FNTECH is a technical production company based in Toronto, Canada, specializing in designing and implementing digital recording and post-production workflows for broadcast television.
A leader in tapeless workflow solutions, FNTECH offers a full turnkey service, working with producers in both the production and postproduction phases. This level of support ensures your project runs smoothly and efficiently. Some of the productions they have worked on include: Big Brother Canada, Chopped Canada, and Pressure Cooker.
FNTECH’s client Bristow Global Media is the production company for Hockey Wives, a new Canadian reality TV series. FNTECH utilized Forscene in the technical production of the show. I spoke with Sean Burt, Recording Engineer/System Administrator for FNTECH about the benefits of using Forscene for this production. Sean installs and manages multiple post-production facilities and provides technical support for post teams.
Q: Tell us a little about your company FNTECH.
SB: FNTech was founded by Curt Fuglewicz. The company originally started with technical producing for live broadcasts and got into live recording. Over the last few years FNTECH has grown and now also creates workflows and supplies equipment for all technical aspects of production and post-production.
Q: When did you first become aware of Forscene?
SB: Last year we were working on a show called Hockey Wives, one of our first shows where we did a full post development deployment and we were looking for a one system, or a solution to bridge the distance gaps between our different creative teams and our post teams. We were looking for something where we could screen media and help streamline the editing workflow.
Q: How did you become aware of it?
SB: It came to me through Curt who was initially shown the benefits of Forscene by the Toronto based reseller, Matthew Bush (Triangle Post).
Q: Once you actually sat down and had a good look at Forscene and tried it out, what was your initial reaction to it?
SB: My initial reaction to Forscene was that it was a game changer. It’s what we were looking for. There was integration with AVID so that we could continue working with our existing workflow. It was exactly what we needed. The ability to do multicam screening, editing online, and being able to push hundreds of hours of media to our show runners and to our people on the field was the key. It was great that everyone had easy access to media who needed it. It filled that role spectacularly.
Q: I’d like to discuss some of the benefits of Forscene and how it worked for you with Hockey Wives – let’s start with logging and tagging.
SB: It worked great. The search functionality for logging and tagging especially, as it pertained to our interviews on the show were fantastic when it came to finding key moments that may have happened months before. It saved a lot of time in trying to track down those key story points.
Q: Multicam. I understand that this feature was pretty crucial to your production.
SB: It was typically a two-camera multi camera shoot for the majority of the show. We did however have some large events throughout the shoot that required four or more cameras and it was crucial to have easy access to that footage, especially for our showrunner who was based in New York. She wanted to see everything in real time and all of our camera angles at the same time, so Forscene was fabulous for that. It cut down on a lot of work of noting multicam groupings in AVID and then rendering it out and sending it off. It was much more efficient to just load it up to Forscene and then all she had to do was hit play. There was no need to render it out, it just played back. It was extremely helpful when we had to track upwards of eight people at the same time in one scene. It really made life a lot easier for our assistant editors who didn’t have to spend countless hours sorting through the footage and finding what they needed. It was a huge time saver.
Q: Your company started with the original interface and then made the transition to the new interface while you were already in production. How was that for your editors and how did they embrace Forscene?
SB: The editors didn’t actually use Forscene much. The way we utilized it was mainly for screening footage for our showrunner. But on top of that we gave our story producers access to it and so it allowed them to do selects. They were able to access it from anywhere, whether they were at home or at the office and even in the field on location so it was invaluable in that sense. Our story producers used it for all of our logging, transcriptions, viewing the interviews and then they would also make their selects, exporting the AAF’s, and they would import that into AVID which cut down on some of the work our assistants had to do.
Q: How satisfied were you with technical support?
SB: Forscene technical support is great. Whether we contacted Matthew Bush here in Toronto or if we had to contact someone in London we never had an issue with that. We had constant feedback and there was always somebody always ready to take a call if we had any issues. If something happened, my post team would let me know, I contacted Forscene and we immediately worked it out. It never brought us to a grinding halt, ever.
Q: Any last thoughts about using Forscene?
SB: I think the most important element with Forscene is how it is introduced into the workflow. If Forscene is the main focus I can see it working very well for everyone who touches it. One thing that I was really impressed with was their codec. The amount of time it gave us to get caught up when we first got Forscene was really great. When we started using Forscene we already had at least 100 hours of footage and everything was transcoded in just over a day. That was very impressive, and we were on a really tight timeline at that point. Our series producer was itching to start viewing footage and without Forscene I know we wouldn’t have been able to deliver so quickly.
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