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ALL3MEDIA - Undercover Boss

ALL3MEDIA gets real with EditShare

Known for producing hit reality television programs such as “Undercover Boss” (CBS) and “The Pitch” (AMC), ALL3MEDIA AMERICA, a joint venture owned by Discovery Communications and Liberty Global, has been growing its production roster as well as its post facility at a rapid pace. In a climate where many facilities are downsizing, ALL3MEDIA America Post has gone from 25 to 90-plus editors and story producers, all while maintaining an enviable work environment for its team.

“ALL3MEDIA America is a progressive company that likes the idea of having all aspects of post in-house,” comments Eric Towler, Director of Post Production. “The full service post offering drives face-to-face collaboration across team members, which creates a different type of energy…a spark. And for the younger post PAs who have come to gain experience, there is always something new to learn that makes them stronger as they get the whole picture.”

Eric and his colleague Jonathan Parkman, Senior VP of Post at ALL3MEDIA America, have an open door policy that ensures the large pool of editors are productive and happy. “You often hear people say…I just love the feeling here…and many emphasize that they look forward to working on the next project. This has helped us tremendously in keeping up with the increasing number of projects,” adds Eric.

The All3MEDIA group is comprised of 19 production and distribution companies from across the UK, Europe, New Zealand and USA. Eric explains further, “ALL3MEDIA America has a fairly unique model. We don’t necessarily absorb the production company to the point they disappear within the machine. We work with all the entities as if they are part of ALL3, but they remain independent in terms of working on and developing their own ideas, which really gives them the autonomy they need to be creative. They are not hindered by the policies of a larger company during that critical concept phase, yet have the safety net of the ALL3MEDIA America infrastructure and can utilize the resources and the structure they would not typically enjoy in order to get their ideas out in front of the decision makers.”

To better manage the growing business, ALL3MEDIA America recently built out over 52,000 square feet to accommodate its post production infrastructure, which now includes 50-plus rotating Avid Media Composer edit suites, and up to 120 story producer Avid workstations, connected to a massive 220+ TB EditShare XStream system with 10gb connections. EditShare serves as the facility’s main content repository, providing advanced project and media sharing capabilities for editors and story producers.

“Every edit room and story producer is connected to the EditShare. It’s a key component in developing the storyline for these shows, which can often have near real-time turnaround times, like we did with the ‘True Tori’ series,” explains Towler. “Our story producers can work from media directly on the EditShare and quickly find the shots they want in order to use the project sharing capabilities, which allows them to work with editors individually to develop the show’s storyline.”

EditShare project sharing allows workgroups like the ones at ALL3MEDIA America to collaborate on projects by providing shared access to Avid project files. “For the story producer, this is crucial. Because they have access to edit their entire team’s projects, they can look at all the various show segments in progress and give solid direction to ensure the show has a cohesive feel.”

In addition to outputting a long list of the market’s top reality TV shows, ALL3MEDIA America Post is responsible for building in-house production companies’ sizzle reels. Over the past year, this has represented approximately 65% of ALL3MEDIA Post’s efforts, which has dramatically increased the number of projects they output. “ALL3 is amazing at bringing in talented, communicative, and all-around great people. Our operating companies like Studio Lambert, Zoo, Maverick TV, North One Television, Objective Productions, Lime Pictures – which are here under this roof – are really going gangbusters right now. A lot of pitching, a lot of sizzle reels, a lot of one-off things to sell, and there’s a lot of traction with many projects that could be green-lit at any moment…multiple projects from multiple smaller companies could go live all at once.”

The exploding business is supported by the rock solid infrastructure and collaborative workflow afforded by EditShare XStream. “The first question we ask the production teams is – what do you want to shoot on? We then discuss the relative merits of potential workflows and explain from field to EditShare how it all has to flow.”

At All3MEDIA America, post is part of the production discussion...especially before any shooting begins. And for sizzle reels, this is especially important. With shoots lasting only a few short days, ALL3MEDIA America Post has pushed out many dozens of sizzle reels in the past year.

Efficiency on every level is key to keeping the organization running smoothly, and at the heart of managing this content is the EditShare XStream storage system. “One of our in-house production companies just shot a sizzle reel that got back early this morning. They shot for a week, and because they were in remote locations and couldn’t send us footage ahead of time – it’s all being delivered today – we’ve got to get that in quickly as there is an expectation to turn it around fast. It’s a constant flow of media; thankfully, we have enough EditShare storage to not only hold the content, but to actually logically organize it.”

With so much content and many different projects in motion, ALL3MEDIA America expanded its EditShare XStream installation to include additional storage as well as high-speed 15,000 RPM SAS drives, providing even more horsepower for “real-time” projects with the most demanding turnaround times.

“With the amount of projects we are managing, we’ve had to make some pretty major adjustments. Originally, we configured the system to support 25 video edit seats and 10 or so story producer stations. However, we quickly scaled to more than 90 users. And I’ve got to say this about EditShare, we were getting along pretty much unscathed with 90-plus users going on a system that was actually spec’d out to support 35. That is pretty impressive.”

The non-stop environment keeps the EditShare working around the clock, and the future looks no different. ALL3MEDIA America has started working on documentaries, features, scripted dramas and comedies in addition to the main staple of reality TV. Eric explains, “We are expanding but our bread and butter is still reality TV. ‘Undercover Boss’ keeps going, and that’s a huge global show, so we’re all thankful for that. With that said, we have just completed our first documentary feature which premiered in NYC. It was quickly acquired by IFC, with the remake rights going to Sony Pictures. It goes that fast. Luckily, we have the infrastructure to keep pace.”

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