MonsterQuest uses high-tech equipment to take a scientific look at legendary creatures around the world - creatures eyewitnesses claim to see to this day. Each episode examines the evidence available, from pictures and video to hair and bones, as well as the eyewitness accounts themselves. MonsterQuest is produced by Whitewolf Entertainment of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
EPC and Whitewolf Entertainment use 13 Media 100 Producer systems and one online Media 100 HD Suite system to keep up with MonsterQuest's busy schedule. The systems are used during all aspects of the post-production process.
"Media 100 Producer has been huge for our business and for the series," comments Dan Nyberg, founder, EPC. "Timelines get mailed back and forth between colleagues. The media auto-associate with the timelines, so viewing different stages of a cut is a snap."
Due to the high ratio of tape shot to finished program length, all A and B and sometimes C camera footage is acquired as low-resolution SD clips, using the Media 100 codec as well as DV and DVCPRO50. Forty hours of footage are typically generated for each 46-minute show. The entire media-set for each episode is saved to its own FireWire drive; the drive is mirrored twice and one drive is sent to the episode producer and the other drive is sent to the writer assigned to the episode. A very rough story cut is assembled by the episode producer who sends the cut to one of three formatting editors.
"Using Media 100 Producer for access to my source footage is easy and useful," comments Dave Zdon, episode producer, ilexfilmworks. "The ability to hand off a rough timeline to the offline editors results in a well-integrated editing and writing process."
When the formatting editors get the cut, they work with the senior producing staff, the writer, the CGI house and the archive company to bring each episode through two History approval rounds. Once approved and script-locked by History, data from the offline rough and fine-cuts flows to a Media 100 HD Suite online system for HD conforming, color-correcting, and repo and graphics work. For HD, EPC uses the Media 100 uncompressed codec and DVCPROHD.
"Media 100 HD Suite makes it easy to conform our SD fine cuts up to HD onlines," comments Kelsey Tangney, online editor/colorist, EPC. "Even when the timelines have been through multiple editors and revisions, the data stays intact. My assistant is able to re-rez the 46 minute program within five hours."
EPC takes advantage of Boris RED for fast titling, face and object blurring, pixel replacement and repositioning within Media 100. In addition, they make extensive use of Media 100's color correction tools. Adds Tangney, "Most MonsterQuest scenes require color correction. Media 100's integrated composite and RGB or YRB component color correction tools are accurate, easy-to-use, and fast."
Media 100 Version 13's new audio busing has simplified workflow for MonsterQuest. Audio stays in postproduction until the very last stages of mixing, giving the production team great flexibility, and dramatically reducing the number of exports. "On MonsterQuest, what used to be 12 stereo stem tracks has been literally cut in half," comments Ian Combs, audio post engineer, Lightspeed Group. "With Media 100's new audio busing options, I can funnel groups of channels (VOT, SOT, Narration, MSX, SFX) into buses and use the buses to create the stems that I bring into my DAW to finish mixing. Now I can focus my energy on making the mix sound great and spend less time digging through my stem tracks to make sure I've allocated channels correctly!"
Doug Hajicek, series creator of MonsterQuest, Whitewolf Entertainment, comments, "I have used Media 100 faithfully for 18 years now. It's like a box of sharp pencils for my video 'art creations'. Other systems seem like a box of dull color crayons. Media 100 has helped my career grow and prosper as a successful producer of National TV programming. It allows for creative efficiencies in editing like no other system."
Nyberg concludes, "I like the fact that Media 100 was designed from the ground up as an online solution with built-in, razor-sharp editorial efficiencies. I don't have enough hours in the day to use a system that doesn't operate at my speed or in my work style. I guess that is why you could call me a Media 100 zealot."