BOSTON—GBH is a Boston-based public media producer and broadcaster and the leading multiplatform creator for public media. We’re both a PBS and an NPR member station, as well as the producer of a significant amount of well known series including “Frontline,” “Nova,” “American Experience,” “Masterpiece” and “Antiques Roadshow.” As senior director of production technology I oversee our Production Group unit, which is responsible for GBH’s production and post-production.
In 2015, we started using Sony’s Ci media collaboration cloud platform as a way to streamline our operations and enhance collaboration among our production teams. Along with our IT/technology team we were looking for a solution that would be intuitive, secure, and easy to use and that’s what we found with Ci.
ONE PLATFORM FOR ALL
One of the things that GBH really appreciates about Sony’s Ci is that it is a single secure platform built on top of AWS where we can access our media safely and easily. The post-production group has an adage about the technologies we adopt—they have to be able to be utilized by a 17-year-old intern or a 70-year-old director/producer, and everyone in-between. It has to be robust technologically because we’re doing so much with it, but it also has to be really easy to use. We’ve found Ci to be a well-designed tool that people can learn how to use quickly and then leverage to increase their productivity.
Ci is used extensively throughout our organization in broadcast, distribution, stock footage licensing and wherever we need to share media. On the production side we use it for uploading, storing and sharing media, as well as reviewing and approving content. Before the pandemic necessitated virtual work, we were using Ci to enable our production companies to deliver captured and created content from around the world to our facilities in Boston. In essence, Sony’s Ci acts as a cloud-based central repository through which we can pass that media, safely and securely.
We also use Ci for review and approval of content across most of our brands, and for final approval of the color grading and final mix of programs. In the past, an EP or director/producer could step into an edit suite, work on a cut, and then step back out again, but the pandemic limits those options. We’ve used LiveSessions as one replacement for that interaction. Ci purpose-built this feature to meet our needs and it’s tailored to streamline the process.
We also use LiveSession as a replacement for our in-suite final reviews. Typically, we’d have 5-15 people in a screening room, which hasn’t been possible over the past 18 months. Instead, the LiveSession feature enables us to have a high-quality, collaborative finishing session with anyone on the team from anywhere. That saves on travel and allows us to widen the circle of people who have visibility into the content.
Another beneficial element of Ci is its flexibility and scalability—one advantage of it being built on top of AWS. Each year we see an increase in our usage of Ci, and we know we’ll continue to create more media in the future, so as additional features and capabilities roll out we look forward to implementing them to increase the collaboration and productivity of our production teams at every level.
For more information on Sony Ci visit www.sonymcs.com (opens in new tab).
Tim Mangini, Senior Director of Production Technology, is an acclaimed film and television producer who has worked as a director, producer, cinematographer, editor, multimedia producer, and motion picture sound editor. Prior to joining the GBH Production Group, he spent 18 years supervising the production and post-production of more than 350 “Frontline” documentaries. Tim began his career at Hannah Barbera as a cartoon-character voice editor. His film credits include “Star Trek IV,” “48 Hours,” “Poltergeist,”and the IMAX film “Behold Hawaii.” He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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