Founded in 2005 by noted Austrian children`s author Thomas C. Brezina, KidsTV has evolved into one of the biggest production companies for children`s programming in Germany and Austria. With content inspired by, or drawn directly from Brezina`s more than 550 books, KidsTV today employs more than 40 people and produces well over 5000 minutes of programming every year, including the popular series Tom Turbo based on Brezina`s book series by the same name.
With business booming, finding ways to continually refine production workflow is increasingly important for Brezina and his Production Manager, Peter Friebe. As a dedicated “gear junkie,” Friebe`s ability to look beyond status quo for creative solutions is fueled by his zeal for new technology, and commitment to keeping up with the industry`s latest offerings. These qualities recently led Friebe to recommend ToolsOnAir`s powerful live:cut production system for their latest upgrade. “We shoot everything in HD and on wide variety of different cameras, from DSLRs to Sony XDCAM HD and many other professional grade systems,” explained Friebe. “In addition, our productions vary widely-from animated to a mixture of puppets and live action. With such variety, it`s critical that our production workflow is tight and extremely well organized. Friebe continued, “A few years ago I used ToolsOnAir`s live:cut system for the first time on a production of Trickfabrik and realized immediately its potential for dramatically improving our daily broadcast productivity. I began implementing live:cut on the last few episodes of Servos Kasperl and Piratenfunk Franz Ferdinand and have been perfecting the workflow across most of our productions ever since.” live:cut software streamlines multicamera production by combining ingest, metadata handling and post-production into a single interface. live:cut creates its own EDL and converts it into an intuitive multi-camera timeline for postproduction. Everything from production notes, markers, and comments are all transferred directly to the edit- and all in real time. For KidsTV, the live:cut footage is sent via Fiber Channel to a centralized RAID storage system. The RAID system serves up to five Mac-based cutting stations running both Apple and Avid software. “The most important advantage of live:cut is the centralized ingest,” Friebe explained. “You can pre-define and pre-configure everything for the desired production. Then, when you start recording; picture, sound and all metadata are easily recorded with a touch of a button.” Recognized the broad advantages of the technology, KidsTV recently installed their live:cut system in mobile casing for better portability from production to production. “We can now use the system at outdoor recordings with the UE-car, and immediately transfer the material onto our RAIDS for editing that very same evening.” Friebe explained. “The power-to-size ratio of this technology is really amazing.” Ultimately it`s the fast turn-around time enabled by live:cut that`s been the biggest benefit for KidsTV. Friebe is quick to credit the software`s immediacy as the driving factor behind its ongoing adoption across a growing list of KidsTV productions. While not all shows can benefit from from live:cut, “most productions that implement the technology see a dramatic reduction in production time and requisite increase in output-sometimes as much as two-fold.” explained Friebe. “live:cut allows us to immediately review footage, which is especially valuable for shows like Kasperi, which is recorded in front of a live audience. We now only need one day to clean up the cuts, fine tune for length, and add the individual acts.” With its popularity at an all time high, production demands at KidsTV aren`t likely to abate anytime soon. And in a business where time is money, Friebe is particularly pleased with live:cut`s contribution to the company`s bottom line. “In some cases we`ve cut our production times by half and even increased our output by two,” he concludes. “I can`t think of a single piece of production technology in recent years that has delivered such a positive impact to our business overall.”