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Workstations: Offline Editing Workflows
By Karen Moltenbrey

When selecting a workstation, post studios differ in their opinions about what’s most important, depending on the function the workstations will serve. Everyone wants value, and for some, power is key. For others, speed is a top priority. For others still, reliability reigns. Luckily for users, today’s workstations can check all those boxes.

As Eric Mittan, director of technology at New York’s Jigsaw Productions, is quick to point out, it’s hard to fathom the kinds of upgrades in power we’ve seen in workstations just in the time he has been working with them professionally. He recalls that in 2004, it took an overnight encoding session to author a standard-definition DVD with just one hour of video — and that task was performed on one of the first dual-processor desktops available to the regular consumer. “Nowadays, that kind of video transcode can take 15 minutes on a ‘light’ laptop, to say nothing of the fact that physical media like the DVD has gone the way of the dinosaur,” he says.

That is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the revolution that workstations have undergone in a very short period. Here, we examine the types of workstations that a pair of studios are using for their editing tasks.

Jigsaw, a production company, does a large portion of its own post through Apple iMacs that run Avid Media Composer. It is also a client of post houses for work such as color and final deliverables. Another company, Final Cut, is also a Mac-based operation, running Avid Media Composer and Adobe Premiere Pro, although the company’s Flames run on HP workstations.

Jigsaw Productions
A documentary television and film company, Jigsaw was founded in 1978 by documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney. It has since transitioned from a company that made one movie at a time to one that is simultaneously producing multiple features and series for distribution by a number of networks and distribution partners.

Jigsaw’s film and episodic projects include the political (Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer) and the musical (History of the Eagles), as well as the athletic (The Armstrong Lie).

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Color Grading and Workstations
By Karen Moltenbrey

Technicolor Vancouver and NBCUniversal StudioPost in LA talk to us about workstation needs and workflows.

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Visual Effects and Workstations
By Karen Moltenbrey

Some VFX studios use a combination of off-the-shelf and custom options, while others prefer to build their own solutions.

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Workstations Roundtable
By Randi Altman

My Top Five Ergonomic Workstation Accessories
By Brady Betzel

What Makes a Workstation?
By Mike McCarthy

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