Playback Innovations is proud to announce a revolutionary advance in tapeless workflow with the successful design, implementation and execution of a completely tapeless playback solution for the 2010 Academy Awards ®. Building on the advances established at last year's telecast, Playback Innovations once again designed and implemented an end-to-end tapeless delivery system for all of the production playback elements.
All content for both on-set reinforcement, and direct to air playback were edited or formatted at Chainsaw, which acted as the coordination point for all elements. This allowed production personnel to easily monitor and track the 1200-plus elements that were ultimately delivered to the Kodak Theatre. Playback Innovations, in cooperation with Chainsaw and Location Connect, established a Gigabit Ethernet network across a wireless link from the roof of Chainsaw to the roof of the Kodak Theatre. This allowed for content to be exchanged bi-directionally faster than real time 24/7.
“The ability to send files from post to playback enabled the producers to see their changes reflected on the screen almost instantly”, said Associate Director Rich Preuss. “Changes were coming in even during the dress rehearsal. The editors back at Chainsaw were able to react to the notes, and get the revisions back to the Kodak as soon as they were done with the edit”.
“This year’s Oscar® broadcast was the most technically complex we’ve ever done, featuring far more background material than ever before,” said Tad Scripter, Engineer-In-Charge for the broadcast. “There were ten Best Picture nominees this year, with far more material shown on screens behind the presenters. We sent material both directions—finished material was sent from Chainsaw to the Kodak Theatre broadcast campus, just-shot HD material was sent from the Kodak to Chainsaw for post-production, voiceovers and music were sent for mixing and editing. Production and post could continue 24 hours a day, with more time for quality control and review.” Scripter also noted that the system “was used all the way through show day. We sent multiple elements for re-editing all the way through dress rehearsal, along with producers' notes, and they were sent back as soon as they were ready. We never had to worry about the weather slowing down a courier—it rained all that day, but the link never took a break.”
“This fast response time has become an integral part of the way shows of this magnitude are produced”, said Playback Innovations founder Jon Aroesty. “Producers have reached the point were they cannot live without this ability to make changes on the fly, and have the editors push content back to the stage almost instantly. Although not every show has the budget to accommodate the wireless technology used here, the workflow principles are the same, regardless of scale, so Playback Innovations can implement this concept for most any size production.”
The video post operation at Chainsaw (www.chainsawedit.com) and the production facilities at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood were merged into one large TCP/IP network. This gave the editors all of the benefits of being on-site, without compromising their ability to make full use of the complete post-production environment at Chainsaw.
When the Chainsaw editors wanted to deliver to the Kodak, they would simply right-click and send their finished high-definition sequences from the Avid directly to the playback operation at the Kodak Theatre—faster than real time, with no loss of quality. No longer did they need to output to videotape, have a courier run the tape through traffic to the venue or re-digitize into the playback server before the content was available for use. They could even send their video sequences late at night, when there were no operators available at the Kodak Theatre, in order for the content to be available first thing in the morning for rehearsals.
“The ability to send from any of our edit suites directly to the playout servers at the Kodak Theatre more than a mile away was an incredible time saver for us,” said Mike Polito of Chainsaw. “It enabled us to focus on doing our best work while not being concerned about the logistics of delivery”.
Playback Innovations deployed seven six-channel EVS XT’s on site at the Kodak Theatre to handle all of the playback requirements of the broadcast. The XT’s were controlled by the Pi Controller, enabling simultaneous and frame accurate control of up to 48 channels by a single operator. The EVS XT’s have the ability to record and playback native Avid DNxHD® files.