Howard Brock, Associate Producer of “Anger Management” discusses the new economics of multi-cam production and gives an insightful presentation on how Cinedeck helped streamline the production to post pipeline for FX’s hit multi-cam sitcom series, “Anger Management”.
Q & A Session from Editor’s Lounge Event (March 2016)
Q: Did “Anger Management” present any unique challenges?
A: The show was done on a 10/90 model so once the first 10 episodes were completed and got sufficient ratings to trigger a pickup we got to do 90 more. The only problem was that we had 2 years to do 90 episodes, which is double the normal schedule. We needed to be efficient!
Q: What did you do?
A: We tried to streamline the post process as much as possible. We eliminated digitizing, logging, offline as well as going out of house for online and color correction.
Q: That sounds radical compared to traditional methods. Was it met with resistance?
A: Fortunately, we had a very supportive producer and we had plenty of backups and redundancies to mitigate any risks.
Q: How did the process work?
A: We used Cinedeck recorders to record Avid DNx 175X media directly to an Avid ISIS feeding 3 Avid systems all supplied by J/KAM Digital. Because the Cinedecks can record MXF media directly into the ISIS, we didn’t have to import QuickTime movies or go through any media copying or conversions. Once a scene was wrapped, we had dailies in about 1 minute. Compared to tape we saved probably 1500 hours just by not digitizing in real time. The recordist entered the scene information into the Cinedecks and the Cinedeck software added take and camera information, so we didn’t have to log or rename clips. We also recorded a quad split of the 4 cameras in h.264 and used those clips to feed a Light Iron server that allowed production to pull up any recorded take via iPads on the set.
Q: Did this affect production in any way?
A: Because we were able to confirm the integrity of the recorded media almost immediately, sets could be struck much faster than if production was waiting for dailies to be processed.
Q: What efficiencies did you have in Post Production?
A: We wanted to be able to put our energies into what was on the screen rather than trying to not get bogged down with the volume of work. We cut in online resolution so we didn’t need to relink to higher quality media. This saved countless hours when we had to deliver clips or scenes for promo or publicity purposes. By doing the online and color correction in house we had much more flexibility in terms of scheduling as well as the freedom to spend more time to make things right without incurring major costs. I used to own a facility, so I used to be on the other side of that equation. Finally, because we had enough storage on the ISIS, we were able to keep all finished shows online which allowed us to deliver the syndication cuts in a very cost efficient manner.
About Howard Brock
The Emmy award-winning editor returned to episodic television editorial in 2012 at the invitation of John Fuller, series editor on Anger Management. He has since become Associate Producer on the series, and was instrumental in creating a cost-effective, labor-saving workflow for the production.