Of course, this is all based on the fact that the vast majority of television dramas are shot on film. If that changes, perhaps some of this will be re-examined, but my guess is that if a show today wanted to shoot on, say, a Red, the same post workflow would likely be used, with a facility converting the R3d files to HDCam SR, synching double system sound, and using the SR tape as the daily master.
Note: In terms of quality, CineForm is less compressed than HDCam, D5, or HDCam SR, and there is a lot of interest in removing these expensive decks from the workflow (certainly avoiding adding more.)
Network television post production is handled by a small number of very sophisticated and well equipped post facilities that do their job very well under very difficult schedules and circumstances. In other words, it works. And it works very reliably and very well. Individual productions, and even studios for the most part, have very little interest in becoming post facilities, particularly when those that already exist do the work - and do it well - for less than it would cost the studios to do it themselves. And they take on the technical responsibility for meeting network delivery requirements, which are extensive, complex, and get even more so every year. Every few years individual studios dabble in creating in house post facilities, and they abandon it a short time later because they discover what I just said is true. This has happened time and time again. I'm not saying that things will never change. What I am saying is that while film is still the dominant production medium for network dramas - and it still is, and will likely be for the next few years regardless of what else comes along - it is unlikely that the current methods of doing post production will change substantially, because what's done now works quite well.
The technical requirements and extremely tight turnarounds of network television demand extremely high quality, extremely high reliability, extreme technical sophistication, and the ability to do it all very fast. That is what the post facilities bring to the table, and what individual editorial teams can't, at least not while network deliveries are still on videotape.
The key part is "certainly avoiding adding more", we have first hand knowledge of this. Post workflows are changing.
I sometimes feel like I'm one of the few people who actually still likes the offline/online workflow. For any sort of series or long form work it just seems easier - we have a short series that shot something like 200 tapes. We offlineed at DV25, and still ended up using nearly 2TB for that. Holding all that material at any sort of HD finishing resolution wasn't an option for us, and was unnecessary.
Also, more importantly, I think, is that not all tools are created equal, some are better suited for finishing, and others are better suited to cutting. Also, the skills are different - many of the best editors wouldn't stand a chance of finishing something for broadcast.
I also like that the offline/online workflow creates clear delineations between different parts of the process. You know the cut is locked off once it leaves offline. It can be helpful for some directors, a sort of 'closure' I guess.
Do you have the numbers of features and TV shows that have changed their workflow. My guess... .02 percent. mmost brings up a valid point. Use the constructive criticism to make the "new workflow" more desirable, stable, functional and elegant. Some of us "Standard Posties" look forward to the day when we have no doubts about online/online being the better workflow. That time is not yet.
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