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TF1 Media Factory + Newsbridge Remote Production Case Study

Fri 26, 06 2020

Introduction: TF1 + Newsbridge

This past week Newsbridge CTO Frédéric Petitpont (virtually) sat down with TF1 Media Factory’s Deputy Director Yves Bouillon during a live webinar interview to discuss the current remote production situation within TF1 Media Factory during global confinement due to the current internationl health crisis.

In case you were wondering how we generated the entire exchange in english below, it’s quite simple! We used the Newsbridge platform. Once the interview was finished, we simply uploaded the file to the Newsbridge platform and used the automatic speech-to-text functionality with an english output language (it was originally in french and our team edited the final version).

Transcribed Interview from French To English (Thanks to Newbsridge Platform!)
Please find a shortened recap in english of the interview below:

Frédéric Petitpont:
Here we are live! Hello everyone, thank you for joining us on this 1st webinar dedicated to content production for broadcast usage. So now that we’re in this period of confinement we have a lot to say! I’m Frédéric Petitpont, co-founder and CTO of Newbridge and I am very happy to welcome Yves Bouillon, Deputy Director of TF1’s Media Factory. Yves, can you tell us a little bit about what’s going on at TF1 Media Factory and what’s happening on a daily basis right now?

Yves Bouillon
Hi there, yes so the Media Factory is the entity that manages all content preparation that will be shared via antenna and digital, and so it’s divided into 3 parts: the first, which is media sourcing, the second which is media preparation and the third, the diffusion of this media. So as for me, I’m leading a team of about fifty people for media preparation which includes the verification of this media, tagging this media… but also all that concerns accessibility, better editing and the transformation of this media obviously overseeing this type of activity here.

Frédéric Petitpont:
Ok great well today, we are going to see in fact how COVID 19 is impacting us. So let’s start by talking about the pain points. Yves, what were the first difficulties that you encountered during the crisis- what were some that you started to encounter when the confinement was put in place?

Yves Bouillon
First difficulty was the following… it was that, we have a particular device, which operates with equipment which is rather a bonus and which has not necessarily been designed to be able to work from anywhere, especially from outside, this is the first point. The second point is that for efficiency purposes we set up all of our montages working directly with our storage, also an added bonus, so we were left with a seemingly difficult situation and in particular, due to working with the weight of high resolution, to outsource all of these elements.

Frédéric Petitpont:
And did you have any sort of technological solutions which helped you out, allowed you to manage and in fact maintain the rate of production today despite everything going on?

Yves Bouillon
Yes, so the paradox is that we have… we are doing even more. Why? Well because like our competitors and friends, you know we had to change the programming and also pay attention to the budget and additional costs to ensure that we adapt completely to the environment. And as such, we had a lot to do in terms of reassembly. For example, maybe you have seen it but for Koh Lanta or The Voice for example, which we had to cut into 2 parts to be able to take care of 2 shows rather than one, this is a this is an example.

We’ve equipped all our collaborators with their own laptops, mobile phone, both of these giving a certain autonomy. Next…we decided to work now in low resolution. This ultimately put us in a position to be able to continue working with less applications in terms of resources and keep our activity running.

In fact what we can say is that we have employees who work remotely on programs such as Koh-Lanta, The Voice… which continues to deliver in terms of quality. How does this work because I imagine that there were definitely bandwidth concerns, we talk a lot about the internet being saturated, especially at this time. Well you are absolutely right, one of the key points was to focus on the status of each of the bandwidths of our engines. We were, we are prioritizing the work by identifying the work and understanding if the urgency for this specific work is very strong.

Yes it’s really the level of urgency, a strong point. We organize work based on that, it’s the first point. The second point was creating a one-stop shop to be able to manage the movement of media assets, their exit and re-entry. That way we always have a sort of control tower, in our case a one stop shop La Fabrik which is able to send links securely and accelerate the editing material, back and forth.

And then finally there is the notion of consulting and this is where the Newbridge platform comes into play. For example, with The Voice, when it came to editing The Voice, our positioning is that we needed material from old shows, we are not going transfer everything from the editor, the idea was to capitalize on the Newsbridge Platform. To put all assets from the Voice on the platform so that there is only one consultation, in low resolution, on the Newsbridge platform for the editors, and they only retrieve the small snippets which they need. So in short, one of the pain points, it’s how I manage to maximize the limit of high resolution media movement as much as possible.

