Core is Teradek’s cloud-based stream management platform designed to enhance and simplify IP video workflows, giving access to multi-destination streaming, remote configuration, and calibrated color correction monitoring. When the COVID-19 pandemic locked down industries around the world, Core took on a new importance, as everything that could be remote, became remote. There was a global need to share video content anywhere in the world. Cinema, television, and commercial productions needed tools to keep a distanced team in the loop as digital workflows became the new norm. Core facilitated the video streaming to and from the cloud, and Core TV emerged as the premier and easy way to view live camera feeds, live color sessions, and more. Post-pandemic, Core TV has continued to offer remote collaborators a stake in the production process.
“They had to make it so we could still edit during the pandemic, but from home. That’s where Core TV came in,” explains Bryan Raber, Post Producer of CBS Procedural, East New York. MTI Film, post-production facility known for its workflow technology, was perfectly positioned to meet this new challenge–thanks to its pioneering CEO, Larry Chernoff, and its ability, as a boutique company on the cutting edge, to move fast and adapt to the changes necessitated by the pandemic. “Larry jumped in and built a data center to facilitate frame accurate remote Avid editing, allowing us to work at multiple remote locations on the same project, including the editor’s home. Mike Robin (EP of East New York) was one of the first people to adopt it for CBS’ All Rise. Based on that success, East New York also uses MTI’s remote center and was among the first shows to get on the air after the pandemic.”
With an offline-edit solution ready to go, the next piece in the puzzle was how to handle color correction. “When you have prep, production, post, and multiple episodes all going at once, you physically can’t be in two places at once,” says Raber. East New York shoots on location in NYC, so as Post Producer, he needed a remote pipeline that would let him continue to shepherd the workflow from his home in Santa Barbara, California. Did Core TV hold the answer? They engaged in stringent testing. It was an important decision to make, one that would shape post-production for the entire season. “There’s a rule in post-production: you do not upgrade in the middle of anything. Not in the middle of an episode, not in the middle of the season.”
Color has always been uniquely tricky in a world of many diverse screens. The colorist’s bane is getting everyone else to see what the colorist sees on their top-of-the-line color-calibrated OLED monitors. Few non-post-production professionals have displays up to color bay standards in the privacy of their home office. Since in-person color sessions were not feasible in the early pandemic, the East New York team needed a readily available tool that was cost-effective, easy to transport, and, most importantly, could offer color congruent images when streamed through the Core TV App. The team settled on Apple iPad Generation 5.
“Apple is very diligent with the way they calibrate everything,” Raber describes. “Using Core TV, we streamed what I was looking at in the color bay to my iPad Generation 5. Then, using Core TV’s color balance controls, our colorist tweaked the iPad’s color to match the mastering display. Once that was one-to-one, we built three more of these specially calibrated iPads, to send to the show’s two directors of photography and DIT. Then, when we held a color session, I could be confident knowing the imagery streaming to my iPad here in Santa Barbara is what our colorist sees on his mastering monitor at MTI and is also the same as our directors of photography are viewing.”
Raber continues, “With the Core App, combined with the confidence in the congruency of these displays, I know everyone is looking at the same imagery. Color correction is a very specific, nuanced, and sometimes emotional portion of the process. If a producer, director, and director of photography are looking at imagery inconsistent across devices, the degradation to the creative collaboration can be impossible to surmount.”
“Streaming Core TV through color correction is working incredibly well for us on East New York. Honestly, with two bars of 5G hot spotting from my phone, I’m good. I can be anywhere. I can sit down and watch a stream while on a conference call with someone in New York, while our colorist mans the bay at MTI in Los Angeles, and without lag, without being blocky, knowing full well that what I see are the same colors they’re seeing.”
While MTI has been using Core TV in conjunction with Teradek’s rack mounted encoder system to create a remote digital color workflow, Core can also be used on set as a real-time color-accurate stream management platform when coupled with Teradek’s more mobile-friendly encoders, Serv 4K or Serv Micro.
Colin McDonald, Product Manager for Creative Solution’s Cine Products, describes: “Serv 4K and Serv Micro are camera-back encoders. You can put them inline with Gold mount or V-mount on the camera, then pass-through power, like a Teradek Bolt. The Bolt system has zero delay wireless video, but it’s point-to-point, so it’s just for use on one set. Serv is kind of the counterpart, in that there is a bit of a delay, because it has to encode the file before it sends it to the cloud, but it allows you to then get your video anywhere in the world.”
As Raber says, “Core is really a tool for everybody to communicate in the most proper way, both technically and creatively. It’s the reason why we have video village: because we want to see what’s on-screen. Every production is different, every person, every director of photography, is different and everybody has a different workflow in their head. For remote workflows, there are some people that will embrace it, there are some people that will fight it, but from hereon, there will always be a need for producers operating at a distance.”