Talkback Thames has made use of a specially created remote access workflow for the post-production of its new BBC daytime documentary series Hospital Heroes.

The workflow comprises software from Cinegy, Avid editing systems and media management services provided by post facility Evolutions.

Edit producers, using PC desktops in Talkback Thames' Newman Street office, assembled story footage remotely over the internet, before it was finished at Evolutions' Berners Street facility.

The approach reduced time in the edit suite, removed the need for the conform stage and allowed a large volume of rushes to be dealt with quickly. Crucially, it also allowed the production to come in on budget.

Talkback Thames' Lucy Butler, the production manager on Hospital Heroes, said the set-up made the editing process much easier.

“With that amount of material, the level of processes required would have been ridiculous for things like working with viewing copies, doing paper logs and putting together digitisation lists,” she said. “It would have been very time consuming just to get some material on the Avid to actually edit.

“This approach was an excellent way to be able to log and cut at the same time. It meant there was no time wastage plus editorial teams could make decisions there and then in the office.”

The six-month project - which followed staff at King's College Hospital in London - produced 450 hours of footage and had a two-week edit schedule.

Evolutions devised a dual-stream workflow whereby both DV25 and MPEG-2 footage was digitised in one pass, allowing the production team to view, log and edit first assemblies using the MPEG-2 proxy files. Once the assemblies were approved, projects were relinked to the full resolution material on an Avid Isis server for fine cut and final online.

On this kind of rushes-heavy show, logging is often done by runners watching VHS or DVD copies and typing footage metadata into Word or Excel documents or by adding text documents to files made from transcoded clips of the rushes.

“Cinegy allows actual metadata to be added to media that Avid understands, meaning you don't need to go back and digitise the selected shots,” explained Evolutions commercial director John Jamieson.

“The unique workflow architecture means the production team can work with proxies but the edits can work with online resolution material, so it's practical to lose the conforming stage.”

Hospital Heroes, a 20 x 45-minute series for BBC1, airs from 24 November.