Articles tagged #AVID
Articles tagged
#AVID

Videocraft backs Sunco Herald Sun Cycle Race

Founded in 1952, the Jayco Herald Sun Tour is Australia's and indeed one of the world’s oldest cycling stage races. TL Sports, who organise and promote the event on behalf of the Herald Sun, have significantly grown the event in recent years to be one of the most prestigious cycling events in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting many of the world’s best professional cycling teams. As part of this growth, there was a need to bring the television production component of the event to a new level. For the most recent Jayco Herald Sun Tour Videocraft provided a full production solution for the daily programming that included Sony PDW 530P XD Cam cameras, three Avid Media Composer edit suites and Avid Unity shared storage system built into a customised OB van. Executive Producer on the event was Ian Gates of Editrix who said, “We have a long successful relationship with Videocraft. MD James Taylor and his team really come into their own in this type of mobile race environment. For the Jayco Herald Sun Tour they built an Avid Unity system with three edit suites into a converted OB van and drove it around for each stage. We produced a half hour daily highlights programme which included features, vignettes and results graphics and also compiled a comprehensive news highlights package each day.” Due to the nature of the shooting schedule time was very much of the essence. Gates continued, “Videocraft built the entire system in record time. This included Sony PDW 1500 ingest decks which allowed us to ingest much faster than real time – an excellent plus on a race shoot. Traditionally people shoot on Digi Beta Cam where only one editor can look at and edit footage. Due to the flexibility of XDCAM and Avid Unity ingest system Videocraft designed and installed we were able to have 3 cameramen shooting each day and 3 editors all sharing the same media. This was an incredibly efficient setup with the editors working simultaneously on news, highlights and feature stories.” Over the six days of the race the pace of production was almost as fast as that of the riders. Gates added, “The production and editing system meant that once ingested and edited we could assemble a completed finished programme from one console. The segment was played out directly from the truck (live to air if required) through the SNG facility to Network TEN as a finished product. Another big plus for the broadcaster as they didn’t have to do anything.” For the next race the Editrix and Videocraft teams will be producing half hour packages and 2 hours of live footage that will go out on Network TEN’s recently launched 24-hour sports channel, One HD, each day. Gates concluded, “The production on the last race was the best yet. Videocraft’s expertise, service and support were excellent. It’s a real labour of love for them and we even had James Taylor there to personally oversee the installation and act as onsite technical manager. The shared media capability is the real jewel in the crown saving us time, money and producing better quality packages. We are very much looking forward to working with Videocraft on the next Jayco Herald Sun Tour.”

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Videocraft provides tapeless workflow for MotoGP

