Meet the experts: David Skeggs

Meet the experts: David Skeggs

A former editor, support engineer and technical manager, David Skeggs has been our Project and Pre-Sales Specialist for over ten years, helping customers on multiple continents get a handle on the latest advances in production workflows. 

I’m an engineer, get me out of here

“When I first started in the industry, I was an editor. I worked at ITV’s London studios, where they did all the post for their mainstream entertainment shows. I worked on the first ever series of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, and V Graham Norton, back when he went out five nights a week on Channel 4. It was at ITV that I got more involved in the technical side of things, eventually becoming a support engineer at their main Avid facility. After that, I worked at the MTV facility in Camden as a post-production engineer before coming to root6 and now Jigsaw24.”

Mr Fixit

“In the early days at root6, we did a lot of work on best of breed facilities in the Middle East, so I spent a lot of time on the ground there as the primary contact for those builds. I also do a fair amount of travelling round the world helping our production customers with their live capture workflows at sports events, particularly whenever there’s a big format shift, like the transition to tapeless or the current move to UHD. We’re used to working with 4K because we’ve spent years enabling DI workflows for our film post customers, so we’ve got a bit of a head start there.”

The pacemaker

“Nowadays I’m more involved in workflow design, and helping customers bolt the right products together. We’re seeing fewer and fewer ‘one size fits all’ solutions these days, and it’s important to know which products from which manufacturers are best of breed. We use that knowledge to help our customers find the best solution for them, even if it has to be at a certain price point. With the pace of change being so fast now, it’s important that facilities have someone to talk to who can speculate on where the industry’s going, and the growth and expansion they’ll get out of certain products.”

Head in the cloud

“Jigsaw24 have been helping customers in other industries migrate to datacentres for years, but for our customers in the media industry it’s very new, and poses a different set of challenges. The size of UHD and 4K media means you need to have a high bandwidth connection to high availability storage if you want to play back media instantly – people don’t mind waiting a couple of seconds for a spreadsheet to load, but you can’t edit like that. We’ve been working to help people who want to get out of Soho – where it’s cramped and expensive and the power’s bad – to move their machine room to a datacentre which they can then remote into.”

Jigsaw24’s Dark Side

“We’ve been working with a few different networking companies over the past couple of years to deliver Dark Fibre networks circuits. We’ve got a link-up of our own between our datacentre, our Wardour Mews office and our demo facility in Soho, because we want to be able to show people we practise what we preach, and because having actually done it and learned certain lessons the hard way, we can give customers much more practical advice than if we were speaking speculatively.”

Want to know more about how we can help production and post facilities? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

View from the front: Televisual Creative’s Future of Post forum

View from the front: Televisual Creative’s Future of Post forum

If you needed a sign that the times are indeed a-changing, look no further than Televisual Creative’s Future of Post forum. The event, in which leading lights of the post community came together to puzzle out the challenges and opportunities posed by HDR workflows and IP connectivity/remote working, drew CTOs and technical leads from over 50 of Britain’s top post houses, eager for insight into these two scorchingly hot topics. 

We were official sponsors of the event (along with Avid, Quantum, Rohde & Schwarz and AJA) so our team were out in force, with M&E Operations Director Graham McGuinness and M&E Sales Director Rupert Watson chairing the connectivity and HDR panels respectively, and Jigsaw24 engineer Phil Crawley took to the stage to interview Dolby’s Ian Lowe about the unique remote workflow employed at the Dolby Theatre (which also hosted the event).

For those of you who missed it (or even those of you who want to relive the heady thrill of hearing about double utilisation), here’s a quick recap of what happened.

Dolby Vision

The IP/connectivity session kicked off with Televisual’s James Bennett interviewing Jigsaw24 engineer Phil Crawley and Dolby’s Ian Lowe about their unique remote access workflow, in which colourists in the Dolby Theatre remotely access the workstations and data back at their facility via a GUI. This gives them access to the theatre’s uniquely powerful display capabilities and acoustics for their grading and mastering, while ensuring that they obey strict data security requirements.

In order to achieve a system that had no compression, no latency, the ability to handle all flavours of 4K and HDR and the ability to support remote control of end points, Dolby are using quad-link 3G SDI carried over fibre provided by us and euNetworks, and, through a combination of dark fibre and optical multiplexers they’re confident they can maintain the bandwidth needed to handle uncompressed, no-latency 4K HDR footage – without any of the artefacts that they saw using other solutions – in their Theatre and Home grading environments.

They’re already linked to three of London’s top post houses, and have used the remote grading systems on films including Fantastic Beasts and Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

The key to remote working

Following on from Dolby’s unique workflow, we joined Daniel Napier, Technical Director of Halo Post, Avid’s Territory Sales Manager Patrick Nelson, Dolby’s Senior Sales Manager Ian Lowe and Oliver Pennington, Head of Engineering at global fibre providers Sohonet for a panel discussion of the current state of play when it came to remote workflows.

Avid are looking to strengthen their support for remote workflows within Interplay, while Dolby are looking to extend access to their facilities and Daniel Napier and the team at Halo have managed to centralise the machine rooms of all their facilities, so that artists can remote in from any location. As a side effect of this Halo have seen first hand one of the most widely discussed benefits of remote working: every suite in their facility can now be multi-purpose, as artists are no longer dependant on specific rooms to do their work, and they can also double utilisation of any given space by having one user working in the room while someone else accesses the same resources virtually.

Key technology recommended by the panel included dark and CWDM fibre (the cost of which is falling), the importance of Teradici when it came to standardising KVM over IP (we’d suggest you look at our preferred solution, Amulet Hotkey, which uses the Teradici’s Tera2 chip set), and the variety of methods, many of them developed in-house, that people had come up with for remotely accessing and logging footage.

HDR in post

After another barnstorming James Bennett interview (this time with Molinare CTO Richard Wilding), our Sales Director Rupert Watson hosted the standing-room-only HDR Post panel, which featured Wilding, Technicolor London’s Head of Technology Phil Oatley, and product specialists representing AJA, Atomos and Quantum, as they discussed the HDR workflow early adopters like Molinare are using, and the technology that helps them handle the sheer volume of data created.

Richard revealed that Molinare are now working with files that are up to 36 times the size of those you’d see in a traditional HD workflow – existing infrastructure is struggling to cope, and moving assets around is a constant challenge. There’s also a very real technology lag between the solutions available for grading film, and the solutions for delivering subtitles and captions, which are still tweaked by eye.

Also emphasised was the importance of working closely with production crews, who are also dealing with new standards – just as platforms have very different, specific mastering guidelines, their kit lists leave out key cameras and monitors, meaning many crews are developing their HDR workflow with unfamiliar kit.

Demo time!

Also out in force to feed people’s palatable appetite for new knowledge about HDR were Atomos, who shot the below video at the event. They brought along their SUMO HDR monitors, paired up with a Canon C300 Mk II and ready to test (sadly the footage in the video is filtered through YouTube, but believe that it was beautiful on the day).

Want to know more?

If you’re interested in more talks like this, take a look at our upcoming events or sign up for our newsletter so we can keep you up to date with new events as they’re announced. For more information, get in touch with our team on the details below.

If you want to know more, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter, or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.