How Aframe helped Timeline TV
Channel 4’s highest-rating drama of 2013, The Mill, now in its second series recounts the period between 1838-1842, focusing on the lives of the mill workers against a backdrop of turbulent social, political and industrial change.
Darlow Smithson Productions produced the period drama whilst Timeline TV was responsible for managing post-production. Historical characters and events were combined to create a compelling costume drama that gripped an average audience of 3.2 million per episode.
Production houses routinely amalgamate footage from a host of contributors and camera formats into a single project space. They face inevitable delays and complexities when moving footage out of the camera and into the production workflow, often making it difficult to coordinate notes and approvals from multiple sources efficiently.
A workflow was designed that would best improve the automation of moving the high res media assets. Aframe’s cloud video platform allowed dailies to be uploaded swiftly in single sessions, stored securely in the cloud and made ready for distribution immediately to a geographically dispersed team of executives on the move.
The production was shot using the ARRI Alexa digital camera system in 2K both on location in Cheshire and at MediaCity’s Pie Factory. The edit was made using Avid Symphony, with the daily edits being uploaded via the latest UDP file transfer technology built into Aframe’s cloud. Aframe’s automatic proxy transcode enabled footage to be reviewed by any collaborator on a standard web browser – eliminating the need for costly and time-consuming hardware implementations.
“Aframe allows you to organise media without actually editing it. Our whole team can access the full-resolution media wherever and whenever they need it, while still being able to generate viewing proxies for easy review by others.” Eben Clancy, Director of Post Production at Timeline TV North.
Aframe is device and location agnostic, which meant that even though the scenes were filmed in Cheshire, “The Mill’s” director of photography, the DSP production team and Channel 4 executives could review, log, annotate and download what was being filmed as it was uploaded.
Eben Clancy continued, “The ease of using the cloud for this production was such an added bonus for us. It allowed all our teams to collaborate and choose workflows that worked for them, from any location on any device. The flexibility this gives you when dealing with a large range of collaborators is invaluable.”
When reviewing the footage, executives were able to select the best takes from the day and create frame accurate timecode comments, ensuring they'd captured what they needed before reaching the edit. This prevented the need for costly re-shoots at a later date as issues like audio and lighting problems would only traditionally be picked up in the edit suite.
On this occasion Aframe helped the team realise that the content shot may potentially be too dark to broadcast, which would have required scenes to be re-shot, potentially a hugely expensive and time-consuming task. Timeline TV was able to run through a post process of the footage and reassure the production team that the issue could be fixed in post-production.
“We chose to use Aframe again because we have always found the platform to be secure, easy to manage and with full-resolution capabilities that we have not been able to find elsewhere.” Eben Clancy, Director of Post Production at Timeline TV North.