Cinedeck Saves Time, Money on 'Anger Management' Series
April 2, 2014

Cinedeck Saves Time, Money on 'Anger Management' Series

NEW YORK –  According to Cinedeck LLC, developer of capture systems for digital cinema, broadcast and post production, its Cinedeck RX record, ingest and transcode platform has saved the  US comedy-series  Anger Management  (Debmar-Mercury Productions, FX Network) $2.25 million in post production costs, while supporting the delivery of double the number of episodes typically produced over the same production period.

Cinedecks are known for their ability to simultaneously record and create edit-ready deliverables directly to the optimum file storage destination – thereby eliminating time-consuming and costly transcoding processes, and enabling post-production processes to start faster than ever. With Cinedecks in the workflow, Anger Management eliminated 1,440hrs/120 days of transcode and transfer over the course of 90 episodes. With a small production staff, and without the extra cost of tape stock and tape transfers, this culminated in a total saving of $25K per episode, saving the show $2.25 million on the overall post-production budget.

“The days of real-time ingest are history,” said Howard Brock, Associate Producer,Anger Management. “ You know the old saying, ‘faster, better, cheaper’ – with Cinedeck we get all three. It’s much cheaper than tape – two channels of Cinedeck RX give you the equivalent of two SR decks, but at a fraction of the cost, and with no stock charges. We’re probably saving one day every shooting day on ingest alone. Plus, as we don’t need additional editorial assistants to digitize the media overnight, we’re able to run a small post team.”

Anger Management , starring Charlie Sheen, broke ratings records with 5.74 million viewers when it debuted on FX on June 28, 2012. FX had picked up Anger Management with an initial 10-episode order on the condition that, if the series proved successful, it would then order an additional 90 episodes under a syndication model crafted by Debmar-Mercury, a subsidiary of Lionsgate. On August 29, 2012, it was announced that the show would be picked up for a further 90 episodes, and in January 2013, FX president John Landgraf said viewers could expect 45 new episodes per year.

For the Anger Management production team this represented an accelerated recording schedule of six episodes per month, double the number of most sitcoms. It also provided a considerable challenge in finding an efficient and cost-effective workflow, as the first 10 episodes required the separate creation of offline and online versions of the recorded material. As much as 20 hours of material per episode had to be separately copied to an Avid Unity, and repeating this process for every one of the extra 90 episodes become a daunting and expensive prospect, setting the stage for a faster and more efficient workflow.

To gain significant production and financial efficiencies, Anger Management harnessed three dual-channel Cinedeck RX recorders to eliminate physical tape and traditional transcode processes, and enable the show’s post team to review takes and commence editing within minutes of a scene being shot.

Two Cinedeck RXs record Avid native DNxHD175 MXF OpAtom media directly to Avid ISIS shared storage, plus a redundant copy to an on-board SSD drive for safe back-up. For onset dailies and review, a third Cinedeck RX records a quad-split of the four cameras, recording DNxHD175 with one channel and H.264 with the second channel. In turn, a LightIron server delivers the H.264 quad-split for the on-set production team to review all takes on iPads.

With Cinedeck recording directly to post production’s shared storage, Anger Management cut the expense of an Avid rental, an assistant editor, and the digitizing/transfer cost of media – totaling a saving of $2,000 per week for a four-day week, as compared to the original HDCAM workflow budget. Anger Management is renting the Cinedeck RXs, but had the show purchased them, the recorders would have paid for themselves within the first two episodes, meaning every dollar spent on a Cinedeck would have netted the series a staggering 4,167% ROI as compared to an HDCAM workflow over 90 episodes.

Cinedeck recorders create Avid native OpAtom MXF files, allowing simple “drag and drop” of the AAF to Avid bins, enabling the post team to start editing right away. Efficiencies gained by creating Avid native, edit-ready files meant a time saving of between two to four hours per day as compared to other digital recorders and eight-hours per day with tape. These workflow efficiencies also added benefits to the overall quality of the finished show, as the post team had more time to deal with VFX and errant items in frame – such as tape marks on the floor and mic shadows.

“We’re delighted with the success that Anger Management has achieved using Cinedeck technology,” said Suzette Ferguson, Cinedeck worldwide VP of sales and marketing. “ With Cinedeck there are no additional steps, technologies or costs in the workflow, so post is more simply streamlined from the get go. Their experience shows how the all-in-one convenience of Cinedeck’s simultaneous capture and deliverables, supports fast, and efficient content creation.”