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Fox Network’s ‘Million Dollar Money Drop’ employs Sony XDCAM and Avid technology

The new Fox series “Million Dollar Money Drop” is shot with Sony HD cameras and edited with Sony decks attached to Avid Media Composer systems.

The new game show, which premiered Dec. 20, is shot with 17 Sony HDC-1500 HD studio cameras, with line cuts recorded onto 18 Sony XDCAM PDW-F1600 decks at Culver Studios in Los Angeles.

Hundreds of hours of footage are shot for each episode and, although a “line cut” is produced in-studio, the director has the opportunity to change shots in post. Much of the material has to be multicam/synchronized in SD in order to facilitate an efficient workflow.

Post house Chainsaw worked with FotoKem to devise a six-deck ingest station built around six Avid Media Composer Version 5 systems targeting a workspace on one of Chainsaw’s Unity shared storage systems. The production also relied on Avid Media Access (AMA) architecture and directly linked to the low-res proxy video and audio using Sony's File Access Mode (FAM).

Clips are transcoded to 20:1 SD resolution in a 30i project. The companies said this process is much faster than a real-time ingest technique and also conserves server space to make the media files lightweight (small) enough for the editors to easily handle them. In some cases they need to drag 17 optional cameras locked to the master line cut along the timeline. The moment the show is locked, the audio is sent for sweetening, and the final video sequence is decomposed and batch-captured to Avid’s DNxHD 220 codec.

Bill DeRonde, co-owner of Chainsaw, said this is the first time this workflow — using AMA/Media Composer /FAM proxy video and full-res audio from dual-layer discs — has been seen on prime-time television.

“We were worried that we'd have to delay edit sessions waiting on ingest because traditional real-time digitizing had a hard time physically getting that much material into the computer on time,” he said. “But the Media Composer allowed us to fully leverage Sony XDCAM's file-based workflow and make a nearly impossible timeline completely manageable.”