In many industries, hiring a consultant is a common practice. Sometimes you need the help and guidance of an industry expert to assist with the execution of your project. Broadcasting is no different. Networks with existing studio facilities may need some outside guidance on a facility upgrade. Companies who are new to the world of broadcasting may need a full-service consulting approach – creative consulting, operational consulting, systems integration, or physical studio construction. But what does a broadcast consultant do? Let’s take a closer look…
We’ve worked with a number of clients on developing their needs assessment. A needs assessment outlines the technical infrastructure, workflow tools, personnel and budget needed to launch, manage and run a broadcast operation. For this type of engagement, we typically meet with all stakeholders who are involved in the development of the particular project. We’ll meet with them to discuss their goals, objectives and budget parameters. Once we have feedback from everyone involved in the project, we’ll put together our assessment, which is often used to kick-start phase 1 of the project.
Consulting on production workflows is a standard component of broadcast consulting. This is typically most relevant to existing broadcast operations that are looking to streamline their productions, but is also relevant for new network or OTT channel launches. When we consult on production workflows, we look at content creation from start to finish. How is content being shot and gathered and how does it work its way through the production chain before being delivered to consumers? Once we have a clear understanding of the workflow, we’re able to make suggestions on how to streamline or improve that process. This could be anything from adding automation tools to hiring new personnel to help with the workload.
People are the most important part of a production operation. Advancements in technology have made it easier to produce and distribute content – adding a great deal of automation along the way – but you still need engineers who know how to troubleshoot when things go wrong and creative thinkers who know how to shoot and produce content. When it comes to consulting on production staffing, there are a number of factors to look at. First: are you adequately staffed? If not, where do you need the most support? And if you’re over-staffed, what departments can be streamlined or restructured? Second: is your staff adequately trained? Do they know how to use all of the tools at their disposal? If not, then you’re not maximizing the potential of your production facility.
Providing an equipment analysis is a key component of most broadcast consulting engagements. For this piece of the puzzle, your consultant will take a close look at all production equipment that makes up your technical facility. They’ll identify gear that’s at its end of life, equipment that’s nearing obsolescence, and identify any software updates or security patches that are needed. If required, your consultant will provide pricing for replacing and upgrading any necessary technology. If dealing with a new network launch, this step of the process would include developing a comprehensive equipment list needed for the operation – based on the client’s needs – and developing a detailed capital investment budget. This step of the process may also include developing heat loads, power requirements and HVAC needs. If you’re building your facility in an existing space – as opposed to starting from scratch – you and your landlord will need to know what infrastructure is needed to support your equipment.
Broadcast Systems Integration
Once you’ve mapped out your needs, finalized your headcount, and secured your budget, the next phase of the project is the actual broadcast systems integration. The fun part. During this phase of the project, a production consultant will oversee the physical installation of your production operation, serving as a project manager from start to finish. They’ll help you with the engineering, CAD drawings, floorplans and provide oversight of the installation. They’ll develop an overall timeline for the project with key milestones and make sure that those deadlines are adhered to so your project doesn’t derail.
Of course, not all production consulting arrangements are the same. Different clients have different needs (and budgets), but there is great value in getting an outside perspective. Check out our broadcast consulting page for more info, or give us a call… we’re happy to chat.
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