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recruited from nearby Sumners
post-production. “The Baselight TWO has
always delivered the quality and
speed that I need to be able to
confidently say yes to my clients’
requests,” explained Parry at the
time of installation.
Backed up by 40TB of storage,
the suite has a Blackboard
control surface and Sony OLED
This is pretty far from being a
studio add-on. It signals the
move into the post-production
big league. While grading was
possible before using Symphony,
having a Baselight puts dock 10
in a place where it can pitch for
high-end docs and dramas. And
it is doing just that.
Linking up with Infostrada (formerly Parkpost), it has put together a set of secure
cloud-based production and distribution services that includes remote content
editing, media archiving and metadata management and a new approach
to content ingest. These services are based around Infostrada’s CentralParq
workflow and media asset management platform.
Away from its own post
facilities, dock 10 also recently
won the operator contract for
the post-production offering
at The Landing, a digital hub
configured to be the home of
small companies and freelancers
involved in technology innovation
and content for the digital
realm (everything from apps to
interactivity). An initial three-
year contract to run Post @ The
Landing was awarded by the
Salford City Council, the public
organization behind the venture.
Also, making use of the
connectivity across the city (or
‘campus’ as people seem to
like to call it), dock 10 is also
providing tapeless file delivery,
via Signiant, to ITV and The
Farm, the post house that runs
the BBC’s own in house editing
set-up. While traditional broadcast services are the core of the dock 10 service, the
company is also taking the cloud very seriously, trail blazing in many ways with a
nascent innovation that still scares the bejesus out of most TV folk.
As part of this, a private cloud-based craft editing platform will also be made
available over the campus-wide fibre-optic network. Unlike many offerings of its
ilk, this one will use standard editing interfaces such as Media Composer, Final
Cut Pro or Premiere, and incorporate asset-management ingest and logging tools
from Central ParQ.
The system is initially just for production teams based at MediaCityUK but
plans are afoot to integrate it with The Loop, a 50-mile fibre network around
Manchester. The cloud offerings will be managed services based on true cloud commercial
principles of elasticity of demand and price: that being one of the main benefits of
course. Either way, what dock 10, and its commercial director Ian Munford, is trying to
achieve is a blueprint for the industry. A plug-and-play offering that provides, as
he puts it, a “different way of accessing the things that people know and love.”
This approach can, potentially, completely change the way TV is produced. But,
as things stand, Munford is “not sure how far customers want to go or how far
the technology can go.” It’s got huge promise. But let’s not throw the baby out
with the bathwater just yet.
What I think is most interesting is that these ideas are coming from dock 10, a
company that many still think just run studios for the BBC.
Innovative, service orientated and progressive is how I would describe dock 10.
That said, it is not a company that is universally loved by its competitors as it now
offers services – particularly in post - that it didn’t a year ago, adding competition
to an already tight marketplace on the back of guaranteed income from the BBC
(and therefore public money).
But what I do know is that the intentions are genuine from the staff at dock 10.
They want to be the best and have recruited accordingly - including recently
bringing on board former Sunset + Vine head of production technology Emma
Riley as head of business development and agreeing an exclusive deal with
renowned dubbing mixer Mike Stewart.
And while they won’t thank me for revealing that one senior member of staff was
once a holiday rep while another was the manager of a next-big-thing (but not
quite) indie band, I wish them luck.
dock 10, like MediaCityUK, has changed beyond recognition since my first visit,
helping to put Salford and the North of England firmly back on the media map.
For that I will be forever grateful.
50 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 81 SEPTEMBER 2013