Big Brother Canada Case Study

BIG BROTHER CANADA is shot using over 90 cameras, running 24 hours, 7 days a week, across 72 days. Material needs to be delivered quickly to editorial for the creation of three one-hour shows each week during the season.


For the first three seasons, FNTECH deployed eight Cinedeck RX recorders for the show connected to central routers. Cinedeck’s master/proxy record capability was central in meeting Big Brother’s tight delivery schedule with its ability to encode Avid native media. From the moment that a clip was complete, post was able to access and work with those files, entirely doing away with transcoding.


With the initial adoption of the FN Workflow Suite in season 4, dramatic improvements in media management and efficiencies were seen in daily post production tasks.  FNWS introduced automated duplication of all recorded media immediately after record stop, ensuring that a verified copy of the media was created on both easily accessible near-line storage and LTO tape for offsite archival.


For post production, the FNWS live-logging systems were used to generate over a million log notes throughout the course of the season. These were applied to Avid timelines as markers and were instantly searchable through the advanced H.264 Proxy / Note Search Engine, greatly increasing the ease of finding specific material. Additionally, communication between editors and assistant editors was facilitated by Central Chat and Editor Request modules, helping to accelerate editorial processes with instant communication.


Now in the fifth season of Big Brother Canada, the FN Workflow Suite has introduced AAF support with the ability to automatically generate multi-cam groups within Avid with advanced audio track renaming and mapping. The automated grouping of media within Avid saves assistant editors, multiple hours a day of manual grouping and log note application and allows them to accelerate the editorial process.


Rather than having to conform to a predefined workflow, FN Workflow Suite was tailored to meet the needs of Big Brother Canada. With software programmers on site, FNTECH could quickly develop and deploy custom features requested by Big Brother’s production team.


Custom work developed for Big Brother Canada included Live Stream status reports and real-time Twitter updates. A notable and fun example of custom development for Season 4 was the “Request Cupboard.” When a contestant wanted to make a request, they would open a small cupboard which would automatically trigger a record on a Cinedeck channel. When the contestant closed the cupboard, the record would stop and FNWS would notify all producers on their dashboards that a new recording had been created. Season 5 introduced a dashboard specifically designed to display useful production information. With a quick turnaround from concept to deployment, FNTECH was able to execute the show’s creative vision by tailoring advanced solutions to the production’s unique requirements.