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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Oct 10

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10/10/2008 4:59 PM  RssIcon

Back-to-Back Projects Accomplished Through Deft Application of Talent and Technology

NEW YORK, NY, October 10, 2008 ─ Creative Group, the industry’s premier full-service post production facility, recently took on the mammoth task of turning around two high-profile HD projects, back to back, in just five days. The company completed all video and audio post work for the NFL Kickoff 2008 outdoor concert, shot at New York City’s Columbus Circle, and then the Fashion Rocks television special, which took place at Radio City Music Hall.

The NFL Kickoff 2008 concert was captured on Thursday, September 4 and aired on NBC the night of Friday, September 5. Fashion Rocks was captured on Friday, September 5 and aired on CBS on Tuesday, September 9. The completion of these two productions in five days is a testament to Creative Group’s skillful application of talent and technology.

“The NFL project came into our hands about 10 days prior to the shoot, so we were able to plan for the quick turnaround time,” says Eli Tishberg, senior Avid editor for Creative Group. “Each time the production team shot a portion of the show, they would send in the tapes, and we would load them right into our systems. We were editing while they were still capturing the footage.”

Featuring performances by Usher, Keith Urban and Natasha Bedingfield, NFL Kickoff 2008 was the opener for the NFL’s 89th season. NBC aired concert highlights as part of the one-hour "NFL/NBC Fall Preview" on Friday, September 5 at 9:00 p.m.

As Tishberg and his team pieced together the video portion of the program in Avid, Sue Pelino, Emmy® Award-winning senior audio mixer for Creative Group, dealt with the audio production. “While Eli got the show timed out and edited all the performances, I received the audio files from the production truck and started mixing in Pro Tools,” she says, noting that she mixed all night without picture until 8 a.m., when Tishberg finished the video. At that point, the two married the audio to the video, did the final tweaks, played the final show back for the producers, and the process was completed.

Jim Mullen, supervising producer for White Cherry Entertainment, which produced the NFL Kickoff concert for television, was impressed by the speed and efficiency of the Creative Group team, especially given a unique set of circumstances that added extra time pressure to the project. In previous years, the NFL Kickoff (Executive Producers: Ricky Kirshner, Glenn Weiss; Directed by Glenn Weiss) had been produced live from the stadium of that year’s Super Bowl champions. Due to coverage of the Democratic and Republican conventions this year, however, NBC decided to tape the concert and air it the next night, meaning Mullen and his team needed to master a one-hour, live-to-tape HD show in less than 16 hours.

According to Mullen, this feat was accomplished thanks to Creative Group’s diversity of resources and talent. “They were able to digitize all of our iso cameras ─ over 20 hours worth of footage ─ in less than six hours, while the audio department produced a sweetened stereo mix under daunting time pressure. The engineers did a quick but thorough QC on the tape, helping to eliminate any final tech glitches that might have stopped the tape from airing. They were also able to provide our mastered show in a number of different formats, on a very quick turnaround. Given our time constraints, this was incredibly helpful.”

The minute the books closed on the NFL project, posting began on Fashion Rocks. As Eric Cook, line producer for Don Mischer Productions, which produced Fashion Rocks for client Condé Nast Media Group, describes it, the Creative Group team was able to jump right into the project thanks to its well-equipped facility, which features multiple state-of-the-art editing suites.

“They have everything under one roof, which is really valuable,” says Cook. “We shot the show on Friday, and it aired on Tuesday, which is a pretty ambitious edit schedule for a show like this, but they pulled it off because everything was in one location and they have a lot of talented people working there. It was top-rate audio and video work.”

Tishberg and his team received the Fashion Rocks tapes on Friday night and loaded all the video into an Avid Unity system, utilizing multiple rooms to load the large amount of data quickly. By Saturday morning, the editors from Los Angeles assigned to the show were already working on laying out the show and picture fixes in low resolution for speed. The low-resolution version was completed by Monday morning, at which point Tishberg onlined the show and finished it in high definition.

Pelino and her team received the 5.1 music remixes for Fashion Rocks late Saturday afternoon, along with video of all the performances in the order they were captured. They synced up all the remixes and by Tuesday morning had completely reconformed, remixed and completed the final layback for the entire show. “The beauty of the HD-SR final format is that it has 12 channels of audio, so we are able to layback both the 5.1 version and a stereo version,” notes Pelino.

Pelino and Tishberg were aided by the efforts of another Creative Group employee, Senior Editor Rick Broat, who edited the Fashion Rocks show packages for the taping. Broat handled elements coming in from the east and west coasts, and Canada, creating a playback reel for use during the taping.

Fashion Rocks featured the talents of Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Duffy, Kid Rock and Justin Timberlake, among others, and paid tribute to the marriage of the fashion industry and music. Accomplishing the round-the-clock posting it took to pull off such a high-profile event requires “an incredibly efficient melding of hardware and expertise,” according to Tishberg. “The hardware is easy because you can buy it. The expertise and creativity of our wonderful staff is what makes us unique. And even more important, we work as a team. Our combined goal is to deliver the best possible end product. This is what makes Creative Group great.”

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About Creative Group

Creative Group is a leading, full-service post production facility specializing in nonlinear, linear and HD editing compositing, visual effects, color correction, digital intermediates, DVD duplication and sound design/5.1 audio post mixing for the broadcast, film and DVD markets. The New York City-based Creative Group first opened its doors in 1993 with an imaginative and award-winning team of artists. The company has since expanded its industry presence to include Mantra, its Manhattan-based design and visual effects boutique, as well as its Bristol, CT location. The company has grown internationally, as well, to include facilities overseas in Beijing and Dublin. Working with such high profile clients as The Walt Disney Company, General Electric, Viacom, Time Warner, Paramount, NBC Universal and Momentum, Creative Group prides itself in its mission to offer an all-inclusive hub for value-added creative services. This affords clients the ability to differentiate themselves in today’s cluttered multimedia environment.

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