Wiredrive streamlines TV production for Run’s House and Life of Ryan
People working in television post departments often jump from show to show and face an array of challenges for each venture: new production crews, different locations, new characters, as well as a spectrum of visual and editorial styles. No one knows these challenges like Viacom veteran Chris Schwachenwald who worked on the hit MTV shows Run’s House and Life of Ryan.
Review and approve from anywhere
Schwachenwald was introduced to Wiredrive in 2005 while looking for a quick and cost-effective way to deliver cuts from MTV’s LA studios to the east coast without having to rely on shipping services. “I often stayed late at the studio and was always rushing to meet the FedEx cut-off times,” he recalled.
“Wiredrive has turned out to be a blessing because now we can upload anything decision-makers need to see, regardless of where they’re shooting.”
Schwachenwald’s team would shoot in New Jersey and ship the tapes to LA for editing and post-production. The LA team would also post cuts to Wiredrive so MTV executives, who were often spread across the country, could review and approve their work.
“We post cuts to Wiredrive for MTV executives to check out, whether they’re in their offices in New York or vacationing in Hawaii. On our shows, about 95 percent of the decision-makers aren’t local. Wiredrive has turned out to be a blessing because now we can upload not just dailies, but anything decision-makers need to see, regardless of where they’re shooting on location,” Schwachenwald said.
Streamlining the review and approval process
Schwachenwald’s workflow wasn’t always so smooth. His department needed to facilitate reviews for about 30 half-hour episodes a year, a task so labor-intensive that he scoured the Internet for solutions before finding Wiredrive.
“I was intrigued by what Wiredrive had to offer busy production environments. Wiredrive.com profiled creative shops touting it as a crucial component of their everyday workflow, so we gave Wiredrive a shot. Soon, several departments within MTV were using Wiredrive, including at one point 10 simultaneous MTV series.”
“Wiredrive lets all the decision-makers contribute their feedback into the system, organizing and storing it in one central place.”
It’s the sheer scope of the approval process that led Schwachenwald and his colleagues at MTV to Wiredrive. “Once you factor in all the different positions and departments, including legal and standards, we can have upward of 30 people reviewing a particular episode,” he said. “So having a reliable and secure Web platform for rich media delivery and review that’s easy for everyone to use is of utmost importance. Wiredrive lets all the decision-makers contribute their feedback into the system, organizing and storing it in one central place.”
Wiredrive’s podcasting feature, which allows users to load spots directly onto their iPods, iPhones and other portable devices, also proved to be a saving time benefit. “We have those who watch videos on iPhones or iPods on the train ride home. For those guys, Wiredrive addresses how they like to view their media and where they like to do it.”
An additional benefit for Schwachenwald is the Wiredrive support team, who were able help him create web-friendly files with his aging equipment. “We’ve been cutting on the same Avids for years,” Schwachenwald said. “With any kind of older technology, one has to find suitable workarounds that won’t affect the quality of the work that’s put out. Because of our older equipment, we had some challenges with producing quality QuickTime files. The technical support staff at Wiredrive was incredibly helpful and worked with us to find a way to create decently-sized QuickTime [files] we could post onto Wiredrive.”
About Chris Schwachenwald
Chris Schwachenwald oversaw editorial and finishing on the MTV original series Run’s House and Life of Ryan. He is currently the production manager for the Viacom series Undercover Boss.