Case Study – The Cut
ContentAgent Cuts It at The Cut
“There’s not once piece of media that comes through The Cut that does not go via ContentAgent at some point in its life. It’s a rock solid system that provides so much more than you first envisage. The more you use it the more you discover it can do, it’s like the Swiss Army knife of the encoding world.”
A boutique post production facility based in Hoxton Square, The Cut’s busy workload is split between broadcast series, commercials, music videos, multicam concerts and digital content. In just five years, the company’s creative flair and personal touch has found favour with numerous award-winning directors and organisations. The technology employed by The Cut with Avid/Adobe editing and high bandwidth connectivity enables it to adapt swiftly to client requirements, often in fast turnaround situations and, in order to address the new AS-11 UK DPP deliverables standard for broadcast deliverables, the facility has invested in ContentAgent from ROOT6 Technology.
The Cut’s automated deliverables workflow was first used late in 2014 on ‘Friday Night Feast’ Season 2, a Fresh One 6×1 hour production with Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty for Channel 4. Since that time ContentAgent has also been deployed for ‘Sporting Life Stories – Ashley Cole’ for ITV and the second season of ‘Almost Royal’ an 8×30 min comedy series for BBC America. In the latter case, the deliverables were not required to be AS-11 DPP.
In June 2015 The Cut will start work on a number of new series for Channel 4 which will use ContentAgent on end-to-end workflows from ingest to playout. These new projects will be further assisted with the provision of ContentAgent’ Insert Edit function which, according to Senior Editor Jamie Mac,
“Will save a considerable amount of time across the series. There will always be times when last minute changes are required, even after the file has already been created. It’s the nature of the business. By having the ability to Insert Edit that ContentAgent provides is a no brainer. It will save countless hours.”
A key component of the automated deliverables workflow, Vidchecker, integrated with ContentAgent, is used for QC checking and flash pattern testing prior to submission. Rejected files are quarantined and reports and notifications generated automatically. In many cases, Vidchecker is able to auto-correct material.
Although originally purchased for its primary role in broadcast deliverables workflow automation, Mac has found the system to be invaluable in many areas of the facility concluding,
“Essentially there’s not once piece of media that comes through The Cut that does not go via ContentAgent at some point in its life. It’s a rock solid system that provides so much more than you first envisage. The more you use it the more you discover it can do, it’s like the Swiss Army knife of the encoding world.”
Once camera rushes are copied to The Cut’s shared storage, ContentAgent then picks them up from a watch folder and creates two sets of Avid media along with an AAF, one at DNxHD36 for the offline editorial, the other at DNxHD 185X for the online. Each set is copied to a separate partition which makes locating media simple and fast.
For review and approval workflows The Cut exports a self contained QuickTime file from the Avid to a watch folder. ContentAgent picks this up, encodes it along with burnt in timecode (BITC) and/or watermark and uploads to a selected FTP. This makes the process incredibly smooth and efficient.
“In time we’ll look into bypassing the self contained QT route and just have ContentAgent pick up an AAF to create the file as we understand that capability is currently in development,” says Mac.
Additionally The Cut utilises ContentAgent’s DVD authoring and creation tools for generating viewing copies and relies entirely on the system for file-based delivery.
“ContentAgent is simple to use and the support at root6 is awesome,” concludes Mac. “It’s been a wise investment from Day One and will continue to be a part of the expanding company in the near future.”