New Wave Entertainment

Faster. Better. More economical. That’s what creative services agency NWE hears from clients daily. And why it chose Avid.

Faster.  Better.  More economical.  That’s the mantra New Wave Entertainment (http://www.nwe.com) hears from their clients every day.   So they can’t afford to get caught up in workflow or technical issues.  They need to keep on doing what they do best – handle media as quickly and efficiently as possible in order to create outstanding work on time and on budget.

“The number one reason I will never go with the competition is that Avid is so robust in its media management,” says Sam Esmail, Director of Post Production. “Other guys are like gunslingers in the basement. We’re higher quality; we’re a team of editors.”

Entertainment Marketing Leader

A full-service marketing organization at heart, the company sports an extensive portfolio of production, design, interactive media, music, and talent management services. New Wave’s production department is where the action is for Avid video post production solutions. 

As a leader in the entertainment marketing and creative services arena, New Wave produces Behind-the-Scenes Specials, Electronic Press Kits, TV specials, TV series, TV spots, documentaries, Blu-ray and DVD added value, as well as online content.

Some recent projects using Avid post systems include a two-hour special for A&E, currently in production. Blu-ray and DVD special features for many Harry Potter titles including the recent ultimate collector’s editions of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, plus the new Blu-ray release of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Other recent marketing and home entertainment projects are Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and G.I. Joe: Rise of the Cobra.

Located in Burbank, literally within walking distance of such major film studios as Warner Bros. and Disney, the facility houses a full complement of 40 Avid editorial bays, seven online bays, and eight digital mixing suites. 

In one corner of its coolly modernist building, marketing spots (more accurately defined as broadcast advertising) are created and/or finished. Marketing product coming out of these rooms is far more than standard trailer fare; it is enhanced advertising content destined to be viewed in commercial movie theatres as a precursor to trailers, featuring interview and B-roll content. The group also services the broadcast arena, creating TV spots, syndication launch campaigns, as well as content for website distribution.

In addition, the company finishes marketing spots for some of Hollywood’s most prominent studios. The scope and scale of these campaigns can be daunting.  An average campaign may be comprised of more than 100 spots, while a single day of combined campaign work can encompass the generation of over 30 different spots.  Moreover, spots come in at all hours of the day and night and need to be delivered ASAP.  So the largest hurdle is meeting deadlines, particularly of the same-day variety.

Time is of the Essence

With time being of such critical essence, Avid offers the most important benefit of all to the group -- collaboration.  And it’s Avid’s Unity ISIS that serves as the key storage component, providing extraordinary machine to machine communication, and the flexibility needed to control the volume and availability of material upon which work is being done.

Closely related to the issue of storage is PAM (production asset management).  It had been a key item on the New Wave wish list since Interplay was first viewed at a seminar three years ago.

The challenge is that long form work requires great coordination of planning and execution; out of 15-20 editors at any given time, five may be working on the same projects.  Competing systems once considered were ultimately abandoned due to New Wave’s overarching need for media sharing.  This more than made the case for Interplay’s superior PAM capabilities.

As Esmail explained it, “every editor had local bins, so it was possible that people would get the wrong projects, the wrong cuts, until someone finally said, ‘let’s look at Interplay.’  We did and that brought us the collaborative capability we enjoy today.”

With Interplay, content is only digitized once, then routed to every level, from producers to editor and assistant editors. With projects like The Dark Knight and Dane Cook’s Tourgasm, it’s a solution that works regardless of what might be thrown the team’s way.

Thank You for Sharing

New Wave’s workflow structure allows anyone to step into any project and share their work.  If, for instance, one artist is particularly good at a given task and is needed on another spot, that artist can put up what he/she is doing for another to pick up.  And the best part is that everybody can keep track of what’s happening in the process.

Another consideration is that there is no such thing as a single spot at New Wave.  Many variants of the same spot are required (U.S., Canadian versions, “now playing” versions, etc.).  Avid solutions allow each of these to be handed off from one artist to another for changes in timeline or messaging.  When all is said and done, clients want a nearly endless stream of changes, so the ability to multi-task on the same project is an absolute must.

Yet another key to doing high-quality projects quickly is the ability to bring in low-res material that can be overcut, then, upon approval, re-imported with low-res cutting pointing back to it. 

Were it not Avid’s professional services expertise, though, Interplay’s success at New Wave would have been far from assured.  Everyone at New Wave terms the Interplay installation an “epic effort” -- an extremely challenging process that Avid met with an extraordinary commitment of time and resources, up to and including flying in service and support staff from as far away as Germany to get the solution up and running.  “The product support was simply outstanding,” declared Michael Clow, VP, Technical Operations.

On the Audio Side

On the audio side, the post team relies primarily upon Pro Tools to produce Blu-ray and DVD special features, EPK work and specials such as HBO First Look and Starz Inside.

First, there is no longer any necessity to ingest tape and make everyone wait in real-time for that process to be completed, which was how they worked before with a different set of products.  Instead, drives containing the media can be mounted, viewed and worked on without delay, a process that is particularly valuable for long form work such as 60 or 90 minute documentaries.  In addition, Avid’s Media Composer based Video Satellite enables contributors to get up close and personal with elements such as lip-synch that are more difficult to see on analog media.

Change conform handling is also enhanced.  Ordinarily, a project would have to be re-ingested in real-time.  Files can now be put into Pro Tools or Video Satellite with just a fraction of the conversion time, utilizing pointer information as it comes from offline.

With the strong emergence of Blu-ray technology, another challenge New Wave faced was that they had to move to expensive D5 HD stock, since SD tape could not run at the Blu-ray standard of 23.976 progressive segmented frame rate.  With Pro Tools and Video excising this step from the workflow, mixers were able to avoid the costly process of making a D5 scratch in order to ensure that rate was maintained.

Going Wild, Going Wide

All in all, the most significant Pro Tools advantage is its ability to let mixers go wild by going “a zillion tracks wide.”  In comparison, gear previously employed was limited to a fraction of that capacity.

Since so much of what the New Wave team does is dialog-driven, multiple shots, sounds, noises, and backgrounds not only made the previous environment a difficult one in which to work, but required some pretty creative workarounds to facilitate sonic cleansing and separation.

Pro Tools resolved those issues by offering a means of splitting out tracks completely, giving each its own individual treatment and putting it where it could best be seen and manipulated.  For one recent project featuring interviews with 85 different individuals, it was no small thing to be able to work with that wide a spread, especially when a number of those people ended up being interviewed up to seven different times.  “It’s a really open and creative environment in which to mix,” commented audio mixer, Warren Woods, “you can automate everything, you have so much flexibility. I love it, man!”

Fun Part of the Job

For a company that has to go faster, do better, and reduce costs, Avid brings something new to the table for audio and video teams alike -- solutions that work, and work the same way every time.  This allows New Wave to go with the Avid flow in order to come up with more creative solutions that producers like better.  As one New Wave team leader put it, “creativity is the fun part of the job and Avid makes sure it stays that way.”