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