About the Video
Storm HD are a full service Post Production company based in Covent Garden, London. As early adopters of cineXtools, Paul and Jay tell us about their experience using cineXtools. (more about Storm HD)
Founder and Finishing Editor
Tyler Kern (00:05):
In the world of post-production, it’s important to have tools at your disposal to make your workflow as efficient as possible, allowing you to deliver finished products to clients on time and with the quality of work that they expect. So joining me today to talk about cineXtools products, and how they’ve had an impact for them, is Jay Makwana. He’s the commercial director for Storm Post Production. Jay, thank you so much for joining us.
Jay Makwana (00:24):
No worries. Thanks for having me.
Tyler Kern (00:25):
Absolutely. And we’re also joined by Paul Ingvarsson. He’s co-owner and finishing editor for Storm Post Production. Paul, thank you for being here as well.
Paul Ingvarsson (00:32):
Thanks very much.
Tyler Kern (00:34):
Absolutely. So, Paul, let’s just start off here. Tell us a little bit about Storm and what it is that you guys do.
Paul Ingvarsson (00:39):
So we’re based in London, Covent Garden, and we make a lot of content for the main broadcasters in the UK and worldwide really, as well.
Tyler Kern (00:53):
Absolutely. So, Jay, tell me a little bit about your role at Storm and some of the tools that you use and utilize to get projects done.
Jay Makwana (01:03):
Yeah, so I’m the commercial director here at Storm. And my role is to make sure that we are continuing to grow, continuing in the right direction with things, working with Paul and Tim to make sure that we’re implementing the right tools and workflows in order to make it the most cost effective and efficient way of doing things. So it’s really maxing out the way that we do things on a daily basis.
Tyler Kern (01:30):
So Paul, am I correct in understanding that you were one of the early adopters of cineXtools? Tell me a little bit about that and what stood out about what they provided for workflows and for the work that Storm Post Production does.
Paul Ingvarsson (01:42):
Yeah, we did come on fairly early in using the product. And the biggest thing for us was being able to use the AS-11 metadata tools to be able to adjust things right at the last minute, because it was getting to that stage where being able to make changes to the projects that we’ve delivered right up to the last minute, without having a big impact in time, was pretty crucially important really.
Tyler Kern (02:18):
So Paul, one of the things that you do quite a bit of at Storm Post Productions is event cinema. So tell us a little bit about what event cinema is and why cineXtools has been really beneficial when it comes to working with event cinema.
Paul Ingvarsson (02:34):
Okay. Yeah. So the event cinema work that we get involved with is typically long theater productions that are maybe two, two and a half hours long. And they’re all shot in 4K BCI, as well. And they’ve got 5.1 surround sound requirements and huge amounts of re-versioning as well. So we’re always being asked to put in scores in and out, changing credits, change opening credits, put broadcaster logos at the end, things like that. And the biggest issue that we face with that kind of work is that the files are massive. They’re not your typical one hour UHD program. Their two to two and a half hours long. If you’ve got a full stop missing at the end or something like that, then you want to lean on something like cineXtools to be able to do those inserts for you without having to remake the whole file.
Paul Ingvarsson (03:35):
Storage is fast and the computers are fast, but being able to do an insert on a file is a hell of a lot easier than making the whole thing again. Not least if you have to then re-QC you the file if you make it again anyway. So, that’s probably a very overlooked impact on being able to drop-ins into files.
Tyler Kern (04:00):
So Jay, we know that workflows are extremely important when it comes to post-production. How does cineXtools help improve your workflow and make you more efficient at what you do?
Jay Makwana (04:10):
Well, coming from more of a tape background, we used to do insert edits on tapes and it was just that convenience of dropping sequence onto tape, just punching in time code. And then when it went to the tape, the side of things, there was a bit of a transition and people were not sure how it was going to pan out. And there was a stage where we were having to make everything again and re-QC and redo the deliverables. And I think something like cineX was quite inevitable. And when it came about, it was quite revolutionary. I remember being at BV and seeing someone from Cinedeck demoing it and rumors were circling. You had people saying, do you know about this, do you know about this? And I was like, wow, that sounds a bit too good to be true.
