LIBRARY: Tutorials Reviews Interviews Editorials Features Business Authors RSS Feed

Wiring “Conan”

CreativeCOW presents Wiring “Conan” -- Art of the Edit Feature

The studio taping of "Conan" starts at 4:30 Pacific, and runs in real time. It ends at 5:30, and we have to have everything in Atlanta by 8 PM Pacific time, 11 PM Eastern, when the show starts to air.

Act One can run anywhere from 10 minutes to as much as 18, and is the only one I get to actually watch. I listen to the director, the AD and the tape AD to see if there any camera fixes that need to happen, or note if there are any words that need to bleeped. After that comes a two to three minute break that commercials will fit into when it airs, and the time when I get to work. My goal is to have the edit notes for Act One completed by the time Act Two finishes on stage.

The nine stage cameras are run through a 180x256 Trinix NXT router into the production trailer, and ingested to the Grass Valley K2 Summit server. The system can record six 3D cameras, or four matte/fill pairs, but, using ChannelFlex, we're taking in 12 single-channel feeds. That includes ISOs of cameras 1-9 from the stage, a line cut from the switcher, a program backup, and a recording of the nine-way screen split so that we can see all the cameras at once as reference during the edit. We have 6 ingest crates that allow for the 12 feeds.

As backup, we're recording the program feed of the studio into Edit 2, 3 and 4, leaving Edit 1 available to me to start editing right away. Those program feeds are recorded at DVCPRO HD 1080i/60 at 29.97fps through AJA Kona 3 cards with AJA's VTR Exchange software, to 2TB CalDigit VR drives.

Our third-level backup is nine XDCAMs rolling all the ISOs and the primary line cut in Ingest. The full-resolution files are recorded to Grass Valley's native format, and we work with QuickTime reference movies: 8 tracks of audio, a time code track, an XML file, and a thumbnail, all contained in a folder. File structure on our 80TB K2 SAN can become folder-intensive, so Grass Valley created software called GVConnect, which they developed with Apple. It's basically a Final Cut Pro plug-in that we launch from the Tools menu, or from custom keyboard shortcuts that we've mapped. We then use the K2 Dyno system to control the ingesters and to start managing the media.

I have a template that I've made for the show composite, which already has a timeline that's striped with one-hour drop frame time code, color bars and tone, and a slate with our stage 15 logo on it. When I'm ready to edit in Final Cut Pro, I select the bin I want clips to fall into, and use the GVConnect software to navigate to the clips I'll need.

One of the cool things about the Grass Valley system is that we can edit with growing files. We have access to those clips just ten to fifteen seconds after they have started rolling onto the SAN. We simply do a refresh, and media is added accordingly.


text
GV Connect operating inside Final Cut Pro.



Above is a screen capture of Aurora Browser. The crew uses this software to generate proxies of the individual acts of the show for segment producers to screen before making edits. They use the line cut backup or program backup to generate the proxies, so the file for the primary program act isn't being used for anything other than the show composite. This application was another reason CONAN went with the Grass Valley system, as they didn't need to record anywhere but the SAN, and could still have screening proxies available.
Above is a screen capture of Aurora Browser. The crew uses this software to generate proxies of the individual acts of the show for segment producers to screen before making edits. They use the line cut backup or program backup to generate the proxies, so the file for the primary program act isn't being used for anything other than the show composite. This application was another reason CONAN went with the Grass Valley system, as they didn't need to record anywhere but the SAN, and could still have screening proxies available.


PREP FOR PLAYBACK

To start putting it all together, we export a QT Reference movie of the finished Act, hide Final Cut, open-up Quick- Time 7, and save that QuickTime reference movie as a selfcontained QuickTime movie into the Export QC folder on the SAN.

Actually, it's just a QC folder in name only. It's blind to the playback operator until we want them to get it. We'll check before we send it to make sure that all of our effects transferred to the final QuickTime, all the bad words got bleeped, and so on. Once we're satisfied, then we make a copy of that and put it into a hot bin that is being watched by the playback operator's K2 Summit server. The file gets FTPed to his standalone unit, so that he can begin to play it through to TBS in Atlanta.

The steps are: we deliver Act One to the folder. Once it's been copied, we call the playback operator to let him know that it's there. He grabs it. Seconds later, he's calling us back, "Okay, Act One is ready to be played out."


Dan Dome in post
Dan Dome in post.


Meanwhile, our AD is on two separate phone lines, one back to me in Edit One, and one to Atlanta. Once they're ready, Atlanta confirms that they're at speed, and the playback operator starts rolling Act One from his standalone system. Atlanta confirms audio, video, and lip-sync. Since the playout to Atlanta is from the operator's standalone system, we keep working off the SAN without worrying about his bandwidth. Soon after Atlanta receives Act One, we're ready to send through Act Two, and so on. It's only two and a half hours from the time the show ends on our stage to when the show airs.

Knock on wood -- the workflow has been solid.


 


 

Dan Dome, Creative COW Magazine

Dan Dome
Los Angeles, California USA


Dan started in television in 1994 as a tape operator in New York, moving under his father Art's guidance from linear editor to supervisor, and into nonlinear editing. After helping shows like Late Night with Conan O'Brien and Saturday Night Live move to HD workflows, Dan moved to California to become lead editor for The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, before coming to work on "Conan" at TBS. Once there, Dan designed the post facility with Project Integration Manager David Crivelli.


Photos of control room and Dan Dome editing by Christopher P. Heller. Photo of Grass Valley K2 SAN by Dan Dome.









