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Mark Kenny
Edit Suites
on Apr 2, 2007 at 6:46:24 pm

Folks,

I'm going to inherit a large open space with the brief to install an AV department. We have Racks and Macs with XSAN, tables and chairs galore, but the new space has no walls or floor. Before I lay carpets or build floors to lay cables, or soundproofed walls, does anyone have any advice or know any companys who know how to install AV departments? My ideal world would be portable sound booths like IKEA Saunas, little rooms I can put an edit suite, enough room for editor and a few guests, that way I can move them in future, but perhaps I'm way off the ideal environment for an editor and client cos I'm really a numbers man ;-)

Cheers

Mark


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 3, 2007 at 3:22:28 am

mark,

Bad news! Editing is NOT a "Cubicle Sport". Editors like quiet, private, darkened rooms. Cubicles require headphones and that definitely is NOT ideal for someone working long hours.

As for recommendations on companies, do a google search for local designer/architects in your area. It won't be cheap! Good luck.

mark




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Del Holford
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 3, 2007 at 3:13:38 pm

I agree. Since you have a large open space, the ideal would be to chose how many edit suites you need and allow space to put them in 12x14' rooms. Buy a computer floor (concrete tiles are best but also expensive) and have it 8 - 12" off the floor and use cable trays/races to run wires to the rooms from your technical core area. Your tech core can house all VTRs and equipment not actually needed in the edit suites. Its size depends on how many suites and how many VTRs you have and what edit software you run and what platforms they run on. Peripherals can be run using extender cables but lengths may be limited so you may want to place the tech core in the center of the edit suites. Under the computer floor create baffles (barriers running perpendicular to the cable trays/races) to keep sound from moving under the floor. Then use 2x6 wood or metal studs (depending on building codes - metal is most likely to pass code) to build walls for the rooms. Insulate these with fiberglas insulation. The ceiling can be commercial drop ceiling with 18" batt insulation for sound deadening. This system can be finished with gypsum wallboard (aka Sheetrock) and sound absorbing panels can be placed on interior painted walls. In each room sound wave diffusers can be added to break up standing waves and bass traps in the corners will enhance the sonic purity of each suite. Audio is important in editing, even if post audio may be done later.

This answer is just some suggest ways it could be done. A fine design firm like Walter-Storyk in New York could help you do it all correctly, as they have done audio and video studios for years. A quick google for "audio studio design" or the like will give you more design choices.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS2
Charlotte Public Television


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Mark Kenny
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 3, 2007 at 5:38:26 pm

Doh! I've done so many google searches try to find stuff but never once used the work CONSTRUCTION. Thanks for pointing out the obvious cos I really did miss it!

We're looking at 4 edit suits and 6 19" racks with various decks (we do global so have the full mix of NTSC and PAL) and an XSAN. Current plans are G5/ Intels with dual screens and reference monitors running rom the XSAN and only the ingest/output Macs connected to the racks. That way I only need to run fibre to the edit Macs.

The issue is getting comfortable environments, good sound proofing and air circulation whilst still connected to the big racks of equipment.

Thanks for all the input, it's great to have so many talented people offering ideas.

Cheers

Mark


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Mark Kenny
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 3, 2007 at 5:40:51 pm

I wasn't thinking cubicles in the 'Office Space' sense, but small offices/ soud booths. My question is do I put in sound booths or build wall to the ceiling and sound proof them or put in sound booths. I know there are pro's and con's for all, but my research so far shows lots of examples for building a great edit suite in a room, but not how to build that room. Or 4 of them ;-)

Thanks

Mark


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Doug
Re: Edit Suites
by
on Apr 3, 2007 at 4:10:59 pm

I just did a Google search for "studio construction" and "studio construction consultants"....found a number of sights.

You might try finding a professional in your area and talking to him/her.

Doug


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Mark Suszko
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 4, 2007 at 4:15:06 am

This is in my opinion really something best left to an engineer/architect to handle for you: the savings you get from not having to rip out and re-do something twice or having to live with bad compromises and wrong specs more than makes up for the higher upfront cost.

But here are a few things I would like to see in a facility, from my personal preferences.

1. I strongly believe in the windowless, timeless "editing cave". I used to see all these fancy photo spreads in useless mags like POST, showing highly decorated and fanciful editing rooms with windows, nay, even sun porches, and made to look like everything from submarine conning towers to the bridge of a UFO to a gas station grease pit. No offense meant, Grinner, your rock and roll room was not as far-out as some I've seen, and there's nothing wrong with a litttle kitchsy flavoring here and there, but overly-themed rooms are stupid:-) NO, I believe in creating a dead-quiet, neutral, uncolored, womb-like space, well-ventilated and indirectly lit to individual taste, ergonomic, and all concentrated on the screen and speakers. I want to be able to sit down in the AM and forget time passing until my bladder is about to explode, then look at the clock and see it's past dinner time. What decor there is needs to be out of the peripheral vision of the editor while they are concentrating on the screens. The telephones, if at all present, should be one-way, out-only, or moderated by an intermediary/recptionist, minimizing outside distractions.

