Monday, April 22, 2024

DejaEdit – the Essential Collaborative Tool for Top Swedish Producer

Anna Knochenhauer is a well-respected Stockholm-based film producer / post-producer with an exhaustive catalogue of impressive titles to her name which include the likes of “Euphoria” featuring Alicia Vikander; “Welcome to Sweden” season 2 starring Jason Priestly and others.

Carving a successful career of VFX-heavy feature films and drama series, she declares that DejaEdit is a revolutionary film tool that should be included in every production as industry standard. She uses DejaEdit in all her productions now, including recent films she produced – “Alone in Space” (2018), “White Wall” (2020) and “We Got This” (2020).

Highly acclaimed, Anna’s successful career in the Swedish film industry began back in 1997 before she started working for herself through her company Knochenpower since 2006. Anna lead the post-producer course at the National Film School of Stockholm’s Academy of Dramatic Arts before post producing more seriously from 2012, with feature films such as “Shed no tears” (aka “Känn ingen sorg”, by Mårlind & Stein) and “The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared”. She went on to produce “Young Sophie Bell” (by Amanda Adolfsson) together with Gila Bergqvist Ulfung and “Alone in Space” (by Ted Kjellsson and Henrik Ståhl) together with Sonja Hermele.

Passionate about her work, Anna notes, “I love being able to work on more than one project at the same time, which is always the case as a post-producer in Sweden. I enjoy the variety between projects, and working with numerous production companies, producers and directors as well as post-production facilities all over the Nordics and Europe. Post-producing mostly drama series is my main line of work, and I also get to produce a feature film every now and again too which is fun.”

What does DejaEdit do?

DejaEdit is a media file synchroniser that gives editors and operators the ability to collaborate super-efficiently between multiple remote Avid editing platforms. “I depend on DejaEdit for all my productions because it ensures that all the media files and timelines that we have created or imported in one connected system are then shared and mirrored to the local or network storage of other connected systems. The best part is that this all takes place really fast, securely and automatically in the background.” Anna affirms.

Applications of DejaEdit include allowing multiple remote editors to work together on a single project, or speeding up file exchanges between location based editors, DITs, and VFX houses, or allowing projects to be accessed anywhere and anytime, while maintaining a robust and up-to-date local copy of all required media files, using an internet connection.

Anna outlines why her role is so vital in the filmmaking process and how DejaEdit helps streamline everything in production, “There are so many parts to my role that I see as very important, but my key priority is being in charge of the full workflow: – right from the cameras, to the sound recorders and all the way through to final masters. This entire process has to work flawlessly, and we have to maintain the meta data accurately and meticulously in the correct way throughout the entire process.

“It’s also important to work early with the producers, directors, DP’s, production designers and VFX supervisors to collectively plan all of the complicated scenes or shots that could involve VFX, in order to find the smartest solutions.”

However, once shooting has begun, Anna’s main focus is on the material that needs to be backed up safely, transcoded and synced perfectly for it to reach the editors as soon as possible.

“The fact that DejaEdit ensures that all media is pushed automatically to all connected Avids means that the Assistant Editor (AE) or Editors don’t ever have to search for any missing media files. This used to usually take up a lot of time, especially for the AE in old school workflows. DejaEdit has certainly saved us a lot of time and headaches. We seldom see that good old “MEDIA OFFLINE” sign in Avid anymore, thanks to DejaEdit.”

In production, a lot of Anna’s time is spent having to communicate effectively with the VFX vendors, and the Editors, as well as the AE, “I find that by having the VFX vendor using DejaEdit too, it vastly improves the communication pathway and has made everything so much easier overall.”

“DejaEdit has had an impact and has changed how I approach future projects,” she says, “DejaEdit is now the new normal for me. From these recent productions, it was apparent that using DejaEdit has been an advantage in so many ways. The combination of the DIT (Digital Imaging Technician) and AE being able to collaborate remotely during the shoot, through to how quickly the editors can actually edit a scene after it’s been shot, has been down to DejaEdit’s efficiency, resulting in a successful outcome all round.”

