Digital Graffiti knows what it takes to respond quickly to changing content requirements. The independent, full-service post-production company specializes in long-form video and television editing for a variety of clients, delivering multiple masters a week. Last year alone, Digital Graffiti produced 220 masters and worked on numerous television series for a wide roster of clients, including several top-rated reality shows. To date, the company has delivered over 1,000 hours of episodic television plus countless hours of promotional material and web content.
Avid provides the infrastructure where we can have teams working very closely together, or we can have people work on an individual basis with the ability to pass content onto the next creative very seamlessly.
Kim Pratt, Vice President of Technology
"Our team is very intent on keeping up-to-date, and when the demands of the industry shift, we make creative maneuvers very quickly," explains Kim Pratt, Vice President of Technology. Pratt credits Digital Graffiti's deep talent pool and its Avid infrastructure for providing the flexibility to turn-on-a-dime in response to new opportunities and requirements.
Over the past year Digital Graffiti has ventured into producing long-form documentaries. Pratt notes that while these different genres of shows require different workflows, they all share similar requirements for media. They all need to access their media very quickly. They all need to share their media. And, they all need to work on a tool that is familiar to the entire team. "Our infrastructure is built to be content agnostic," explains Pratt. "Avid provides the infrastructure where we can have teams working very closely together, or we can have people work on an individual basis with the ability to pass content onto the next creative very seamlessly."
Pratt is responsible for ensuring that Digital Graffiti has the right technology to handle the workflows. The company's current editing environment comprises 77 Media Composer | Ultimate editing workstations with the Symphony Color Correction toolset, two Pro Tools | Ultimate digital audio workstations, and they recently upgraded from 96 terabytes of Avid ISIS storage to 240 terabytes of Avid NEXIS | E4 shared storage. Avid NEXIS provides Digital Graffiti with the bandwidth, reliability, and security to support every show and project.
Shared storage fosters collaboration
Some of the reality-based projects Digital Graffiti works on use as many as 33 cameras per shoot with shoot ratios as high as 300:1. Avid solutions enable Digital Graffiti to track each data point as the footage moves from the field, through post to the final program. As they log thousands or even hundreds of thousands of files, Digital Graffiti pulls them into group clips so they can get the multi-cams together.
Digital Graffiti uses a heavily compressed offline workflow. They ingest everything using Media Composer to pull in footage down to the Interplay codec and provide the offline editors and producers with access to all media. "There's no footage that they aren't getting. There's no moment they're missing because we ran out of space," explains Pratt.
"Avid NEXIS gives us a number of critical media management tools to ensure the editors and producers are using their storage most efficiently," continues Pratt. "It enhances our workflow by making it faster and easier to share media, which is particularly important with the amount of footage coming in from the reality shows. Since everything is managed by Avid, we don't have to worry about different team members having different organizational files, and not being able to access the media. We can send bin files from place to place and know that since it's all ingested through Avid the naming conventions are the same, it streamlines sharing between offices. The post teams are constantly in each other's bins and that collaborative nature allows them to fine tune each reality moment."
Avid NEXIS will allow for expansion into the cloud, and that's the direction that we need to go as an industry.
Kim Pratt, Vice President of Technology
Seamless integration of unlimited freelance resources
Prior to its upgrade to Avid NEXIS shared storage, Digital Graffiti often had to provide duplicate media. They were limited to the number of people mounted to each workstation which meant editors often didn't have all the footage they needed. "We had to move footage around at the back end and identify staff responsible for tracking the footage," explains Pratt. "We couldn't switch an editor around very quickly if we wanted their opinion on a cut, or if we wanted them to patch up a part of an episode they weren't originally assigned to work on. Now, with Avid NEXIS, we just add another person to a directory, switch on their permissions, and then they've got access to everything that they need."
Digital Graffiti's full-time, 30-person staff is amplified by several hundred freelance editors and assistant editors, who may work on one specific show or move among several reality shows. Pratt reports that Avid eliminates the time previously spent getting them up to speed on where everything was located. Now, they can get right into the project. "The technology shouldn't be something that takes time or attention away from getting the shows done and Avid NEXIS allows us to do that," states Pratt. "It makes it easier to get into the actual editing and creative work."
Cloud-based storage ensures the integrity of unreleased footage
Pratt also is excited about the potential of Avid NEXIS as the path to cloud-based storage. "Avid NEXIS will allow for expansion into the cloud, and that that's the direction that we need to go as an industry," declares Pratt. "With Avid NEXIS | Cloudspaces and MediaCentral | Editorial Management we will be able to work with talent wherever it is located."
Avid NEXIS also will help protect the integrity of content. "We need to ensure that our media, our information wealth is protected. It’s no longer acceptable to ship media out of house on hard drives or have unencrypted loose information around. Having Avid with its finger on the industry and keeping track of the things we will need has been very helpful," concludes Pratt. "Avid is key to pretty much everything we do."