If there’s ever an image that sums up life as a promo producer before NLEs like AVID and Premiere Pro, then it’s this:
Ah, the digi beta tape. The pile of digi’s you’d cram under your arm or balance in a huge toppling stack on the way to the edit, the big dark room with – wait for it – an actual editor! Someone who would press the mystery buttons amid the flickering lights and waveforms and (if it was Colin on a bad day) would probably not add a frame to the crucial shot that ‘yes, really, definitely needs to be a frame longer’.
Creating promos then was a completely different ball game. It seems ridiculous today that you would record a voiceover, mix the audio AND add the graphics – LIVE! But we did, and we delivered each promo individually labelled to playout. Clocked. Those were the days when you could walk out of an edit suite clutching an actual thing, a physical tape with a final promo in your hands.
Technology and NLE’s may have made editing easier and more accessible, cut out the middle man and made us promo producers into Preditors (I finally have control of the timeline Colin), but in some cases it certainly hasn’t made workflows any easier.
At Insight TV we are lucky because we work with some amazing content and it’s all 4K UHD HDR at 50 fps. Insight TV is the front runner with innovating in this area of the market; we’re the first to do it and because of this we are pioneering methods and workflows to accommodate the superior production specs. Looking at our current in-house promo workflow we can export promos in 4K UHD SDR, but our NLE systems can’t handle HDR exports. For this we turn to our post production partner – United. They take our projects (made with proxies) and relink to the HDR masters, add our TIFF sequences of HDR graphics and mixed audio and export our promos to Insight 4K UHD HDR specs. All of this via FTP or in some cases hard drive because we are based in Amsterdam and United is just down the road in Hilversum. We’re hoping that future upgrades will result in our editing systems being capable of HDR exports, but for now this is our ‘work around’ workflow until technology catches up and makes exports convenient for smaller systems.
Talking about technology needing to catch-up – I’ve recently started working on an exciting new project in 8k UHD HDR. It’s beautiful footage for our new shows featuring Supercar Blondie, filmed by one of our production partners – Velocity. It’s great to be involved at the cutting edge of new formats; this time I’m working with RAW footage straight from the rushes of the production house. The edit is actually already done but is a big holdup – our grade has been delayed until an 8K reference screen is delivered for monitoring! It seems the industry still has a bit of catching up to do.