Frédéric Petitpont:
What is interesting in fact in what you say, and I find it fascinating, is that there is an organizational dimension. That is to say…ok we have this bandwidth constraint but if I understand correctly, someone, an editor who does not have a lot of bandwidth, whether it’s connection sharing or in ADSL, we can ask him or her to work maybe on something like a teaser or a billboard in minutes or in summary- we have someone who is going to have a fiber connection, a good connection in fact, I imagine, working on episodes of an hour or longer so that he or she can actually send their work.

Yves Bouillon
That’s exactly it. That’s exactly it, and with only one sequence, that is to say that there is really strong coordination of human work. And it is necessary to have a good level of management to effectively measure the volume of media which I need to treat on one hand. And then what is the urgency in terms of time, on the other hand, and from these 2 elements to identify which will be the right way to edit in able to deliver, it’s about time.

Frédéric Petitpont:
And now if we go back a few months ago. Is this problem that is linked to the bandwidth, and the movement of the material, would it have been the point the 1st point that you would have identified as the largest pain point, in fact?

Yves Bouillon
I think I think so, it was one of the most difficult points. And it’s true that today, we are so used to being able to manipulate media in a safe zone in our environment very easily that, at a certain point, it is also true, you know working with daily personal information and annoying to see an image that is freezing up, taking time… yes so the internet connection really is a key point, although 5 G will take care of it, I’m sure that not all of our employees will be equipped with 5 G tomorrow, so we really need to addressing this problem. So thinking “how can I manage to do my work with what I have.”

Frédéric Petitpont:
And in terms of feedback what’s interesting as we’ve already mentioned before, but ultimately, the equipment of the territory has a huge impact in the capacity for everyone to be able to work in these conditions. Someone who works with a fiber connection more specifically recovering assets at a high speed, it will not change his work so much. For example, since, well, we have connections which are more limited, some white areas where it’s going to be much more complicated. I understand that this is the most interesting point. And concerning these points that you set up so much organizational technology… I’m wondering in the aftermath, are there t hings that will last? Such as remote work for editing teams. And I am often told that some production companies do not believe in Cloud etc, they don’t believe that an editor can work remotely. And so are these points going to come up in the future or will things go back to how they were before the confinement? What is your opinion on the topic?

Yves Bouillon
On a personal level, I am convinced that there is a before and after COVID in our current working methods. W e can see well and in particular in their, in the programs affected the aspect of control that you evoked earlier. We are so lucky to be in a position to control, we know roughly how long it takes to create a teaser, we know how long it takes to make a calibration. S o say that I entrust an editor, who is not necessarily onsite, but who works from home and knows his deliverables, like ” ok listen I need 10 teasers tonight at 6 pm”. This is something that is completely measurable, quantifiable, so I have no difficulty there. At a certain point when there’s no doubt if the equipment and tools are going well, knowing that there is a decent internet connection, and that employees are capable of working with media in the security conditions that we are fully capable of setting up via dual VPN networks with double verification, you know of I have no difficulty with this way of working. And quite the contrary, so today we have spaces that are competent, but ultimately under- used. And you say we should be doing something else, so yes I have to think that there is a before and an after and that we will be able to capitalize on the experience we have been through. Thinking of another point, without a doubt content verification with high resolution. Because right now with constraints, we are forced to work with content with low resolution.

Frédéric Petitpont:
Okay, so we expect that post COVID will have a lasting mark in terms of production, and I think we’re going in the right direction… with more remote working, more attention to the organization, also.

Yves Bouillon
Yes, then that’s for sure, the focus on employees is fundamental. And again, it will not be a black and white plan, it will be necessary to adapt. Because, today, it is certain, even though it’s not ideal yet as there are certain conditions in which they are working…you know in front of their small screens, all that. So not necessarily ideal, but I think there is an IT aspect that we are going to pick up. W e will find a way to say, yea we can work in other ways too.

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