Related Articles / Tutorials:
Art of the Edit
Editing Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons & Dragons

Editing Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons & Dragons

Kelley Slagle began her career in entertainment as an actor, so it’s not surprising the communal storytelling of Dungeons and Dragons caught her eye. She both edited and co-directed the prizewinning documentary "The Eye of the Beholder: The Art of Dungeons & Dragons", speaking to overe 40 artists across the 45-year span of the game's history. Creative COW Managing Editor Kylee Peña spoke to Kelley about the challenge of managing that much material into a 90-minute film, balancing indie filmmaking with the demands of a day job in video production, and the power of art to sustain a community.

Feature, People / Interview
Kylee Peña
Art of the Edit
Editing The Emmy Award-Winning Phenomenon, Wild Wild Country

Editing The Emmy Award-Winning Phenomenon, Wild Wild Country

Wild Wild Country premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to great acclaim, and when it hit Netflix a few months later, it quickly became a phenomenon, going on to win the Emmy for Outstanding Documentary of Nonfiction Series and netting editor Neil Meiklejohn an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming. Creative COW's Matt Latham spoke with Neil about managing a project of this scope, treating the eight parts as a single film rather than episodes, his use of Adobe Premiere Pro, workflows with visual effects and music, and much more, including career advice for aspiring editors.

Feature, People / Interview
Matt Latham
Art of the Edit
What It Takes to Edit Big TV Shows: This Guy Edits

What It Takes to Edit Big TV Shows: This Guy Edits

Sven Pape of "This Guy Edits" joins TV editor Josh Beal (House of Cards, Bloodline) for a close-up look at editing Season 2 of Counterpart, the Starz series starring JK Simmons in a dual role -- which is only the start of the challenges presented by this high-energy sci-fi thriller. Josh dives deep into storytelling techniques, workflow, teamwork, organization, and even offers some insights for people wondering how to get started as TV editors themselves.

Tutorial
Sven Pape
Art of the Edit
Writer-Director Vidhya Iyer: Parents, Children, & Brown Love

Writer-Director Vidhya Iyer: Parents, Children, & Brown Love

Writer-director Vidhya Iyer is an Indian-Nigerian-American filmmaker, improv comic, AFI graduate, and CAPE (Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment) New Writers Fellow. Work on award-winning shorts has led to a comedy pilot called "PG 30" about authenticity, adult children learning to become honest with their parents, and the unique "brown love" between immigrant parents and their children. Creative COW Contributing Editor Clarence Deng explores all this and more, including the empowering community that grows up among filmmakers who are helping each other tell their truest stories.

Feature, People / Interview
Clarence Deng
Art of the Edit
The Top 5 Most Common Problems with Student Films

The Top 5 Most Common Problems with Student Films

What are the biggest mistakes of most student films? This "Science of Editing" episode may just have the answer. Join "This Guy Edits" Sven Pape and Macquarie University lecturer Dr. Karen Pearlman, author of "Cutting Rhythms: Intuitive Film Editing" and former President of the Australian Screen Editors Guild for a look at specific things to avoid to make your films your best.

Tutorial
Sven Pape
Art of the Edit
Editing Marvel's Black Panther: Debbie Berman ACE

Editing Marvel's Black Panther: Debbie Berman ACE

This is an epic tale spanning two decades, three countries, 12,000 miles -- and that's just the story of Debbie Berman, ACE, starting in reality TV and indie film in South Africa, making her way to Canada and then the US to edit Marvel's Spider-man: Homecoming and, most recently, Black Panther, already one of the most popular films of all time. In this exclusive interview with Creative COW Managing Editor Kylee Peña, Debbie talks about struggling toward US citizenship, a serendipitous meeting with an ambitious young director, helping to bring representation to the big screen and pride to her home country.

People / Interview
Kylee Peña
Art of the Edit
What Picasso Can Teach Us About Filmmaking

What Picasso Can Teach Us About Filmmaking

Feature film editor Sven Pape takes a unique, entertaining look at Pablo Picasso's approach to art, and offers specific examples from a variety of movies, as well as Picasso's own advice. As Sven puts it, success requires action. Make a film. Fail. Then fail harder. Of course, Picasso and Sven have great advice for succeeding too! You'll get a kick out of this one.

Tutorial, Feature
Sven Pape
Art of the Edit
Searching: Creating Cinematic Drama From Small Screen Trauma

Searching: Creating Cinematic Drama From Small Screen Trauma

The thriller "Searching" takes place on computer screens, but no screen captures were made. Instead, the team built the individual elements in Adobe Illustrator, animated in Adobe After Effects, and edited those elements together with live action footage in Adobe Premiere Pro. Creative COW Managing Editor Kylee Peña spoke to editors Nick Johnson and Will Merrick about the extraordinary lengths they went to to create this exceptionally compelling big screen drama from the family crisis being played out on small screens before us.


Kylee Peña
Art of the Edit
Cate Haight ACE on Editing The Sundance Hit Indie, Puzzle

Cate Haight ACE on Editing The Sundance Hit Indie, Puzzle

Cate Haight, ACE, has edited some of the most memorable films and television shows in the last few years. Her latest indie feature Puzzle -- which tells the story of a suburban mom who discovers a passion for competitive jigsaw puzzling -- debuted at Sundance Film Festival this year. Creative COW Contributing Editor Alee Caldwell sat down with Cate to talk about going to the fest, advocating for change, and putting together the pieces of Puzzle.

People / Interview
Alee Caldwell
Art of the Edit
Always Be Editing: Sculptors & Bricklayers Revisited

Always Be Editing: Sculptors & Bricklayers Revisited

Do you edit like a sculptor, or like a bricklayer? It seems a simple enough question, but as longtime editor, post house owner, and VFX software developer Simon Ubsdell shows, the implications for how this affects the way you edit can be profound. His advice, regardless of where you land on the spectrum? Always be editing.


Simon Ubsdell
MORE
© 2019 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]