2. There has to be room for clients, much as I find them generally distasteful and distracting to the creative process:-) Let me talk about architecture for a minute. I have seen many an edit room that was built along old design principles, emulating the "trench" style live switching rooms of major production offices or maybe the firing room at Canaveral. In such a layout, the editor sits far up front, in the "Sulu/Checkhov" position. Client/Producer and retinue sit in the equivalent of a "Kirk chair", above and behind. The result? Most of the time you can't see the client's facial and body reactions to your work, so you don't pick up subtle cues about what's working and what's not. Heck, you may waste half your preview playbacks playing timelines while the guy(s) behind you on the couch are not even looking.
If you try to keep some eye contact while working, you get a crick in your neck.

This physical arrangement makes the editor seem like the cab driver, and client the passenger telling him where to go; the unspoken subtext is very hierarchical and top-down, where they tell you what to do. In such a physical setup, if you or the client want to create more of a sense of co-creation or creative partnership, he has only one choice; to come up front and cram himself up next to you, bumping knees under the console, getting in the way whenever you want to slide over and work a second or third keyboard or tablet or deck conrols, etc. with his B.O., coffee or smoker breath, and all his papers and work tapes and EDL sheets and other creative detrius. This is not optimal. This description is also not of any "particular" client of mine, more of a composite over many years. They're not all bad!:-)

I have my own answer to this from an architectural and ergonomic perspective. I call it the L-shaped peninsula. Basically, you keep your same console arrangement. To your left, say, runs a peninsula type extension or return type desk, and your client sits at a right angle to you on the far side of this, the narrow, bar-like desk between you, with a second "God Monitor" right there in the crook of the "el" shape, at their left elbow, where he can see it plainly but it does not obscure your vision of each other. Now you have some psychological and actual "breathing room", while still both comfortably close, and you can each make or break eye contact as and when you want while collaborating. He's also got room for his laptop, stuff, and papers without having to balance his latte cup next to your keyboards, switchers, decks, and consoles. To me this is a great layout.

As to suggestions about multiple suites, if you have the room, create a spare one or two, even if it will likely remain empty for the near future. You can use it in the meantime as a backup audio record booth, secure client library room, a place to run the DVD dubber for quick one-offs, a quiet office where the client can have his manhood ripped from him in little fleshy bits courtesy of his home office and supervisor, in privacy, instead of awkwardly in front of you. Stuff like that. If you are teaming up, one of the spare rooms could be a photoshop or animator or audio sweetening or colorist or web comprssionist room or a space for scanning flat art or digitizing into the SAN without tying up an active suite. It will never be cheaper or easier to build out the rooms than right up front and all at once, so build-in some future-proofing at the start. Lay in as much infrastructure and spare capacity as you can afford. Extra, currently dark fiber runs, extra network cabling, extra copper runs, etc.

For soundproofing walls, you have to stop vibration via conduction as well as transmission. Air gaps, rubber insulator strips and huge inertially dead masses accomplish this. I'm a fan of concrete tile/backer board rather than drywall for making the basis of acoustically dead rooms. If it's not practical or affordable for every wall, at least for shared walls or the wall immediatly in front of the noisiest source. If you build the rooms right you won;t have to fix them with expensive sonex treatments later. And you won't have the effect of sitting in a multiplex listening to your quiet drama while a war movie is bleeding in from the cinema next door.

The elevated computer flooring is a good idea, but it tends to sway unless well-anchored and it can transmit noise unless baffled properly. I would suggest that removeable carpet squares are okay over the top of that except you don't want the square carpet tiles right in the area where you run your chair back and forth a lot: in one of our suites, the rolling action is always prying the tiles up and creating a bumpy, ugly mess on the floor there. One-piece carpet in the runner area please:-) Ours is a multipurpose edit and control room originally designed for a 3-5 man crew. Nowadays it's a one or two-man room, but the old ergonomics forces a lot of chair-rolling to reach various controls all day.

And be careful on the carpet selected; we had no choice in our building, and the micro-fibers released daily by normal traffic lead to monthly air filter checks on the gear that look like your home dryer lint trap. Maybe running electrostatic air cleaners overnight would help keep the gear from clogging up so soon...

I agree that a central tech core or alley is the way to go, perhaps if you want four rooms, you run them either side of a narrow enclosed alleyway, which adds some sound isolation to at least one wall of each suite, but keeps common cable runs short and accessible, and it becomes a place to hide your racks of noisy or hot-running stuff too.

