Graham was one of the founding members of root6, and is now our M&E Operations Director for the Jigsaw24 family, taking care of system builds and ensuring our support teams keep up their usual excellent standards of service. Before that, he worked as an editor, and subsequently as a product specialist at Avid, where he helped major features make the move to non-linear. He currently focuses on asset management, media systems and collaborative workflows.
“The reality is that editing is quite a technical creative environment, and I quickly learned that if you understand the technical side it really frees you as an editor. At the facility where I worked, we were working commercials and short films, and I was in charge of managing the technical side of things. From there, I joined Avid as a trainer and product specialist for Media Composer.”
The franchise king
“I did a lot of work developing non-linear workflows for feature films in the late 90s and 2000s – three Bond films, the Bourne series, Tomb Raider and many more. As Avid developed their collaborative environments and Interplay PAM and MAM systems, I gravitated toward that and worked quite closely with Avid on their Interplay system, but also on other collaborative platforms and environments. Workflow has always been a speciality of mine, well before they actually called it that.”
The democratisation of post
“What’s happened in the last ten years is that the post-production landscape has become pretty fundamentally democratised. 4K, 8K post with high end, realtime grading systems is still something that the larger players do and do very well, and there’s still a place for those larger players, because you need a certain amount of investment in networking and storage to do that kind of work. But equally, our industry is changing at a phenomenal rate, as virtualisation gives smaller facilities the ability to have a larger footprint than their physical premises would indicate. Remote workflows definitely give people that edge, and companies that are more flexible and agile in the way they approach these things are definitely going to benefit in the longer term.”
The Betamax problem
“It seems like virtualisation, remote editing, video over IP and HDR are all tracks or streams of technology that are coming of age now, and which will be with us for some time moving forward. It can be daunting to believe in it, because we see companies who are licking their wounds from investing in stereo 3D, but we don’t see any evidence for a drop-off like that. The main problem is that it’s still a bit of a wild west – HDR and video over IP still have a lot of competing standards, and then there is VR, which has very few at all. The more mature technologies are mostl standards-driven, so not having them ratified holds people back because, quite sensibly, they don’t want to invest until it’s settled down.”
Ambition v reality
“I’ve been working with virtual systems for around 12 years, and the areas that are interesting to me at the moment are virtualising production and post assets, remote editing, and managed services for our customers. All three are areas where we see people being able to innovate, but we are seeing challenges around really basic things – for example, some areas of the UK have really poor connectivity, so if you have a production in one of those areas you’re going to be frustrated.
“But I think the biggest challenge we have is negotiating the current IT infrastructure at customers’ sites and gently charting a course between what the IT department want to do and what production want to do. Our job it to find the sweet spot where you’re complying, quite rightly, with what IT are concerned about, but equally allowing the production to get on and people to do their jobs. And all parties have legitimate concerns and ambitions, but our job is setting reality between the two of them.”