Jay Makwana (04:57):
So I had to go and check that out. And then after seeing it in action and seeing other post houses use it successfully, it seemed like a no brainer. And it’s really … I was using it previously at line TV. And when coming to Storm, knowing that they had it here was just quite reassuring. And I knew that we were going to get a lot out of it. And I hope that we continue to use it.
Jay Makwana (05:21):
I think the staff and clients I’ve seen benefits from it from a time saving space, but also cost savings. So it’s very cost effective for production. So financially they, over the last year, it saved them thousands doing the programs that we make in particular, with it being controversial or almost live events and that kind of thing. So I think, things that your revision or if it was dispatchers or something like that, there’s always some sort of tweak that needs to be done or decision makers are having the freedom to make changes at the last minute. And I think this has really helped push what we can do. And I think it’s just about looking at products of how we can make things better, how we can do things better.
Jay Makwana (06:09):
And I think cineXtools, from what I’ve seen, as always, delivered and, and always looked to do things better or how we can make things better developing themselves. So I think I really like that part about them.
Tyler Kern (06:25):
And Paul, one of the things that Jay just mentioned that I think that really stands out is that cost and time saving aspect. How big of a deal is that for you as somebody who’s a co owner of the business. Certainly you’re looking at the bottom line and looking for ways to always be saving money and always be growing in efficiency, right?
Paul Ingvarsson (06:45):
Well, yes and no, because most of the time costs therefore cost saving aspects to being able to do drop-ins is … We can pass that on to our clients. We can make their project budgets go further because we don’t have to be that last budget line, which is always chipping away at their bottom line. But we’re always partnering with our clients rather than … It’s not literally justice.
Paul Ingvarsson (07:21):
We’re trying to work as efficiently as possible so that they can afford to make their pockets go far, as well. So from a personal point of view, because I’m an owner/operator of the company as well. So I’m pretty much on the sharp end of it, doing the deliveries sometimes late at night or up against the deadline. And for me, I just love knowing that I’m going to get home at a decent time. Because I don’t want to make the entire file, and I don’t have to wait for it to be QC’d so that everyone can go home. So, the benefits are … Obviously there is a cost benefit, but no one wants to be working kind late all the time, just because of one tiny little error on the credit sequence, or a shock change that needs to be made right at the last minute. Everyone wants to be working a bit smarter and a bit better. That for me is the biggest draw.
Tyler Kern (08:25):
Absolutely. That absolutely makes sense. So Jay, from your perspective, what features and benefits have been the most beneficial? You mentioned the drop-in feature obviously being something that has been massively helpful. Are there other features and benefits that have stood out to you as beneficial for what you do on a day-to-day basis?
Jay Makwana (08:42):
I think Paul is absolutely right with having the convenience for the client side. And I think the key value is when it brings value to our clients. And I think that’s where it really gets good because it’s not just we’re benefiting from it, or our staff is benefiting from it. It’s actually, overall as a production, we’re actually making the most use of the budget and the time that we have. In terms of features, I think … I don’t use it on a daily basis myself, however, insert, edit, dropping the clips onto a DNX sequence or pro-res. I think that’s something that’s really been good because we’re able to … We don’t have to recreate the file all over again, and then having to check it all over, frame by frame, because it’s going to be the same file essentially just with the drop insert edit. So I think the multiple clip feature is good, where you can just have all the … Drop in all your changes at once. That’s something that was introduced recently.
Jay Makwana (09:44):
And I think that’s another thing that they’ve developed and seen, recognize where can we do things that’s going to improve things for the client or for the end user. And I think that’s really good. I think just working with Cinedeck with post-houses like ourselves and if we have any other suggestions or anything like that, I think being open to that and constantly having to make it a better product is something that’s going to really add value to your business.
Paul Ingvarsson (10:14):
Can I add something in there?
Tyler Kern (10:14):
Paul Ingvarsson (10:19):
Yeah, the multiple source and single destination feature is absolutely brilliant because with confidence, you can do all of these drop-ins all in one go, basically. So you can step through your workflow so you can be doing … You can be making new changes, because sometimes it isn’t just one change. It’s most likely to be five or six changes or something like that. So to be able to prep all of those changes and for it to know exactly where those changes go into the destination file with literally one click of a button is brilliant.
Paul Ingvarsson (11:01):
And it also gives you the confidence to be able to check the ins and outs and all of the different sources as well. So it’s really intuitive. You can click through on all of your drop-ins. They’re in like a list. And then you can check that the frames match onto the destination part, as well. So it’s streamlined and it also feels robust. It feels like you can feel secure in what you’re doing and that’s just the feeling it gives you rather than something that I can quantify, other than that.