Anna adds further, “Working with DejaEdit in productions is almost revolutionary to me and I wish it were the industry standard, and hope it becomes best practice in the future for DejaEdit to be used in the way we have on projects like “White Wall” and “We Got This”.

Anna briefly takes us through how DejaEdit has facilitated the production and post process on these recent productions that she produced and post-produced recently.

How DejaEdit helped synchronise project files in “Alone in Space”

Anna first used DejaEdit in her role as producer/post-producer in children’s SCI-FI adventure movie “Alone in Space” directed by Ted Kjellson for Nordisk Film/TrustNordisk and co-produced by Chimney. It was a fairly VFX-heavy project within a 20 million SEK budget. The efficient copying of media to all the different Avid stations using DejaEdit was paramount to the successful outcome of this project.

It is important to note that “Alone in Space” was shot in a studio outside of Luleå in Northern Sweden. The rest of the post-production team were located in different cities and buildings, therefore relying on DejaEdit’s collaborative approach to media file synchronising. Theo Lindberg was the additional Editor on the project based outside of Stockholm working remotely. Boutique post house CAN Film managed the entire workflow which included back up as well as editorial from their location in Gothenburg.

In this project, DIT Adam Söderholm used Colorfront Express Dailies for offload, backup, sync, QC and transcode, using sound files names to label the synced clips. He generated h264/mp4 Dailies files and uploaded them to the online platform io.gates for easy access for crew and producers and created files in DNxHD36/MXF formats for Avid.

For the first three weeks the crew were fortunate to have the presence of award-winning Avid Editor Hanna Lejonqvist on set as main Editor who started editing the film on the material received from the DIT via DejaEdit. Shortly afterwards, either Editor Hanna based on set at the studio or Editor Theo, who was based outside of Stockholm while Hanna was on vacation, could then proceed with cutting the scenes in Avid. As soon as a camera card was full, the crew had the camera card and a sound card delivered to the DIT so they could work very efficiently. Anna explains, “Even though the DIT was the only person doing all the offloading, backup, transcoding as well as automatic log and sync work, as well as organisation within Avid, he managed to achieve all of this in a normal 8-hour working day. We didn’t even have to bring in our Assistant Editor (AE) Anna Fundin until after the shoot was over, and even then, she was only required for half of the time. DejaEdit helped with the process and it proved to be a really cost-effective way to work compared to the traditional way.”

Anna adds, “DejaEdit’s “ToSet” function was very practical when we had Theo assemble it for us from his out of city location. Every lunch and wrap, our director Ted could pop in to an Avid suite in the studio to have a look at the edit of yesterday’s scenes or the ones shot that very morning. It worked out to be such an ingeniously practical way of working thanks to DejaEdit.”

The DIT also imported the offline video and sound files to Avid, completed a basic sorting procedure for the Editor and then he used DejaEdit to synchronise all of the project files along with the media. The picture post production and VFX work was then handled by Chimney in Stockholm and the audio was completed at Ljudbang in Luleå and Stockholm.

“Alone in Space” was effectively a pilot project of DejaEdit at CAN Film, also owned by the founders of DejaSoft. This made the project extremely exciting for me and also for the team at CAN Film whose team was in charge of the workflow.” Anna remarks, “I absolutely fell in love with the system after the initial presentation. After DejaSoft made further tweaks and alterations at my request, and created a few new functions that I required, I didn’t hesitate to try it out. Ever since using DejaEdit, there’s no looking back.”

DejaSoft’s CEO Clas Hakeröd states, “The whole process was certainly expedited by the fact that Anna was so accommodating. She had the final authority and could call the shots which gave her greater freedom to implement DejaEdit across her production workflow. She was great to work with in helping us fine-tune the functions with DejaEdit in a real live project.”

