• 20 October 2023
  • EVS.com
Rachel Pillar
With a remarkable background in working with cutting-edge EVS technology, including LSM, LSM-VIA, IPDirector, and the latest IPD-VIA web-based content management system, Rachel has become a go-to authority in the industry. She has also recently been chosen as our first ambassador for our MediaCeption asset management solutions where she leverages her deep expertise to train other operators and media managers, equipping them with the necessary skills to excel in the field.
What is your background, and how did you get into the broadcasting industry? 

I started working in the industry in 1992 as a Studio/VT operator at S4C, a Welsh language TV station. After three years, I moved to BSKYB in London and became a freelance EVS operator in 1995. I was very fortunate as EVS was very new and there were few operators. I mostly worked on cricket productions and traveled to some amazing destinations like Sri Lanka, Malaysia, and Pakistan. As EVS introduced new solutions, I began working with their IPDirector and mainly Ipedit which was a great editing tool that enabled me to edit while on air with the same timeline.

What kind of productions do you currently work on and what equipment do you use?

Today things are a little calmer and I don’t travel as much as we have an energetic 3-year-old! I now mostly work on local rugby and football matches with some festivals and cricket events during the summer season as an EVS operator. I work with IPDirector at BBC Wales to ensure that the streams all end up in the correct place, as we use Avids to make turnaround voiced highlights and craft more arty openers and closers. We also use IPDirector in the OB trucks to do the same as it’s the best go between the EVS and Avids and vice versa, sending edits back to the EVS for playout. I also undertake the task of guaranteeing equipment functionality with some other companies on the road and it's sometimes a challenge to get everything working in the timeframe given! I'm also involved in training new EVS operators and IPD media managers as we need younger people entering the industry (and definitely more women!). 

How would you explain the role of a media manager to someone outside the industry?

When disc-based recordings began back in 1992, the art of making a replay dramatically changed from the traditional tape-based approach.  Suddenly, us operators gained the ability to play back ongoing recordings, enabling real-time storytelling and analysis to keep viewers entertained! Archiving was also on tape and with the introduction of EVS and its innovative archiving/media management tools, a world of possibilities for sending, receiving, and organizing media emerged. IPDirectors are primarily used to manage media on large-scale events that involve lots of clipping,  logging, sending, and storing of media assets. Take, for example, the logging area at Wimbledon during the summer, where productions can utilize these logs to enhance their own broadcasts. They can search for specific matches or highlight noteworthy moments or exceptional gameplay. This enhances the overall sports TV experience, providing viewers with engaging analysis and recaps. The new IPD-VIA allows for remote logging, ingest, and playback with a good editing tool for creating our own highlights even quicker! 

What skills are essential for media managers? 

You need to be organized and know exactly what media is required where on the day to ensure smooth workflows and efficient media management.  You also need to be well-versed in the various codecs and formats since you may be receiving media from different sources.  Remaining composed under pressure is another critical attribute, especially when you have editors/directors who are pushing for their material. And time management skills are equally important as every second spent moving media can impact the timely delivery of the final piece on air.  And for IPEdit users, you need to be brave - or should I say crazy - enough to edit on the same timeline you’re playing out, knowing that any minute the player timeline can catch up with the live broadcast!  

How has your role evolved since you began? 

I used to make replays on an Ash Vale slow-motion controller on a tape machine until EVS came along and introduced its tapeless technology which revolutionalized the industry and dramatically changed the way we manage media and make replays. Another major change was the introduction of remote production, which accelerated after Covid. Thanks to the power of IP technology, it is now possible to carry out replays even from the comfort of one's own home and EVS has played a pivotal role in facilitating this transition. As an example, EVS' IPD-VIA offers web-based applications that cater to the needs of remote productions, allowing many users to manage media effectively no matter where they are located.   

Rachel Pillar Wokingham office
What does the EVS brand mean to you? 

EVS is a reliable brand that truly values its users.  They have created an unparalleled broadcast solution that has provided work to many freelancers and staff around the world.  Thanks to EVS, I've had the opportunity to travel and work on some amazing events that I would never have had the chance to see otherwise.  Moreover, their team comprises some friendly and dedicated individuals who actively listen to their customers and are always open to new suggestions. To me, they are not just colleagues but also friends, providing invaluable support in this dynamic and ever-changing industry.