Tyler Kern (11:36):
So Paul, can you tell me a little bit more about the mezzanine workflow with DNX and how that’s been beneficial for you as well?
Paul Ingvarsson (11:43):
Yeah, so DNX by its nature is a constant bit rate Kodak. So because of the way that cineXtools works, you’re already in a position where you can insert edits into that file. Whereas, say for instance, with pro res files, you either have to have mastered a constant bit rate file using either the plugin or one of the analytic export options. Or you have to rewrap the file from DVR to CBR to be able to do the drop-in. It’s just the nature of how pro res works.
Paul Ingvarsson (12:21):
But for us, we choose the DNX. Kodak is our mezzanine file to make. It’s almost like an intermediate file. So from that, we can then structure and make the different versions. So being able to do the inserts without having to rewrap the file, it’s good news for us, basically. Even though re-wrapping is quick, it’s still re-wrapping a 4K file that’s two and a half hours long. A- It’s going to take still some time. And B- it’s going to use a lot more of your storage as well. So we’ve chosen the DNX mezzanine format so that we can do drop-ins on the DNX files rather than go the pro res route. And we’re also a bit more confident about the color aspects of DNX as opposed to pro res, as well.
Tyler Kern (13:16):
So I want to pose this question to both of you and Jay, we’ll start off with you. If somebody that works in post-production but doesn’t use cineXtools asks you to summarize the benefits and how it’s been beneficial for you just utilizing cineXtools tools, what would you say? How would you respond to them?
Jay Makwana (13:33):
Well, I would say to them that it’s going to not just make your life easier, but also the overall production. So it’s definitely something … I love the fact that you can do these almost instantaneously, these edits, and it means that the overall deadline for the production schedule doesn’t get affected too drastically. And it mitigates the risk of your [inaudible 00:13:58] or above a budget or spend more on your staff, or all that. I think overall, there is a bit of a ripple effect that it can have if you didn’t have cineXtools. Having cineXtools in place, I would just say to them, look, just demo it, trial it, see how it works for you and see what benefits you get. Again, I think each production and post-production house will have slightly different benefits, but I think overall they’ll see that it is going to save you time, but also the overall production cost and mitigate risks of you going over on your schedule.
Jay Makwana (14:34):
And you’re still able to stick to those deadlines, especially when you’re doing a BBC or a Netflix show, or something that’s really high profile and you need to make sure you hit these deadlines. You can’t afford to say to the client that we have to do everything all over again, and it’s going to take another day. The money that you would spend on this, you’d make that back straight away in no time. So I think it’s really … I would just recommend to try it out at least and see where it gets you.
Tyler Kern (15:00):
Absolutely. Paul, same question. How would you summarize the benefits to somebody who’s not currently using cineXtools?
Paul Ingvarsson (15:07):
Well, I’d say that’s really easy. I mean, your clients are going to think you’re slicker. And you’re going to get home quicker to go and put yourself in it. That’s what I’d say. That’s the overall summary, really. It might seem really basic, but it makes a big difference. And what happens is that you tend to be watching the final program and then there’s that wave of frustration when you realize that something’s gone wrong. You’re like oh, that shot wasn’t changed or … And it means you can make those changes afterwards. You can create a better product and you can still get home on time.
Tyler Kern (15:54):
Absolutely. And cook dinner faster, which, when you bring up food as the motivation, you’ve got me hooked.
Jay Makwana (16:02):
Yeah. It is truly a no brainer though. Changes are going to be inevitable with the programs that we work on. And it’s just about how we address those changes and how we can mitigate the risks of it running into issues overall.
Tyler Kern (16:17):
It helps you be more nimble and flexible.
Jay Makwana (16:19):
Yeah, definitely. Yeah, flexibility is key.
Tyler Kern (16:23):
Yeah. Definitely. Well, Jay Makwana and Paul Ingvarsson from Storm Post Production. Guys, thank you so much for joining me today and talking about the benefits of cineXtools and how it’s worked for you.
Paul Ingvarsson (16:33):
Jay Makwana (16:34):
No worries. Thank you so much.
Paul Ingvarsson (16:40):