Easy as Pie: Pie Town Productions Uses Axle AI Software for Remote Post Production and Search

Remote ‘smarter media’ workflows allow 60-person post production team to work effectively throughout COVID transition; axle ai software replaced legacy MAM.

Ever since the pandemic started, many of us have been working from home. At Pie Town Productions, a 25-year-old TV production company based in North Hollywood, they’ve been working from “home” for over two decades. That’s because they produce many of the well-known house renovation/flipping programs on HGTV, including House Hunters, Flip or Flop, Flipping 101 with Tarek El Moussa, and Christina on the Coast. The company is one of Greater LA’s most successful and prosperous reality shops.

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Yet even Pie Town had to adjust when COVID-19 obligated everyone to “shelter in place,” forcing the vast majority of its staff to work remotely. Fortunately, they had implemented axle ai software to manage all their media, which comprises 100 terabytes of online/work-in-progress clips stored on Avid NEXIS Pro shared storage, and another 200 terabytes of near-line data on a NAS (network attached storage) system. Axle’s web-based user interface is engineered to be accessible from anywhere on any device. Further, axle enables them to select clips from low-resolution proxy media, with final rendering occurring back on the servers, to avoid having to transfer huge files back and forth during postproduction sessions.

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“With axle in place, we can now all look at the same clip, at the same time,” explains Dana Besnoy, Pie Town’s SVP of Post Production. “Axle has connected us in a way we didn’t realize was possible when we all started scampering out of the building at the start of the pandemic.”

Pie Town has a very busy schedule, shooting three to five full episodes of House Hunters per week in addition to its local productions. In all, they produce about 200-300 episodes of reality and lifestyle programming per year. The raw footage is copied to the NAS at the end of each shoot, and axle ai automatically generates a low-res proxy, which is then available to the entire team. In all, between 40 and 60 Pie Town employees access axle ai on a daily basis.

“This allows all of our departments to access and review media with their needs in mind. Production can review for camera/audio concerns and/or crew feedback. Story can get a head start on their string out. And Post can access clips needed for transcription,” notes Besnoy. “Axle has been a great tool for tying us all together.”

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