Customer story: Doc Shop Productions
Los Angeles-based Doc Shop Productions creates premium non-fiction content, working with a range of highly respected partners and clients including Nat Geo, Discovery, Netflix, History, HBO Turner, CNN, MTV and many others. Having created dozens of critically acclaimed entertainment shows and many hundreds of hours of compelling content, the Doc Shop team has an active development slate that puts unceasing pressure on its Avid-based post-production facility.
In a bid to reduce the bottlenecks associated with camera card ingest and metadata entry, back in October 2016 Doc Shop installed ContentAgent, the workflow management and automation tool from ROOT6 Technology. Prior to ContentAgent, Doc Shop relied on Avid Media Access plug-ins to handle its media card ingest. As the suites are in constant use during the day, Edit Assistants worked overnight to transcode and manually enter card and clip metadata to ensure an orderly conform.
It was, as Tim Cunningham, Doc Shop’s Post Production Supervisor explains,
“A tedious process and vulnerable to human error. With ContentAgent we’re now free to transcode 24/7, turning out footage for editorial in half the time it used to take and, with ContentAgent’s rich metadata features, we’ve eliminated the manual metadata entry and its accompanying errors and frustration. Ingest is much faster and conforms are easier.”
By building their workflow around ContentAgent’s automated ingest capabilities, Doc Shop’s post facility has a higher degree of flexibility, enabling it to adapt much more quickly to the unanticipated challenges that any production inevitably encounters. As Tim puts it:
“Being able to turn the ship faster has helped us avoid more than a few icebergs.”
The primary footage formats at Doc Shop are ProRes generated by ARRI Alexa and Amira cameras, and XF-AVC recorded by the C300 Mk II. But, Tim explains that “since we primarily create documentary style series, it’s common to receive any number of unplanned formats. GoPro, Canon 5D, Sony FS7, A7s II, random QuickTimes, WMVs – we’ve dealt with all of them.
“In terms of overall benefits, I’d say raw speed and the elimination of most of the human error inherent in our old manual workflow are the most significant. We can ingest footage in half the time at any time of day or night, and create any version of the footage we may need, from editorial media to proxies for transcription.
“ContentAgent has also been very helpful in facilitating the timely ingest of high volumes of archival media delivered to post in a wide range of random formats. The ability to build decision-based workflows which can read clip and card metadata, and apply the necessary conversion, has been very helpful. We have even been able to automatically apply the correct LUTs to footage from different cameras recording different colour profiles all in the same automated workflow. The sheer time savings cannot be overstated!”