The post-production team for the Canadian family drama series Backstage is again relying Facilis TerraBlock for their collaborative editorial workflow for its second season. Ellen Fine, CCE (Canada Cinema Editor) is the supervising editor and consulting producer on Backstage. The series is produced by Fresh TV and distributed by DHX. It currently airs on the Family Channel in Canada and on the Disney Channel in the US and worldwide.
The offline edit is cut on Avid Media Composers by a team of three editors who share two assistants at Technicolor’s Toronto facility. For the first season, the team started out using only local storage. With some arm-twisting, the producers were convinced to allocate funds so that Ms. Fine’s team could better collaborate and share media.
The group called Don Kinzinger from Dynamix, a systems reseller and integrator in Ontario, to help them find the right system for their needs. Choices quickly narrowed down to Avid ISIS or Facilis Terrablock. In the end, a 16TB TerraBlock 8D system best fit the budget and gave the team the flexibility they wanted while minimizing restrictions on Apple OS and Media Composer version compatibility issues with the storage.
The TerraBlock 8D was connected to a 10Gb Ethernet switch and from that point 1Gb Ethernet lines were connected to five Mac Pro workstations. Having central media access for the editorial team provided a great leap forward in efficiency and collaboration.
“We wanted a system that gave us the freedom to be on whatever Mac OS we were comfortable with, running any version of Media Composer that we felt was stable without any worries about compatibility with the storage,” said Fine.
When the show was picked up for a second season, Fine knew that the producers would want to occasionally incorporate footage from season one which meant it had to be online and accessible. Since this required more storage, the team called on Dynamix again this time purchasing a 32TB TerraBlock 8D. The new storage was added to the same Ethernet switch so that everyone could access both servers.
Following the same hectic schedule as season one, for season two the crew shot 30 episodes over the summer. Since the location is an actual school, they had a very limited amount of time to film. There were two complete units shooting simultaneously.
“It’s quite unique, we’re block-shooting, so our actors, who are aged 14 to 17, are filming four episodes over four days. The actors have to memorize 4 entire episodes and jump back and forth between them,” said Fine. “They’re phenomenal dancers and musicians as well. It was very impressive.”
The show is filmed with the Arri Amira camera with dailies processed and synced at Technicolor. Fine and her team receive Avid DNxHD 36 files from the Technicolor team, which are transferred to the Facilis system, ready to edit. After the dailies are delivered, Fine and her team have 5 or 6 days to assemble an episode. Then they move onto the director’s cut, the producer’s cut, and finally the broadcaster’s cut before they lock. This year, they started in July, and typically finish in eight or nine months.
“The great thing about our Facilis system is that we don’t need to think about it. It’s just rock solid and always there,” said Fine. “We organize everything very meticulously by episode in folders and bins. We store our music in a separate volume. It’s very efficient and just what we need to meet our deadlines.”
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