system will now notifiy the operators about work to be performed, will take over again with automatic actions once manual work has been finished, will notify other operators about the next manual work to be performed, will continiously inform supervisors about the progress and will finally ask dirctors for a final sign off. Notifications do usually take place via email but can happen within the system as well. For user interaction other rooms to comment, review, approve and present are available. All interaction is tracked within the system.
Ultimately approved productions have to be delivered to the B2B customers. As customers might differ in formats to accept some more file processing (e.g. transcoding, loudness correction) is required prior to files being sent. Some might request a QC report as part of the deliverables. Finally a high volume of video files and metadata needs to be send via a save, secure and guaranteed method. Within our post-production solution we do use Signiant's Mangers + Agents to orchestrate and controll all file preperation and delivery actions.
And what about geographically distributed production environments?
Staff in remote offices or production facilities do require a tight integration into the systems of the main facility to be as productive as possible. Larger facilities can get equipped as the main facility. Smaller facilities get provided with a fully featured but smaller scale system. In both cases the users interact with a local system. Assets can be searched and actions can be triggered globally. The system will take care of the users commands in the background by sending and retrieving the files and metadata to and from the main or other facilities, in or out archives, to the final customer, ...
How does the service architecture of our Post-Production Solution do look like?
The Production Management System (short: PMS) is the heard of our Post-Production Solution. It acts as Media Asset Management System, Workflow System and Traffic System. As product for the PMS we've selected FlowWork's FlowCenter. For customers with distributed organisations the PMS can be deployed at every facility and connected to act as one global system via the flow-to-flow module.
The Storage Management System (short: SMS) is the engine behind the scenes. To a certain extend it acts as a production asset management system (PAM). It manages the relation between files, customers and editing seats. As consequence every customer can access only his files from every editing seat with every creative application. This is true freedom of choice!
The Workflow Manager (short: WFM) is the gear box that connects all the building bricks and makes them executing business processes fully automatically when applicable. Furthermore it allows integrating with any other already existing or in future showing up software.