“Lopez Tonight” is carefully watched to make sure everything is right.

by Jason Schroeder – Telepictures’ Engineer

Lopez Tonight was a unique challenge for Telepictures. Post-Production systems as a whole, industry wide, are becoming more complex – and because of this – more expensive. The single most prohibitive factor to any project is cost, but HD television in Los Angeles sometimes comes up against a production paradox: How do you meet the bottom line and provide your team with the tools necessary to start the first season of a new HD production off properly? How do you launch a brand new show in this decade without breaking the bank?

In our case, we had committed both to XDCAM as our primary master recording format. We went with their new product, the Avid MultiStream, to gang-roll our production feeds into the centralized ISIS storage. Avid ISOSync allows us to treat both AMS machines as one 8 channel unit, and provides our operator with a simple interface to record with. In addition, the AMS system records in 50 megabit XDCAM, so the media generated on both sides of the workflow were identical in format.

We use Interplay as our primary source for organizing show media, but the XDCAM format allowed us choices when it came to long term storage, proxy viewing, and producer interaction. Using a combination of ISIS, Interplay, OS X Server, XDCAM and its file structure, we were able to put together a workflow that had significant advantages in HD. Between the two resources, we had everything a solid startup needs to give the producers as much as possible to create the show.

Lopez Tonight is classified as a “Day of Air” show. On top of that, it has one of the tightest turnaround times of any Telepictures production. Approximately 90 minutes after the show finishes recording, we have to send a feed to TBS for national distribution. Using the Avid MultiStream product allowed our editors to literally watch the recorded production hit the ISIS as it happened, adding their notes along the way.

To accomplish the challenge of providing such a tight turn around, the staff came up with a plan to meet the deadline. As the show records, two editors swap acts, editing each in succession. The show blocks were edited twice as fast as normal with this process, allowing us to finish the whole show with only four avid bays. Not only did this work very well for the editors, but it gave us flexibility during the edit day as every editor is keen to the tasks of the others. Without the ability to collaborate in this manner, this short turnaround time would have proved insurmountable.

The Avid Transfer Manager, which runs locally on each edit station, is able to send sequences directly to Grass Valley’s K2 Summit over FTP, from inside Media Composer. This one feature alone saved us massive amounts of time, not to mention media costs.

The Lopez Tonight web team utilizes the Interplay system to its full capacity, working along side the show editors in order to deliver day of air content also to the Lopez Tonight website. During production, the web team examines the same clips, same notes, and same information as everyone else working on the system.

The flexibility that both the Interplay system and the XDCAM format provided us allowed us to meet cost targets, while at the same time improving the edit process for everyone involved. We are extremely happy with the end result – a lean, mean editing workflow capable of meeting the demands of Lopez Tonight.  

Broadcast Beat