When it comes to video games, Vancouver-based Greedy Productions is ahead of the curve. Greedy founder Victor Lucas is a guru of video gaming. A new multi-year contract with Canada’s Rogers TV has catapulted Lucas’s weekly TV program “The Electric Playground” which serves up industry news and game reviews into to a daily, half-hour entertainment slot. Called “EP Daily”, the shows are also streamed on www.g4techtv.ca and are archived at Greedy’s game website www.elecplay.com.
The show’s elevation to daily status meant Greedy’s workload would increase dramatically. In addition to “EP Daily,” Greedy produces 70 episodes each year of the “Reviews on the Run” as well as documentaries about the making of video games like “Lego Batman” and “Metal Gear Solid 4″. Aaron Mooney, post production supervisor for Greedy, knew that he would have to rethink the entire workflow to keep pace with the new demands.
“We would bring additional staff onboard, but we needed a smarter, smoother production chain,” says Mooney.
Greedy consulted with value-added reseller Annex Pro to devise a workflow that would maximize efficiency while conserving costs.
“They had already done a lot of critical thinking when they came to us,” says Annex Pro owner Kerry Corlett. “They understood that collaborative workflows and media sharing were important elements for success.”
Greedy replaced its outdated Avid infrastructure with an integrated system based on Apple Final Cut Pro products and an EditShare shared storage solution. In the new workflow, each production team member would have Final Cut Pro operating on Mac Pros along with Final Cut Server which would all connect to a 30 TB EditShare central storage system. EditShare is a NAS-based system of hardware and software that is optimised for video collaboration. The file level sharing capabilities of EditShare allow editors on any connected workstation to capture, access and share in real time from a common pool of media files. EditShare’s Project Sharing capabilities for Avid or Final Cut Pro editors expand collaboration by allowing multiple editors to work from the exact same Project with instant Read Only access to each other’s bins and sequences. From field to finish — offline to uncompressed HD — EditShare storage series solutions are designed to maximize media sharing and storage for multi-user editing environments. Greedy opted for 10 Gigabit connectivity between the EditShare server and an HP ProCurve switch to facilitate the high bandwidth demands of their high resolution content.
Greedy produces “EP Daily” episodes in high definition (HD) with a team of 8 offline editors, 3 online editors, an audio and a graphics specialist and 3 producers. The fast-paced shows mix numerous game clips, trailers, interviews and features with studio inserts.
“We basically have one ingest person who loads everything for everybody—whether it’s game play that he records and uploads, or trailers from vendors. If it’s content from our SONY XDCAMs (HQ mode 1920/1080) coming in from the field,” says Mooney, “they just upload right into the machine via FireWire, a direct data dump into the EditShare, so all the editors have access to the material right away. It’s a real time saver.”
EditShare is the content production hub for Greedy. Staff are all working on different stories at different stages, accessing material from the EditShare. Final Cut Server tracks the progress of show segments.
“An editor is given a story (typically a 3 minute piece) to work on,” explains Mooney. “He works on the segment and checks it into Final Cut Server, tags it for approval by producers who get an email from Final Cut Server notifying them that the piece is ready for approval and they open it up on their machines, accessing it from the EditShare. If producers have any notes, they send it back. If they don’t, they tag it approved and send an email to audio where it’s mixed and I get an email saying it’s ready to go into online. Everything is rendered right back to the EditShare so when I open it up in my online suite, it’s rendered and I see everything. I can change things but they’re pretty much finished segments. The process is very transparent because everybody has access to the EditShare and the final segment can be opened and viewed from any machine on the network.”
Greedy realized tremendous time savings with the EditShare workflow, especially when compared to the old way of doing things.
“Last year, we were batching everything when working with Avid locally— everything had to be reloaded and it took nearly a day to load a show up in full resolution from offline editing,” says Mooney. “Now, everything is full resolution all the time,” Mooney explains. “It’s so much easier to move stuff from one stage to the next. What used to take a day to do is basically done instantly now.”
Greedy also appreciates EditShare’s straight-forward administration tools and the data protection provided by EditShare’s RAID5 configuration. Looking ahead, Greedy expects to expand its reach with reporting units from big video gaming and techno-centric cities, including Montreal, Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo. Greedy is also confident that EditShare can accommodate future growth. EditShare’s Extreme Scalable Architecture (ESA) makes it easy to add storage capacity without major workflow interruptions. Greedy Productions continues to rack up a big score in the video gaming and tech TV market.
EditShare 8RU with 30 TB storage
with 10 Gb copper connection
to HP ProCurve 2900-24G switch
16 x Final Cut Pro editing systems
working with 1 x Final Cut Server
with 1 Gb connections to EditShare
via HP ProCurve 2900-24G switch