Performance Under Pressure

KTBS 3 TVWhen terrorists attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, television and radio stations around the country scrambled to get the news out as fast as they could. This wasn't easy as the facts kept changing every minute. For editors at KTBS 3 TV in Shreveport, Louisiana, the station's Avid|DS system helped ease the tense situation and to streamline the process of getting fast-breaking and eye-catching news promos to air.

“Our promotions editor was on vacation, so I was called upon to design and edit the visuals for promos relating to the attacks,” says Carey Brown, a KTBS editor. The Avid|DS system allowed Brown to produce the promos in a hurry without sacrificing quality. “The quick application of presets—effects and graphics created and saved in earlier sessions for possible use in the future—and the ease at which I can use the compositing tools in DS helped to get the job done quickly and still have the promos look great,” says Brown.

Even on a tight deadline, compositing is easy with the Avid|DS system, according to Brown. For the promos, he used multiple layers to create a blend of images, each with its own set of animated parameters.

He set up several images in a container, edited them, applied effects and titles, and then translated all the images with a global DVE. From there, he took that container and edited it along with several other containers, each with its own set of images. “This allows me to organize the composites so that when I'm making adjustments to the final composite, I know very quickly which exact clip needs the adjustment,” explains Brown.

KTBSWhen not under a tight deadline, Brown likes to experiment with as many of the features in DS as possible. As DS 4.0 offers 3,167 new features and enhancements over the previous version, there's many from which to choose. Brown recently tried out a number of them, including the enhanced timewarp and selective color correction, to create a promo for client Music Mountain Spring Water.

“The combination of the features of DS can very quickly result in amazing images,” says Brown. He used the timewarp effect to dramatically speed up footage shot from inside a car as it made its way through downtown. He used the film-look effect to get a “flicker” feeling as the footage showed cars out in front turning and stopping. He again used the timewarp effect so he could suddenly speed up footage of a delivery man carrying a bottle of water from a truck to a house, then suddenly slow it down to slow-mo just as he gets to the steps of the front door. He also used the selective color correction feature to gradually take out all of the saturation in the scene except for the water bottle the deliveryman carries on his shoulder. For that, Brown increased the saturation, making the bottle turn a glowing turquoise. Brown achieved the perfect end result: the delivery man walking in slow motion up the steps, while the whole scene turned black-and-white and focused on the water bottle, which remained in color.

The stability of the Avid|DS system have made it the editing system of choice for the editors at KTBS. Before the station purchased the DS system in 2000, the editors used a competitor's editing system, which crashed on a regular basis, according to Brown. “The wide selection of creative editorial, compositing and effects tool make the difference in the quality of the finished product very obvious,” and not just to the people working at the station. “Clients notice the difference and ask me what I'm doing differently. I just tell them that we have a much better system now that reaches far beyond editing.”


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