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Frontline Under Pressure

Avid Symphony and Nerves of Steel Get Late-Breaking Show On the Air, On Time By Steve Bayes
Frontline Under PressureThe events of September 11th have had a ripple effect on many industries, including television. Particularly affected were the crew members of the critically acclaimed PBS documentary program, Frontline, who were already in the middle of producing a series about terrorism that was intended to air throughout the Fall schedule. Following September 11th, Frontline found its programs more timely and in demand than ever before. The reward for being on top of the current issues of the day? Their postproduction schedule was cut in half.

Within days of the attacks, the postproduction crew had redigitized and updated their well-regarded documentary "Hunting Bin Laden," and this 60-minute documentary was run through Frontline's postproduction facility at the Outpost in Boston. Using two Avid Symphony systems, they first re-cut and shortened the original documentary and then added four new interviews, new standups by Bill Moyers, rewritten narration and news footage of the actual attacks. The new version of "Hunting Bin Laden" aired September 13 at 9:00 p.m. EST.

Looking for AnswersLooking for Answers -- Quickly
But that was just the beginning. As U.S. retaliation began, Frontline's third installment in the series, "Looking for Answers", became the center of attention at PBS. The documentary features Frontline Correspondent Lowell Bergman (the "60 Minutes" producer featured in the film "The Insider") traveling around the world exploring the origins of the Islamic extremist movement that is considered responsible for the September 11th tragedy and other terrorist attacks. Bergman and his crew traveled to London, Egypt and many other countries, capturing footage in a variety of formats (Digibeta, Betacam, DV in both PAL and NTSC). During the offline postproduction process, a diverse range of stock footage was gathered and incorporated, ranging from 1970s President Carter era to 1990s Desert Storm to today's Arabic news coverage.

"Looking for Answers" was originally scheduled to air Thursday, October 11th, at 9 p.m., but, when air strikes began on Sunday the 9th, it was pushed up two days to Tuesday at 9 p.m., creating an incredible time crunch for the postproduction team. Luckily for PBS, the Frontline team was able to respond to the pressure with the right people and the right equipment. Production Manager Tim Mangini was counting on Avid Symphony's full feature set and state-of-the-art color correction capabilities to solve his quick turnaround post headaches.

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Related Keywords:Digital Video Editing, Avid, Frontline, Symphony, Hunting Bin Laden, looking for answers, editing, Under Pressure, terrorism, PBS documentary, September 11th

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