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ContentAgent transcodes 81,000 clips for YouTube feature doc

4,500 hours of video, 60+ formats, 1 transcode platform (April 12, 2011)
DMN Newswire--2011-4-12--
'Life in a Day' derived from 81,000 clips, 4,500 hours of video, 60+ formats, and ContentAgent; 1 transcoding platform.

NAB, Las Vegas, April 11...UK based ROOT6 Technology demonstrated the workflow for 'Life in a Day,' the feature documentary charting the story of life on our planet as seen by aspiring filmmakers on July 24th 2010. ContentAgent was the transcoding and file management system of choice for the project derived from a daunting 81,000 clips in 4.500 hours of video submitted in every conceivable format. 
Oscar winning director Kevin Macdonald and the team at Scott Free UK in London freely admit they'd underestimated the response by a considerable margin. It started as an experiment. But, as Macdonald recounted at the film's premiere at Sundance in January, "When we started to realise the film worked, we stopped calling it an experiment."
Once the submissions were in and editorial started, the size of the task became apparent. Original footage began to arrive in more than 60 different formats and frame rates from DV to HDV, H.264, DSLR and webcams.

It was obviously apparent that an efficient transcoding platform was required to convert the material into the Avid-based editing format at 24 fps for film, but more importantly, the transcode platform had to accommodate the significant amounts of metadata in order that the production could keep track of its material. All this against an incredibly tight deadline as the finished film was due to premiere in a mere five months.

Enter root6. The London UK based technology supplier with ContentAgent, its own transcoding solution. Working with Scott Free UK's editorial team, a workflow was devised using a CatDV logging and management system to identify and locate material by adding more than 80 metadata fields to each available clip. Clips were then imported, some 3-400 at a time, into two ContentAgent systems along with the corresponding metadata using ContentAgent's XML scripting facility.

The ContentAgents were connected to Scott Free's Avid Unity shared storage network via Fibre Channel, encoding to Avid DNxHD MXF format at 24fps, and inserting the production's metadata using the ContentAgent's internal Platinum Engine. Editing in a shared storage environment could now begin. 
'Life in a Day' Film Editor Joe Walker said, "ContentAgent helped us achieve an offline edit in a efficient way that would not have been possible working with other methods, given the time constraints of the job. We had five and a bit months from the shooting day to a finished film, of which three months were absorbed in viewing and post work.  After logging 4,500 hours of original material in a different system, ContentAgent allowed us to bring in to Avid Unity 300 hours of the best stuff. This material had been generated by hundreds of different digital sources and with a blizzard of technical challenges of their own: every variety of codec and over 60 different frames rates. I didn't even realise there were 60 different frame rates. These all had to be unified into a single frame rate and Avid resolution with synched sound that allowed us to work in an offline capacity. While the software was not involved in the final conform of the film, where frame-blending issues were addressed, we could not have got there without it."
'Life in a Day' premiered at Sundance in January and was simultaneously broadcast on Youtube. The film is being released by National Geographic, one year ahead of the initial shooting, on July 24 2011.

Further information:
Owen Walker Dave Watson
Head of Product Management DWA
Tel +44 (0)20 7437 6052 Tel +44 (0)7710 416074

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Related Keywords:ROOT6, ContentAgent


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