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March 2018

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Page 13 of 43 12 POST MARCH 2018 PRIMETIME fter 14 seasons and more than 300 episodes, ABC's top-rated and Emmy Award-winning medical drama, Grey's Anatomy, is still beating strong. Whether it's a talented cast, likable characters, outstanding writing or gripping storylines, or the fact that it's been streaming on Netflix for the past few years and attracting a whole new view- ership, the Shonda Rhimes creation is on the horizon of becoming the longest-air- ing primetime medical show in the US. While star Ellen Pompeo (as Meredith Grey) has remained the show's central figure on-screen since the pilot episode, which aired in 2005, many crew mem- bers behind the scenes have also made their own contributions towards estab- lishing the show's look, pacing and tone. Each week, a team of editors, colorists, audio mixers, audio editors and more contribute to Grey's high Neilsen ratings. Here, in an exclusive interview with Post, Lisa Taylor, post producer on Grey's Anatomy, talks about the show's transi- tioned to digital, how its maintained that signature pacing and its overall workflow. The series has been on the air since 2005. Technology has changed quite a bit over the years. Technologically speaking, what do you think has changed the most since the beginning and how did it impact the workflow? "When we first started the show, we were shooting on film, and we didn't make a change to digital until season 10, so that was one of the biggest changes that we made. It took us a while to switch over be- cause we wanted to maintain the integrity of the look of the show. There was a lot of push, they wanted us to go digital earlier on but the technology wasn't there. We stayed with film as long as we could and we finally made the shift. We picked the [Arri] Alexa [camera] because we felt it was closer to a film look, so now we shoot with Alexa on SxS cards. That was huge. "Also, our workflow has shifted from tape-based to digital — we deliver digital- ly as well." What is the workflow, with footage moving from production to post? "We shoot at Prospect [ABC Television Center in LA] and have the SxS cards and compact flash cards sent over to Arsenal [Arsenalfx Color], that's our post facility in Santa Monica, and they transfer the SxS cards in their Colorfront system and they sync sound to Apple ProRes 4:4:4 and they keep all the files on their SAN. Then they upload via Signiant Media Shuttle directly to our editorial suite, so we don't have to pick up dailies any longer, and are transferred to a hard drive. In the morning, our PA just takes the drive, hands it to the AE, copies it over to the [Avid] ISIS and they are ready to start cutting (on Avids — color is done on Lustre). "Back in the day, the PA would go and pick up the DVCAMs and then we'd have to digitize to an Avid. It's so much faster and more efficient now." Grey's is still a top-rated show. What do you think are some of the main contributions from post that help keep it unique and relevant? "The show's music sensibility always keeps it interesting and relevant and fresh. Post- wise, it's the same with editorial. I think editorially, even though we've changed tonally over the years, initially there was a balance of comedy and drama and then it shifted a little bit towards drama and now we're shifting it back towards com- edy. I think having editorial embrace the change, that keeps it relative and fresh. I think post is helpful in that regard. "Everybody in post, and every depart- ment, just tries hard to give everything to maintaining the standard that has been set and I think everybody just brings their A-game…a lot on this show." Any significant post challenges on the series? "A lot of times we have an ever-chang- ing schedule. Some of the choices for our facilities embrace our ever-chang- ing schedule. They are helpful in that regard and make it less of a challenge to get things done. But scheduling is always a bit of a challenge. After all these years, though, we're kind of like a well-oiled machine. We've been doing it for so long, and working with the facilities and the teams that have been on the show for a long time, we just kind of work really well together and to make it as seamless as possible." What's the turnaround time on an episode? "For a regular show, it's 21 days from the time principal photography ends to the time when we deliver. Anything less than that is considered 'rush post.' And in the beginning of the season, we have a lot of that. That's actually one of the biggest challenges — rush post — of course! "By the time we lock the show to the time we're on the dub stage, if there's less than five days there, it's considered rush post. And there are cost consequences to that, because there's not enough time for everybody to finish — sound and picture — and everybody works overtime and double time and etc. "Also with rush post, there's less time, a lot of times, for the editor's cut, the director's cut and the producer's cut. Everything gets truncated. And we do that a lot, especially when we're in the beginning of the season when we're airing eight episodes in a row. It's always a pleasure in the middle of the season, when we're not in rush post. It's wonder- ful. But then at the end, it crunches up again. Especially with Grey's Anatomy, where we do 24 episodes, which I know normally, people do 22/21 episodes, so we shoot more as well." Grey's seems to have a very specific editing style and pacing. Can you talk about that a little? "Yes, exactly! Last season was the first season we had all new editors. I've been on the show since Season 2, and we had an arsenal of editors for a very long time that kind of maintained that and helped ABC'S GREY'S ANATOMY A EXAMINING THE POST WORK- FLOW FOR THIS LONG-RUNNING DRAMA Lisa Taylor BY BY LINDA ROMANELLO

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