JUNE 30, 2015

Pie Town Productions Cooks Up Reality TV with Avid


Since exploding onto screens in the 90s, reality programming has grown to be a popular favorite among TV viewers. But for the production and post-production companies that create them, reality shows bring a number of unique challenges: multiple cameras, high volumes of footage, fast turnaround times and tight budgets. Reality television production company Pie Town Productions knows first-hand about these challenges; concurrently producing 10 series and delivering more than 400 episodes a year.

Based in North Hollywood, CA, Pie Town is known for reality its shows, including House Hunters, House Hunters Renovation, Tiny House Hunters, Joan & Melissa: Joan Knows Best, Flip or Flop, and Say It To My Face—a restaurant-rescue show which requires six cameras and three audio sources, all in various formats.

“Pie Town has been in continuous production since 1996 and we’re able to consistently produce high-quality, high-quantity productions,” says Dana Besnoy, VP of post production at Pie Town. “In 2014, we delivered over 400 episodes and we’re on track to do the same, if not more, in 2015.”

Networks have high expectations, but Avid makes our jobs seamless.


High-volume workflows and tight deadlines

With a growing portfolio of projects and highly technical network deliverables along with video-on-demand (VOD) and iTunes requirements, Pie Town needed a non-linear editing solution that could meet all of their production deadlines and handle their high-volume workflows in any content format. The company decided to embrace Avid Everywhere to help them meet the challenges of today’s reality TV production. By investing in trusted Avid Artist Suite and Storage Suite solutions, powered by the Avid MediaCentral platform, Pie Town has attracted new talent, filling open positions with qualified candidates already familiar with the popular solution suite.

Delivering top-quality projects

Pie Town has deployed the Storage Suite’s Avid ISIS shared-storage system, which facilitates project and media sharing between editors, allowing them to collaborate on content during the production process, and making editorial on larger productions more integrated. With its new workflow in place, Pie Town made the decision to switch to the industry’s preeminent editing solution, Avid Media Composer. “As an Avid Pro Tools facility, we’ve been a long-time Avid customer, and we decided to switch our video editing over to Media Composer in the summer of 2014,” Besnoy says. “With 10 series in production at any time, we're very busy. Now we use Avid products from ingest to output, and the entire post process happens internally, without going to outside facilities. Which helps us save time and money.”

“With the flexibility of ISIS and Avid Media Access linking, we’re able to include more tapeless formats in our productions than previously,” Besnoy says. “ISIS is a great storage area network solution and its dynamic workspace management makes administration very easy. It eliminates the downtime and re-partitioning that’s needed with more antiquated SAN solutions. The ease of sharing projects has made editorial on our bigger productions more cohesive.”

We use Avid products from ingest to output. Which helps us save time and money.


Editing at Pie Town follows a standard offline-to-online workflow. Videos are uprezzed and conformed at DNx145 for the roundtrip to Resolve, at the same time sending an AAF file to Pro Tools. Once color and mix are complete, their final QuickTime and audio stems are merged for master delivery. According to Besnoy, Avid solutions integrate easily with third-party systems, making it easy for them to design workflows, which in turn made it easy to transition to Media Composer.

Increasing the talent pool

Pie Town’s switch to Avid has also opened up its pool of potential hires. “We have great people at Pie Town—they’re the primary force that allows us to adapt to changes in the industry,” Besnoy explains. “Avid being the industry-standard allows us to find a wide array of candidates for any open position. We can easily find assistant editors, story producers and editors who can jump in on any project.”

According to Besnoy, the new workflow at Pie Town helps them keep their clients happy. “Networks have high expectations, but Avid makes our jobs seamless,” she says. “We have a great relationship with Avid and our local support team. We’ve even had the good fortune of working with Avid’s R&D team and software designers and look forward to being an integral part of Avid in the future.”

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