How DejaEdit enabled remote collaboration in “White Wall” (2020)

Upcoming drama series “White Wall” for SVT/YLE/DRG, directed by A. Salmenperä and A. Zackrisson was primarily shot in a remote village in northern Finland.

Samu Heikkilä was one of the Avid Editors working remotely on the project from his home studio located outside Helsinki. The other Editor working on the project was Kristofer Nordin who was stationed at the Stockholm-based production company’s premises where Assistant Editor (AE) Sanna Carlson was also located. After the production phase, Sanna was able to assist both Samu and Kristofer across their remote locations using DejaEdit with media file exchanges.

Anna outlines the process, “Thanks to DejaEdit, there wasn’t a requirement for an AE during production, as our DIT did the automatic syncing with Silverstack Lab and imported the files into Avid for the Editors. It is important to emphasise that DejaEdit helped enormously as we didn’t need to rely on an AE during the shoot as our DIT was able to manage all the normal duties as well as the logging and syncing part of the AE’s job during the workday. Therefore AE Sanna was only required to start the project at a much later stage, and doubled up as the VFX editor on what was a VFX-heavy production.”

The VFX, DI including colour grading, online and mastering then took place at Post Control based in Helsinki where DejaEdit was used. Anna expands, “Implementing DejaEdit throughout the VFX, colour grading and online stage at Post Control meant that our AE could easily share cuts and scenes in layers during the offline with VFX Supervisor Tuomo Hintikka. He could pass media files back and forth effortlessly as slab comps in Avid. It was also immensely helpful to be able to share VFX shots or even entire episodes this way for a double check with Tuomo, before we were ready to do VFX turnovers and full turnovers of the episode. Henceforth, all turnovers had minimal errors on the final deliverables, which sped up the process significantly and it worked out remarkably well.”

DejaEdit’s file sharing role in “We Got This” (2020)

The television show “We Got This” directed by Patrik Eklund for SVT/Viaplay/Banijay was mostly shot on location in and around Stockholm. Peter Wendin and Hélène Berlin were the Editors working on this project in Avid suites located at Ljudbang in Stockholm. Just like with the post set-up in the “White Wall” project, the DIT William Del Rio also used Silverstack Lab for offload, backup, QC, auto-sync before importing material across to Avid for the Editors. The AE Teddy Scherlin came on board once the shoot was over and worked half-time to assist Editors with file exports, VFX-turnovers, and full turnovers.

Anna continues, “We used DejaEdit at CAN Film’s picture post facility in Gothenburg and at VFX vendor DUPP Film. We utilised the same efficient functions in DejaEdit for the VFX process we had applied in post-producing “White Wall”. Once again, during the offline, DejaEdit enabled the AE to easily share cuts, scenes in layers and transfer media with the VFX team at DUPP Film.”

Anna comments further that “Some post facilities have not yet started to work with DejaEdit though and this means that the auto sync function in the dailies and Silverstack LAB still work in a more “old-school” workflow, which I find really frustrating now. It’s like going back 4 years in time to a much less effective process. I do find that the old way of doing things results in time and money literally going down the drain. I feel that DejaEdit is also vital in the VFX vendor’s I/O-position too.”

Anna shares what Editors have said about DejaEdit being used on her productions, “They’ve all been incredibly positive about DejaEdit. Sometimes they wish that the AE could reach their full Avid project and not just what has been shared deliberately. Sometimes the AE needs to go into the editors’ suites when they’re not there to fix a few things that can’t be reached via DejaEdit for now, but new features are being added and upgraded all the time and these issues are being resolved.”

Nikolai Waldman, CTO at DejaSoft concludes, “We are delighted to receive such excellent and productive feedback from professionals in our industry like Anna. We’re continually working on new developments in DejaEdit that help productions. In the upcoming version 3 of DejaEdit, we’ve included many new features that customers requested.”

As if Anna Knochenhauer is not busy enough, she already has another exciting new feature film up her sleeve titled “SUB”, written and to be directed by Peter Modestij – with her production team using DejaEdit of course, she would have it no other way!


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