Through my several years working at Avid as a workflow consultant, I have shared experiences with a huge variety of Avid users, from diverse backgrounds, with different goals and ambitions and with varying levels of Avid product knowledge.
To my surprise, one of the questions that I get invariably asked is: "in your experience, how have you helped others (other broadcasters, other production facilities, other users) go about addressing this challenge?" In other words, when it comes to implementing new technology, new products, new ways of working, users want to know how it is done elsewhere, how did we, Avid Consultants, go about working out similar conundrums.
It makes perfect sense that upgrading or changing technology should be taken up as an opportunity to re-evaluate the production processes, the way “things are done around here”, and to humbly re-assess what needs improving and what needs to be preserved in the new world. And this often happens in close collaboration with Avid Professional Services team: our project delivery team, trainers and workflow consultants.
Hence, an unexpected "bonus" that comes with being an Avid Workflow and Training consultant is that we are exposed to all sorts of practical situations both in broadcast and post-production environments. Either for news production, programme-making, high-end editing, material ingest, play out... you name it, we have probably been asked about it! It is a great satisfaction to work together with our users through the technological and workflow challenges that they may find, and agree on and implement a solution that makes everyone (or most!) happy. Not only that, but we know that workflows are organic and they evolve with time and as production needs change, so we are always prepared to review workflows and tweak them if needed.
As more and more users quizzed me about my recommendations based on “how others did it”, I gradually realised that such exposure was of huge value. Most end users do not get the chance to walk into another production or broadcast facility and spend time observing how they work, analysing their workflows and optimising them for efficiency. Avid Workflow consultants do! We gradually collect an invaluable set of tools, tips and tricks, which we can then pull out and apply at the relevant moment with whoever we work with next.
For example, whilst working at a start-up news channel in India, the library department had never worked with non-linear, digital archive systems. We spent a considerable amount of time exploring what their goals were, and agreeing strategies with the super users, to ensure that they had a reliable and effective archive workflow. This resulted in the creation of several custom metadata fields to their Interplay database (editable via Assist or Access), setting up of daily workflows to sub clip rushes with Assist, consolidate them with NewsCutter and then placing these archive compilations on an auto-archive folder which takes care of the actual archiving process.
I have also found that, during workflow discussions and workshops, my customers appreciate a session on “user cases” that describes how we helped broadcaster A, or post facility B tackle a particular workflow challenge. Or simply, to learn about alternative ways of ingesting, transcoding, editing, approving, sound mixing, archiving, etc. Obviously, we are extremely sensitive about how we share such information, and we will always discuss user cases as fully anonymous. The idea here is to learn about the processes and workflows, and not to share any “trade secrets”!
As another illustration, I recently worked with a large broadcaster in Central Europe, which produces programmes and promos for their national TV channels. Coming from an Avid MediaManager environment and upgrading to Interplay, they wanted a solution that allowed them to easily distinguish Interplay folders from checked-in MediaComposer projects within the Interplay database. This was easily achieved with a combination of folder colours and pre-fixing folders with special characters. A simple, but very elegant solution that suited all!
As you can see, Avid Workflow Consultants cannot only help our users understand more about Avid products and the processes that use those products, but we can also add that “all-round” experience that is so valuable in today’s content production industry. Ask us a workflow question: we have probably answered a similar one before… but, if not, rest assured we will reach out to the rest of the Avid Worldwide Consultancy team to offer you a variety of solutions. It’s in our inquisitive nature!
Avid Senior Professional Services Consultant