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April 2012

On Sherlockthere was 18.5TB of data from the shoot about 315 hours for the three programmes

laptops or make telephone calls outside of the suites. Robson explains how she needed to spec up a dedicated Baselight colouring suite and DS finishing suite to be able to handle drama work. “One of the main things that I knew from experience and from doing the first series of Sherlock especially is the amount of effects inbuilt into the timeline. The important thing for clients is that they don’t have to rebuild effects that they’ve made offline in the online so I needed to make sure the suites were upgraded so they could actually translate those effects through into the online stage and just be tweaked rather than someone having to sit there and rebuild all of the effects.”

She also had to consider

bandwidth, the ability to move data around fast enough, having the right slots for drives and keeping clients informed of new camera formats and new technical procedures. In her new role as head of

operations since January, Robson oversees the whole facility from

a technical, staffing and client point of view. “Day-to-day I make sure at a basic level that the work goes through the facility and there’s no hitch. That clients are happy, kit is working and operators are at the standard and doing the work as they should be doing. “Technology is developing at

them be able to deliver the required service,” she explains. “There’s a huge amount of

development going on particularly in asset management and cloud systems and it’s important that we’re keeping abreast, if not in front, of that and making sure that any buzz word our client arrives

TVBEurope 61 The Workflow

might be helpful for us keep us informed on changes we can advise clients at a very early stage on how that will affect their production. “What’s important for me is to minimise the risk as much as possible in terms of data but also to make sure the clients get the best possible result

“Over the next 18 months we’ll see a move away from lots of small drives, to more network-based solutions for data movement and management. It’s an area I now don’t separate from the facility workflow”

a rapid pace at the moment. From the time we first speak to a client about a project to the time it actually comes into post, there can be significant changes. This can be a bonus in terms of being able to deliver superior performance; it also means that I need to make sure that technical and creative staff are kept up to date and trained on any new kit in order to allow

with we already know about, we know if we’re getting it or we’ve got it already.” Having good relationships with manufacturers and suppliers means Robson is aware of how the technology is evolving. “For instance, Arri will call me if they make a change to a camera. If people who make the kit that we use and people that make kit that

quality-wise and get the look they want from their programme with the budget they’ve got. There is a certain amount of managing people’s expectations. “The interesting lines of

development for me over the last year have revolved around the period leading up to when the data arrives at Prime Focus, and I think over the next 18

months industry-wide we’ll see a move away from lots of small drives, to more network-based solutions for data movement and management. It’s an area I now don’t separate from the facility workflow, as it’s so intrinsic to the efficiency and success of the post production process. “From the broadcast post point of view it’s about being able to offer clients a solution where pretty much from the moment their data is copied off the camera card, they can access it from wherever they are in the world, be able to view, log and edit it, and come into final post without having to transfer it again.

“This is a concept that’s in

development and we hope to be able to start to deliver it in the United Kingdom. Essentially the technology is there, but it’s about advancing limitations in terms of both availability and cost effectiveness; there is no point offering solutions that do not fit our clients’ budgets or shoot/location set-ups.”

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