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Hollywood's Latest Breakthrough: Polycom Telepresence and UC Intelligent Core Transforming Television Production
Posted on Monday, March 7, 2011

From 'The Good Wife' and 'Fringe' to 'Ask Oprah's All Stars' and 'Dr. Phil,' Polycom is Changing the Game for How TV is Edited and Produced

LOS ANGELES, NEW YORK, and PLEASANTON, Calif. - Mar 07, 2011 : High-definition (HD) telepresence systems from Polycom, Inc., a global leader in unified communications (UC), are fast becoming the preferred solution for producers of filmed series and daytime talk shows to bring hit TV shows to viewers.
With Polycom's acclaimed ability to help organizations of all sizes achieve "location liberation" around the world, Hollywood producers are increasingly turning to Polycom telepresence and the Polycom UC Intelligent Core™ infrastructure to enable their east and west coast production teams to collaborate face-to-face on award-winning primetime series like The Good Wife and Fringe. Meanwhile, Polycom telepresence is just as popular with daytime TV shows, where it is the platform of choice for interacting with remote guests on such hits as Dr. Phil, The Doctors, and the new four-part series on OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, Ask Oprah's All Stars.
They all rely on Polycom's renowned high-definition (HD) telepresence experience, which reliably delivers smooth, natural motion and crisp, clear images, and sterling audio quality via Polycom® HD Voice.
"Telepresence is rapidly revolutionizing the way TV is created and presented, and Polycom is the telepresence platform of choice for TV's hottest producers," said Susan Hayden, Polycom executive vice president of worldwide marketing. "Whether they rely on Polycom for filmed series, for pre- and post-production, or for on-camera communication with talk show guests, today's producers demand a reliable, crystal-clear HD connection so participants feel and appear as if they're in the same room. They know they'll get that experience with Polycom."
Polycom Stars in Primetime Production
Primetime producers use Polycom HDX® room telepresence systems to collaborate remotely for both pre-production and production applications. Polycom HDX systems feature Polycom UltimateHD™ technology, which enables producers to transmit and receive voice, video, and content in HD for exceptional performance – an essential capability when reviewing dailies, wardrobes, casting calls, script rewrites, set designs, or when searching for potential new locations. Among the shows that rely on Polycom:
  • Fringe. The popular FOX TV sci-fi series is shot and edited in New York, but studio executives, writers and effects artists all reside in Los Angeles. Bad Robot Productions bridges the gap with Polycom telepresence, which lets writers, actors and production personnel meet face-to-face to deliver a startling TV experience against tight production deadlines. Program executives increase productivity and keep production costs down.
  • The Good Wife. This Emmy Award-winning CBS drama films a new episode every eight days, a blistering pace made more difficult by a production that spans two coasts. The Polycom HD telepresence solution enables show producers to overcome the production challenges of the show, which is set in Chicago but shot in Brooklyn, N.Y. Episodes are written in Los Angeles, then directed and filmed in Brooklyn. Footage then heads back to L.A. for editing and post-production. The Good Wife airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT on the CBS Television Network.
"Polycom gives us the flexibility to encompass all areas of our production," said Brooke Kennedy, executive producer for The Good Wife. "We talk about the script, then we talk about the shoot, and then we look at cuts together. We become whole when using the Polycom systems."
Daytime Hits Put Polycom on Center Stage
With packed production schedules often calling for several episodes to be taped per day, daytime producers rely on Polycom HDX telepresence systems in the studio and the Polycom Converged Management Application™ (CMA™) Server, part of Polycom's UC Intelligent Core, to simultaneously manage, schedule and provision multiple calls with remote guests. Depending on the show, those guests may use Polycom telepresence units shipped directly to them or at facilities located near their homes. Or more frequently, guests use mobile applications like the Polycom CMA Desktop software client, which instantly converts Windows PCs and Mac notebooks into a video conferencing endpoint. Polycom is also extending its leading video technology for other mobile devices like the Samsung Galaxy Tab tablet. Polycom's support for open standards gives producers options for equipping remote participants with standards-based video systems.
  • Ask Oprah's All Stars. For the first time, Oprah's All Stars - Dr. Phil, Suze Orman, and Dr. Mehmet Oz - appear on one stage to answer viewers' pressing questions about health, wealth, and mental well-being both in-person and through the use of telepresence. This four-part special offers unprecedented access to Oprah Winfrey's go-to group of masters as they share their wisdom and help viewers jumpstart their best year ever, and the natural, face-to-face connection through Polycom enables the experts to consult with guests in a relaxed and interactive setting. Believed to be the first time ever, one guest even participated live via Polycom telepresence while aboard a Virgin America flight, to help conquer her fear of flying. The stunning call was featured on air and in this online video (video call at 2:45 mark).
  • Dr. Phil and The Doctors. After years spent agonizing over unreliable, low-quality video links with remote guests, producers of these two daytime hit shows cured their production ills by upgrading to a standards-based telepresence infrastructure from Polycom. With Polycom, the producers have cut combined production costs for the syndicated daytime shows by up to $250,000 a season. Even more importantly, Dr. Phil McGraw and the hosts of The Doctors now interview guests via a clear HD connection from a solution they can count on.
"We always prefer to interview guests using video," said Rich de Michele, executive in charge of production for Dr. Phil and The Doctors. "It elevates the viewing experience. But that's only if it works well. And with Polycom, it does."


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