What has made BBC One’s Moving On series a success, besides the incredible cast and writing, is its message of how to face life’s turning points. The series exposes audiences to ‘real-life’ contemporary issues and provides insight to the gritty reality of facing life’s biggest stereotypes and trials – all linked by characters who reach a turning point in life and must move on.
Created by Emmy/BAFTA award-winning Jimmy McGovern, Moving On is filmed in and around Liverpool, and is now in its third season. LA Productions faces a unique set of challenges in handling the series’ post; from tight deadlines during production time to working with an entirely online-based environment. We needed to build a post workflow that could react faster than any of the emotions happening in the series. We turned to Blackmagic Design’s Studio Videohub and the new Videohub Control Panel for Apple’s iPad.
Blackmagic’s Studio Videohub is very important because it delivers all of our monitoring and playback into the editing suites and allows us to patch any project into a particular suite to give us flexibility, while maintaining a robust and reliable workflow.
I chose Blackmagic Design’s Studio Videohub with iPad control as the core routing solution to connect everything in the post - production studio -- from SDI patching of edited footage to proxy viewing to checking emails and catching up on the latest news.
We receive Moving On footage on Panasonic P2 cards. This is transcoded to DnX HD 185 via Avid Media Composer. The video is then sent to the Studio Videohub, which sits at the center of LA Productions. It provides monitoring and playback capabilities to editing suites using a HD-SDI signal throughout the facility.
In the studio, we have a server room and multiple editing suites with no tape-based units, and all of our monitors are HD-SDI. This makes our Blackmagic Studio Videohub, working in conjunction with the Multibridge, central to what we do. The Studio Videohub sits right in the middle of everything and allows all SDI patching via the iPad control app – which is simply brilliant.
We also use the Blackmagic Design Multibridge as an SDI-to-analogue conversion tool, and also employ it as a downconversion tool when we don’t have spare Media Composer IOs available.
The router transformed our workflow when we installed it. It allows us to view the same source in any suite at the same time, switch between deck ins- and outs- while delivering masters, and a whole host of things without which we would be lost. We aim to increase the use of it by adding SDI to fiber converters to run the signal to additional viewing suites all around the building.
With the popularity of Moving On, LA Productions has also been tasked with delivering both domestic and international versions of the show. To do this, we have developed a workflow that allows us to deliver HDCAM SR output. The Studio Videohub acts as a bridge between the facility’s Media Composer systems and the HDCAM SR, HDCAM and Digibeta studio recorder. This allows us to output media to any number of decks or be able to use our Blackmagic Multibridge to master to a DVD recorder.
The bottom line: Blackmagic’s Studio Videohub is affordable, and offers great quality in terms of build, software and multiplatform functionality. It satisfies our budget, helps make our editing suites flexible and easy to swap around, and offers the most up-to-date tools. I’d say it is one of the best pieces of kit in our studio and we are very proud to have invested in this product.
Worth noting: having a desktop application for the Studio Videohub is great and works well. But if you have to leave the application to use it during an edit with Avid running, playback stops.
The addition of the iPad app was the perfect solution because it allows the editor to swap sources or destinations without needing to leave the desktop application. As well, when we are in the machine room it’s much easier to have a portable switching device.
We bought an iPad specifically for the purpose of using this free app – that’s how good it is!
Patrick Hall is Head of Post at LA Productions in Liverpool, England.
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