Lime Pictures produces Channel 4’s ‘Hollyoaks’ TV series, in its 20thEditshare-holyoaks4
year, based on EditShare storage and Avid Media Composer to integrate
acquisition, back up, editorial and archive.

Lime Pictures Keeps ‘Holyoaks’ Flowing on EditShare & Avid Workflow

‘Hollyoaks’is one of the UK’s longest running soap operas, now in its 20th year of production, produced byLime Picturesand airing each weekday on Channel 4 and E4, with an omnibus - the entire week’s worth of episodes edited into one long show - airing on the weekend.

Lime Pictures has been producing reality and scripted drama TV series in the UK since the 1980s and changed to tapeless production in 2001. In 2008, ‘Hollyoaks’ was among the first soaps to transition to an HD environment. “We use ES Connect, Geevs and Flow to help integrate our material in our production workflow,” saidAlistair McMath, Media Manager at Lime Pictures. “We have four key stages in our workflow, starting with acquisition. We then have the management side of preparing and making media available to view and edit, as well as creating back up, followed by the craft phase and finally archive.”

With up to 1TB of content ingested on a daily basis, Lime Pictures needed a storage system that would not only store its media, but also help them keep it organized in a way that made it easy to retrieve. To manage this level of acquisition, four galleries are equipped withEditShare Geevs Studio MC, used for multiple-channel, synchronised ingest and management of the production’s cameras, including automatic, incremental metadata from each camera such as episode, scene and take.


In the studio, the Geevs video servers capture all of this content from several permanent sets into a224TB EditShare XStreamshared storage system. For security, Geevs records directly to its internal drives and to the EditShare in parallel, so that in the event of a network outage production on set does not have to stop. Once the recording is finished, a copy is moved to theEditShare Ark Diskstorage for nearline backup. The ability to make each recording with the metadata already entered at the front end is an important factor for their team. It remains there for the duration of the media lifecycle, roughly eight weeks.

Therefore, project set-up is crucial, and includes designating folder structure and naming conventions, with clips stored by episode number. Production personnel can see what they are shooting, when they are shooting, as well as see everything that has already been shot. It’s particularly helpful to the talent, enabling them to review shots for continuity and pickups for dialogue. They can play back 10 seconds or so of a scene’s clip to help the actors better understand the scene they are walking into.

Editshare-flow-logger-monitor Editshare-holyoaks

Location capture is onSony SxSmedia, which is logged and ingested usingEditShare Flow Ingestto the shared storage by a team of operators in a central ingest area. The operators add metadata to each clip, when the file is ingested and rewrapped. Flow makes an H.264 proxy for every file as part of the ingest process.

“From our desktop systems, we can useFlow Browseto track every clip from the moment it is captured on set through to post production, nearline storage and finally onto the LTO archive,” said Alistair. “Production staff also use it to check recordings against the scripts and to ensure continuity, because the actors may appear in scenes from different episodes in a single day.” Meanwhile, media assistants using Flow Browse link the ingested material via 10Gb Ethernet to a floor ofAvidedit suites runningMedia Composer, where Lime Pictures’ editorial team produces the five day-to-day episodes and the weekly omnibus.


The show’s audio dubbing is carried out onPyramixworkstations connected directly to the EditShare shared storage, where they receive the AAF from the Avid suites in a folder on the storage space. Should dubbing be required for certain shots, the dubbing suites have access to every clip on the EditShare.

After final review, the program is rendered out of the Avid and goes through onsite QC, where any necessary file corrections are made, and is then delivered via digital file transfer to Channel 4. Once episodes have been transmitted, they are stored on the500TB EditShare Ark Disknearline storage for up to a month so that they can be readily restored to the main XStream storage to edit in flashbacks and similar uses. Finally, the finished programs are archived using EditShare’s Ark Tape to LTO6 data tapes for long-term storage.