MAY 6, 2014

Magic Box Edits Rent or Buy 2,000 Miles Away with Avid


In today’s post production world, collaboration across long distances is no longer optional—it’s essential. Magic Box Editorial, a unique hybrid production company and post facility based in Nashville, TN, United States America, recently proved that you don’t have to be located in a major media market to land high-profile projects.

Magic Box recently signed on to handle post-production editing for the HGTV series Rent or Buy, which follows first-time homeowners around the country as they weigh pros and cons for different properties, and decide whether to—as the name suggests—Rent or Buy. By implementing a complete end-to-end Avid workflow operating on the Avid MediaCentral platform, Magic Box gained the powerful, integrated, and collaborative workflows they needed to deliver high-quality, engaging content.


The production studio behind Rent or Buy is located in California—more than 2000 miles from Nashville. Outsourcing the editing to a facility that far away would make many producers nervous, so Mark Mitchell, the president of Magic Box, knew he would only get one chance to do it right.

“We needed a proven, trusted workflow that would allow us to provide the same process that’s used in California,” said Mark Mitchell, president of Magic Box Editorial. “For creating reality TV, Avid is the industry standard.”

ISIS gives us a lot of room to grow.


A powerful media platform

Filming for Rent or Buy takes place in locations all over the country, and the unedited content for each episode is copied onto drives and sent to Magic Box. Since Rent or Buy is a footage-intensive show, it didn’t take long for Magic Box to accumulate a massive amount of media content. Avid Interplay | Production tied all contributors together into one cohesive workflow, providing a powerful platform for collaboration.

“Interplay is always tracking and managing the media, so we can completely forget about those processes,” Mitchell says. “Without Interplay, we wouldn’t be able to benefit from such a massive amount media. Everything works perfectly—we can keep on growing without being held back by the technology.”

We now have a fully-fledged system where students can learn to use iNEWS, Media Composer and Pro Tools | Software in order to create small productions and news bulletins.


There are currently 12 crew members working on Rent or Buy, including five separate editors. The team uses Interplay to tag each section of the show with a different metadata code, allowing the editors to find the footage they need quickly and efficiently. The team can also readily access media from a large pool of assets, including common footage used across different episodes.

“Avid solutions are much easier and more powerful than any other media management method,” explains Mitchell. “It’s like Google for our video—we can customize search modes to make it easy for editors to find different cuts and sequences.”

Room to grow with ISIS

Magic Box implemented an ISIS shared storage system to store, access, and organize their media quickly and effectively. “In our world, we have to be very organized with assets,” Mitchell explains. “ISIS and Interplay | Production provide us with a clear, logical workflow for organizing media.”

In the past, limitations on storage space and accessibility meant that media had to be moved to archived storage much sooner. But as the price of storage goes down, companies like Magic Box are keeping more and more media live, which makes it easier to access content instantaneously. ISIS and Interplay | Production provide them with total flexibility and scalability to handle the massive amounts of media required to create Rent or Buy.

Magic Box is currently using an ISIS 5000 64 TB configuration, but Mitchell says the scalability of ISIS gives him the peace of mind knowing that the system could be easily expanded to accommodate bigger and more complex projects.


“I’ve seen facilities with more than 100 contributors all collaborating using ISIS,” Mitchell says. “ISIS gives us a lot of room to grow. And along the way, we’re enjoying getting the same functionality, workflow, and performance as larger facilities.”

For creating reality TV, Avid is the industry standard.


Reliability is paramount for the team at Magic Box—there simply is no margin for error. Mitchell explains that to gain the trust of producers in California, it’s important for the facility to use industry-standard solutions. “It gives our collaborators peace of mind because they know our Avid workflow is going to hold up,” Mitchell says. “They know our level of quality and reliability will be on par with anything in Los Angeles or New York.”

A complete hub for production

In the future, Mitchell hopes to make Magic Box a complete hub for media production. Since Avid solutions like Media Composer | Cloud have made the editing process geographically independent, he hopes to tap into other markets and use talent everywhere. “I’m really excited about the ability to collaborate with people in far flung places,” Mitchell says. “We’d be able to match up skill sets with particular shows and create the best content for our clients, without having to relocate people. Across the country and around the world, Media Composer is the most ubiquitous editing system there is, and offers us the largest talent base of any system out there.”


The future looks bright for Magic Box, and Mitchell plans on bringing Avid with his company, every step of the way. “As a small business we have to make solid investments in technology that can grow with our company,” Mitchell explains. “Why would we trust our technology to a company that isn’t focused on the needs of professionals? When it comes to video production, Avid is the clear leader.”

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