FLiP ( Previously The Finish Line : Central)
I have been working on this since I first opened The Finish Line. Being able to finally announce it has me really excited because the technology has finally caught up with a dream I have had for a long time.
As the name suggests The Finish Line : Central is a central location where numerous technical offerings from The Finish Line come together. It may sound a little cryptic but at this point we have just covered a few areas that we felt were in urgent need of improvement and we have loads more on the to do list. This is about where we’re at with the technology right now.
Final post can be a tricky place when it comes to pictures. More often than not we receive material that suffers from a multitude of issues such as bad exposure, focus, white balance, dead pixels, the list goes on. Once the footage is in our hands the bulk of out allotted time is spent fixing and improving everything we can which unfortunately doesn’t leave a lot of time to really make the pictures sing.
Ultimately the quality of what we deliver is very much determined by the quality of what we receive. How do we improve this? It’s a standard process in the TV industry to have a Runner or AP copying media while on a shoot. All my film pals just rolled their eyes but that is just the reality, budgets can be tight and having the right workflow is often too pricey. With this in mind we had to come up with at DIT solution that wouldn’t break the bank but would allow immediate feedback to production during the shoot so that a simple problem wouldn’t turn into a massive drama.
When we started building The Finish Line : Central we decided to begin with a solution for this. From a client side everything runs as usual. Using our DIT kit the media each day is duplicated onto a striped raid and verified prior to the deletion of cards thus allowing for immediate review should the need arise. In the background is where the magic happens. All the source media is encrypted for security then broken into tiny little pieces to make upload to our online storage possible, regardless of the internet connection (a password protected drive can be sent if internet upload isn’t possible). Here it is verified and duplicated to our archival system which is backed up in three separate locations. Each production has 10TB of allotted storage as the norm but this can always be increased to match demand. Our tech team can check the material over the course of the shoot from the comfort of our HQ and feedback any concerns to production as they go. This is all included in the package.
The next stage of this is online transcoding. Within our system the transcoding servers can immediately encode the proxy media for offline and said media can be made immediately available for the editors, transcribers, producers… whoever needs it.
With that in the bag I decided to test a few more ideas. We all know about cloud editing with Avid Interplay or Adobe Anywhere but I really wanted to create something that would be NLE agnostic. We did so within The Finish Line : Central via a network mounting option. We can setup unlimited users in the system to edit in any NLE that supports cutting H.264 proxy media like Avid Media Composer, FCPX and Premier Pro to name a few. They can cut remotely either directly off our online storage or we can have it background sync so you have a local copy that will always be updated as the system makes more media available to you. I’ve been cutting at home this week using our consumer broadband connection with Avid and it’s been really impressive. I should stress that you could use any number of editors from anywhere in the world with this system so there is nothing stopping you having a few people doing assembly edits off site in another city or country while you have the fine pass done by one editor on site wherever you are.
Once you have a cut programme we can grab your master sequence and connect it to the full quality source media all ready for the Mix, Grade, Online and Delivery. We can even do this part of the project remotely and you can review via The Finish Line : Live.
At the end of all that everything can go into the The Finish Line : Store which is our archival system that backs up to three separate locations. Within this system we can keep all the rushes and master files available and easy to restore at any time should you need to go back to them.
To say I’m a little excited about this all is a bit of an understatement. In The Finish Line : Central we have built a really strong foundation and there is still so much more we can do, but what we have available in the system right now is truly amazing. Drop us a line if you fancy getting us involved in your production or talking this over further firstname.lastname@example.org