Emmy Award-winning production company, Authentic Entertainment, creates some of cable TV’s most popular shows and has brought its creative vision to the Discovery Channel, Food Network, TLC, History Channel, FYI, National Geographic, Showtime, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, Bravo, Sundance Channel, and WEtv.
Headed by Will Pisnieski, CTO and Head of Post Production, Authentic conforms and onlines every show in house. With 46 active edit bays and 125 Avid clients, the post-production group supports up to 8 online/colorists. Working nonstop to deliver 150 to 250 hours of original programming year after year, it’s no wonder that Will comments, “Once a show starts, it’s like a freight train with a destination it has to get to – it does not stop. You have to find solutions along the way so that you stay within the allotted time and budget for the show.”
Both Will and Sekahng Oh, Director of Post Operations, spoke on some of the challenges delivering reality content. “The inherent nature of Reality means some creative decisions are still being made about the story while it is being colored and onlined. It can lead to some tense situations when we’re under pressure to make an airdate,” says Sekahng. “One of our customers is Bravo, and they are a very ‘hands-on’ network. A solution like cineXtools is must-have tool with a client that need to make creative changes at the last minute,” says Will.
Additional pressure is applied to cut costs, “There are no shortcuts for creating and delivering shows,” says Will. “Whether it’s scripted or non-scripted, every show goes through edit, color, audio and online; and each part of the process has a fixed cost associated with it. Recently a network capped our post-production budget but also wanted extensive color and review sessions. With a limited budget, we had to come up with a new solution for them.”
Coming up with innovative solutions and workflows, whether compelled by budget and/or time, is what Will’s job is all about. “Last year, I’d heard about cineXtools and insert-editing to files. I felt we had to check it out because it would mean a huge savings in our workflow,” he says. “From a business management perspective, it’s a user-friendly, easy to train piece of software. Moreover, it means that we don’t always have to bring back an online editor to make corrections to the file,” he continues. “Now, our staff assistant editors drop fixes into the file using cineXtools and we save money every time we use it.”
Sekahng adds, “cineXtools relieves the burden of re-creating a new file. Re-exporting is more complicated than it seems: we have to bring the project back online, make the changes to the sequence, then hope nothing else goes wrong in the re-export.” Sekahng also notes that cineXtools brings peace of mind to the deliverables process. “Exporting a file is faster than doing a real-time tape layoff, but it’s also less efficient. Every change whether it’s one frame or an entire shot replacement, requires a re-export. With cineXtools, you’re punching in only the change and never re-exporting to make these small, but necessary changes. Being able to insert-edit to files is the last piece to unlocking the efficiency of file-based workflows.”
For Will, cineXtools had proven itself in it’s very first use. “The first time we used cineXtools was for our hit TLC series, ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’. There were some last minute changes that required us to change the location of our extended scenes for the international versions,” he recalls. “It was a simple, clean, easy way to make changes directly to the file that ultimately got delivered. I was really pleased we didn’t have to bring in an online editor to make those simple changes.”
Will concludes, “We purchased cineXtools bearing in mind two things: we knew insert-edit was going to help speed up our workflow and it was a solution that would save us money in personnel costs. Now, cineXtools is a proven workflow for us.”
cineXtools has been used on the current season of Bravo’s ‘Flipping Out’, TLC’s ‘Toddlers & Tiaras’, a digital series for Complex Network, ‘Breaking Bass’ debuting later this summer and for internal development projects.