The recent Phillip Island MotoGP, with crowds of over 50,000 and watched by many thousands more on television, was a major achievement for Network TEN as it was the first time a tapeless workflow was used to broadcast a live Australian sporting event. Videocraft Managing Director James Taylor explained, “Videocraft have been helping Network TEN with their motorsport broadcasts for several years. Before the last Phillip Island Moto GP we sat down with Michael Heaton and his team at TEN to plan for the upcoming event and that’s when they told us that this year they wanted to introduce a tapeless workflow.” TEN Sport Senior Producer Michael Heaton added, “This was going to be a complex job and it took a good deal of planning and consultation with Videocraft to get the system and workflow right. The key was using XD Cam cameras for acquisition together with an Avid Unity system integrated with Avid’s Interplay Media Asset Management and Sony PDW1500 XD Cam decks for high-speed upload ingest into Avid Media Composers. Avid’s Interplay Assist was also a critical tool for our producers and media loggers allowing them to review any material on the Unity irrespective of its source and faster than real time which meant we didn’t have to stop recording in order to start editing.” The Avid Interplay Assist desktop video tool is an efficient way to review and log video, select shots, and add locators and comments using ordinary desktops and laptops on a network. With the media loggers on the Moto GP having to review such a large body of material and then organise clips for editors and producers, using Interplay Assist helped the whole process to be faster and more efficient. Heaton added, “Using Interplay Assist our producers were able to create a rough ‘cut’ before handing it over to the editors which saved a significant amount of time. Previously this process was a manual one involving handwritten timecodes on paper. This year the producers were able to choose actual shots to show the editors which was very exciting not to mention incredibly efficient!.” James Taylor added, “We are very proud to have been involved in helping Network TEN come up with this workflow as we believe this is truly the way of the future.” Avid Interplay Assist also allowed Videocraft to integrate the EVS servers, used for slow motion replays and playout to air. “This was another real bonus.” Said Heaton. “With this new workflow there was no need to complete the edit and layout to tape. We could now finish the edit, send it to the EVS playout server and it was ready to go, all faster than real time and it worked perfectly – thanks to the Avid Interplay Assist.” The tapeless workflow pioneered by Network TEN and Videocraft is a significant development in Australia according to James Taylor, particularly in live sports. He added, “This tapeless workflow is a very big deal. It allows easy access to information, the ability to rename and organise clips and is a massive time saver. All huge advantages in live sporting events. In order to get everyone on the same page, before the Moto GP we did a full day’s training with TEN’s producers to make sure they were 100% comfortable with the system. After all, as this was a first, we would be taking away the tape machines they were used to and replacing them with computer screens. Videocraft also provided on-site audio sweetening via Pro Tools and technical support crew for the entire event.” Commenting on the success and overall efficiencies of the broadcast Michael Heaton said, “In essence Videocraft built a medium sized, fully functioning post house in 24 hours in the middle of nowhere! In addition to that they provided full technical video monitoring in and out using an HD capable Codan router system. Another improvement on the previous year was that we didn’t use a traditional SDI based network, instead only using it to check systems and as a back up. We archived everything to Digibeta Cam tape and aside from that everything else was tapeless. Although large in size, this Moto GP was one of the easiest jobs we have ever done and we couldn’t have done it without the help of Videocraft.”

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Videocraft moves into Top Gear

Following the huge worldwide success of the UK original, Top Gear Australia was the most eagerly awaited TV franchise of 2008 and for good reason. With a nationwide search for presenters and significant promotion on SBS, the motor loving Australian public were keen to see the results. Freehand Productions were the production company tasked with creating Australia’s biggest motoring show based on a global product and Executive Producer Scott Young and Videocraft’s James Taylor discussed the best way to make this happen. Taylor’s solution involved the latest in Avid equipment and workflows. He explained, “The solution we put together included two Avid Media Composers, a new Avid Symphony Nitris DX, a 24Tb Avid Unity Media Net, a Digital Beta Cam Camera, DV Cam record facilities, a video router, tape machines, and high quality video and audio monitoring. Basically the whole shooting match.” The Avid solution came after Taylor looked at how the Avid Symphony was used on the UK show and decided that the new Nitris DX would be perfect as the main finishing suite for sequences with the Media Composers used for editing. Taylor continued, “It was an excellent solution and with seamless data transfer between the Symphony and Media Composer which meant not one problem despite very heavy shooting and post schedules.” According to Taylor it was the robustness and reliability of the system which was the key. “At Videocraft we have extensive experience with this type of system.” He added. “Our philosophy is to have a solid nucleus and then customise it per the individual project’s requirements. There was an intense amount of post and treatments on Top Gear Australia and the editors did an amazing job.” Scott Young was impressed with the Videocraft approach to solution solving. “James was spot on with this system.” He said. “He demonstrated that as Avid’s Media Composer and Unity have developed and extended their functionality there was no need for full blown and costly edit suites. The Symphony Nitris DX achieved the post look that we wanted at a much cheaper cost than if we were to have used the standard Symphony that’s at the heart of the UK show. With the Boris Continuum Complete and Sapphire V2.0 plug-ins we were able to achieve everything we wanted.” The real technology star according to Taylor was the Avid Unity Media Net. “The Unity was the key.” He explained. “It allowed an edit created in Media Composer to be seamlessly opened and finished in Symphony. Editors could also easily add to and change each other’s work without complications. The Unity as a shared storage system also saved time and money as there was no need to re-digitise tapes.” Scott Young concluded, “We congratulate Videocraft on creating a professional solution for Top Gear Australia. We have had constant feedback that the show not only looks as good as the UK version but in many respects, even better. Their sheer professionalism and hard work combined with expert knowledge was invaluable to us. With the much smaller budget it was a real achievement to attain the same look as the UK show.” Top Gear Australia Series Two begins shooting in February 2009

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