Create a "team space" where a handful of people can lounge around in close proximity and talk over projects and concepts and plans and whatnot. This is the area where you can "theme it up" to the hilt with wacky decor if you want:-) A break room with dinner-height conference tables is not right for this: you want low couches and benches and maybe low cocktail or end tables, one large flat space with track for holding up storyboards or whatnot. The difference is subtle but vital.

That's the kind of space I'd not mind working at.



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Steven L. Gotz
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 4, 2007 at 1:12:35 pm

Wow! I really, really enjoyed reading that post. I think you should turn that into an article for the Cow.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 4, 2007 at 2:23:26 pm

You're very kind to say so, but it's just opinions, not really article-worthy unless you collected a much larger sampling of opinions from all kinds of editors and could derive some sort of consensus out of it.

I'm sure there are editors that love a bright, open, heavily-decorated workspace. My office where I write and do my email and whatever is crammed with chatchkies and wee-wahs, from my toy robots and sci-fi toys to my tiki-bar mug and memento collection, (complete with autographed head shot of Don Ho), and about a hundred pictures of my wife and kids. But in the editing room, I really don't want all that around. Depending on if I'm doing something like a long roto or paint session, I'll have music or dialog from AMC chanel on the cable TV playing to listen to, but that's about it. When I'm really into my editing, I'm basically in church.


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Del Holford
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 4, 2007 at 2:30:23 pm

Wow Mark, that was great! Once you committed to writing the post you went all out. Thanks for your great insights.

I love your L shaped idea and have seen it here in town. My suite is the old paradigm mainly because I do a lot of HD and the 42" plasma for the clients really only fit on one wall. If I could lay out the suite facing the client and get a large HD monitor in there, I'd definitely do it. With the new XBR2 Sony sets on a stand that's more possible than 6 years ago when the Sony PFM-510 was the best game in town.

Del
fire*, smoke*, photoshopCS2
Charlotte Public Television


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geo
Re: Edit Suites
by
on Apr 4, 2007 at 6:22:01 pm

I might add that if you are doing color work, you need a simple, color-neutral environment. The first thing I do with a new space is give it a couple of coats of matte paint that has been color matched to an 18% gray card. The lights in the room should be selected for color temperature and CRI, and it is also a good idea to have a white card nearby for additional reference. It looks boring as hell, but works great for editing.

George


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person
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 4, 2007 at 11:29:00 pm

i'm an editor at an offline boutique and windows are very welcome. comfort and creative aesthetics are important to us and our clients. you can see photos on our site http://sliceedit.com >what is slice>photographs. i've spent thousands of hours at many finishing facilities. for obvious reasons, these environments are darker, quieter, neutral and without windows to control color temperatures and brightness. this doesn't mean these suites should be stale and impractical however. spend the money on the most tasteful/comfortable furniture and leave the starwars paraphernalia at home.

the areas outside these dark and gloomy rooms should be more colorful and brighter for clients and staff (not shopping mall bright). save space for client work stations as well, so that busy producers, offline editors, art directors, writiers, directors, can leave the suite to make phone calls and work on their laptops without disturbing the creative process. if you're a one-stop-post house (meaning edit and final output) these points still should be applied. But maybe you don't need the most expensive furniture to make it work for you.

just know a comfortable client is a happy client. and a happy client is a returning client. and don't forget to do stellar work when he/she's there.

Editor


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Rich Rubasch
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 7, 2007 at 12:36:04 am

One thing I think I would amend to Mark's great post is that we always put in some kind of hard floor around the edit desk. In our small edit bays we currently have vinyl tile on concrete. No dust, no static, easy rolling in the chairs. I prefer rolling around on the tile and finding a good pattern in a tight weave can be difficult or expensive.

Other than that I would also add that you must have dimmers on all lights. Backlighting the computer monitors is good on th eyes...just a very low wattage soft light behind the monitors. Ikea has many options here.

As for our walls, we found a great gray paing by Ralph Lauren called Studio Gray (Home Depot) and it is a great paint.

Good luck,

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media


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Mike Cohen
Re: Edit Suites
on Apr 11, 2007 at 7:13:26 pm

Don't forget storage space. My office is half of a loft, so my office and editing setup are on the same long desk. We do not have clients in the office too often, so it stays kind of messy.
We have floor to ceiling shelves dividing the loft in two, giving lots of space for tape storage. Honestly a dedicated storage room for tapes, camera gear and clutter would be great.



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cowcowcowcowcow
ben
Re: Edit Suites
by
on Apr 25, 2007 at 7:24:14 pm

you need lots of action figures. i prefer ninja turtles. i cannot edit without an action figure. I cannot stress this enough. when you have a crap director or producer over your shoulder, sometimes its easiest to explain things using the action figures as models, cause there actors blow and can't deliver a line to save there lives.

oh wait...thats the project I am working on right now.!!! thank god for leonardo.


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