Since the introduction of File-based Insert Edit on Cinedeck hardware, we’ve been saying that Insert Edit saves time and money in the post deliverables process; and it’s true… Being able to make changes to an already exported file while also giving you the ability to spot-check the overwrite with confidence is a big deal. But, let’s take a more global view of why being able to Insert Edit to files is so important.
Drilling down with a Sample Workflow
A good friend of mine is a post producer for single camera shows and works with several large studios for hour-long special-effects-intensive shows. These are big budget productions that a studio has invested huge amounts of resources in; and while there are sizeable post-production budgets, there are always instances where an episode will go over-budget.
For these high-profile shows, an extensive QC process is required every time a new file is exported, since a new export is a brand new file with its own potential problems. These intense QC procedures will be familiar to many of you: first, watch the file down in real-time and then, presuming no issues are noticed, send the file to the QC post facility for frame-by-frame analysis. Invariably something is flagged and most issues, whether it’s a boom mic peeking out, a bad pixel, etc… are caught on the first pass. The file then goes back to online, corrections are made and the file is exported again.
Perhaps after the 2nd or 3rd watch-down, everyone feels that the episode is ready to go again to the QC facility. But lo and behold, QC finds another issue and the file needs to go back to online to be fixed again and then sent back to the QC facility. This might be done two more times until finally the file is green-lit and accepted.
Some Disadvantages of the Status Quo
All of these watch-downs and QC passes take time and resources; increasing the total cost of delivering the show. Not only does the cost of online increase with every re-export, the studio has to pay for each subsequent QC pass. In the scenario outlined above, the episode has been watched down five or more times and it’s gone through software QC at least three times. If you’re a post producer, you know exactly how much each of these steps cost – it could run several thousands of dollars of wasted effort and time per episode. And let’s not forget, the post department is also burdened with the soul-crushing task of viewing the show over and over.
By using cineXtools, you can avoid these long iterative steps and save money on the overall post process or allocate the saved expenses to make the show better. Perhaps the $30K saved over a season of shows can be used towards visual effects; or the time saved can be used to extend the creative editing process.
Big Picture View – Savings
For a Studio, using Insert Edit on every show could potentially save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year. At a cost of under $1500 per license – if each episode can shave $1000 in the delivery / QC process, and several hundred new episodes are delivered each year, the math is easy for why insert-edit is a no-brainer. It’s a tiny investment for a huge ROI.
With cineXtools, anyone in the post/distribution chain can take a patch from Online to overwrite a fix into the existing file. Changes can also be made at the QC facility, or even at the NOC before Distribution/Transmission. This can also mean less time wasted sending large files, which ultimately affect the bottom line. When talking about data and its cost, it’s easy to forget that each byte of data costs someone time or money. Sending a small patch of a few frames versus sending a multi-gigabyte file, can shave hours off nail-biting uploads and downloads, especially when trying to meet a transmission deadline.
Incorporating File-based Insert-Edit in the post deliverables and distribution /transmission process could be upsetting to some since the way files are created and delivered has not changed since the end of videotape delivery. However, it’s quite clear that performing small changes and fixes to files is far more efficient and cost effective than continuous re-export and re-QC sessions.
With this in mind, whether you’re a small production company finishing your own shows or a multi-national studio with worldwide distribution, you have to ask yourself some of the following questions:
1. Where does insert-edit fit in my production workflow?
2. How can insert-edit technology be applied most efficiently and on a larger scale?
3. Who are the agents in the post and distribution eco-system that will have the ability to insert-edit to a file?
4. If it’s not done in the online process, what would be a fair cost for 3rd party service providers for overwriting patches to final deliverables?
5. Is an overwrite for a fix considered a new file for asset management, is it just an update where the media is replaced?
History has proven that with innovation comes an opportunity for positive gain. And while change may be a scary word, the potential savings gained by considering File-based Insert Edit in your workflow is a worthwhile exercise.