Skip to main content

National TeleConsultants develops parallel workflow for PBS science series

KQED, the PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, worked with National TeleConsultants (NTC) to devise a unique workflow to help produce its new QUEST series, which spotlights local San Francisco Bay Area science. The series is being distributed on multiple platforms, including radio, television, Internet and print materials.

The QUEST Web site launched Feb. 1, with the first QUEST radio program bowing the following day. The QUEST television series premiered on KQED Channel 9 and KQED HD, Comcast 709 on Tuesday, Feb. 6th.

To get the job done, NTC first developed a comprehensive report, based on interviews with the KQED staff to determine the station's goals for QUEST. That report, titled "Production Process Analysis and Technical Assessment of Production Systems," was produced using NTC's "Quickturn" technique of intensive research, interviewing and collaboration. NTC director of software systems engineering John Footen and NTC senior project director Ethan Bush coordinated the report. The report provided an overview of the project from a technically integrated aspect and defined what was needed in terms of workflow, digital asset management and how all the five different QUEST platforms were going to work together.

Footen explained that although the same production team and process was being used to generate content for the different platforms, the use goals of the various distribution platforms are different. He suggested technology like Sony's XDCAM HD optical disc camcorders and Avid's Interplay system. He also helped the team to document its intended workflow.

The XDCAM HD camcorders being used to shoot QUEST can simultaneously record high-resolution HD video and low-resolution proxy files in the field. Back at the station, the producers load all of the video into video servers. They can then access the proxy video files with time code from their desktops and begin logging the footage and preparing it for edit. This new, efficient workflow method includes digital asset management that tracks all footage in an Avid Interplay database.

For more information, visit