FEBRUARY 27, 2023

Post-Production for Reality TV Scales Up at WTFN


Post-production for reality TV is happening on a massive scale down under. WTFN, a leading production company based in Melbourne, Australia, is known for its popular, award-winning reality series “Paramedics,” “Emergency,” and “Police Strike Force,” among others. Produced and distributed for television networks in multiple countries, these intense, fast-paced reality shows are difficult to film and even more challenging to edit.

“Paramedics” is a gripping series that follows the life-or-death activities of Australian ambulance crews. The show utilizes 16 to 22 cameras pre-rigged in ambulances, on paramedics, in helicopters, motorcycles, and drones, filming 24/7 with a rotating crew over an eight-month period. Managing the sheer amount of footage to review and edit under tight deadlines can be as harrowing as the show itself. And that’s just one WTFN series. The others are just as demanding.

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WTFN’s shows require reliable, secure, flexible, and highly efficient post-production workflows to handle the huge volume of material. To help manage the prodigious task of editing each episode, WTFN relies on Avid. In the latest installment of the “Avid Tech Talk” podcast series, WTFN Technical Director Robert Pitman talks about the process for posting “Paramedics” and other shows with Avid Senior Director of Partners and Alliances Ray Thompson.

Pitman points out that WTFN’s use of Avid NEXIS real-time shared storage, Avid Media Composer nonlinear editing systems and the MediaCentral workflow management platform is essential to the success of its shows. He highlights the flexibility and efficiency of Avid NEXIS storage as a foundational part of the company’s post-production-for-reality-TV pipeline. “The time that post producers need to craft the stories they want to tell, to see that vision forward, and then discover things that nobody had seen until they looked at the material is key,” says Pitman. “Avid NEXIS gives them that ability.”

Avid NEXIS allows WTFN’s editors to easily search, find, and review footage. Through notes provided from the field, the editors begin to assemble the different pieces of the story primarily in Media Composer, and other times in MediaCentral. The show is then conformed online in Avid NEXIS storage. DaVinci Resolve is used to ensure that all codecs, frame rates, and conversions are on the mark.

“We see every show from beginning to end, all the way through to selling it to various regions, so we have to be prepared to deal with it at all stages, even in terms of versioning for other countries,” says Pitman. WTFN’s Avid solutions, along with the support the company receives from Avid, provide the team with the confidence that each and every show will be delivered on time and at the highest possible quality.

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