Monday, 28 February 2011

On Set Post Produciton

On set post is a major new development in the industry and whilst it's motives probably lie somewhere in the ever increasing complexity of digital acquisition, I think directors and producers will soon be wondering why they ever tried to make films without post staff on site. As an editor I have been constantly trying to push the point where I start working on a film forwards, to well before the film shoots and the guys I know in sound post do the same. It creates better work, its as simple as that. We are starting to see that shift now and we need to embrace that wholeheartedly. On the feature film I am editing at the moment, they have just finished doing 2 days of pickups and because I was already on board editing the footage from the first shoot, I can already tell that the new footage is going to be easier to edit, just because I was able to have some input. So you can imagine my excitement at having just been hired onto another feature nearly 2 months before it shoots. I will be onset, with an assistant, backing up, transcoding and editing the RED One footage on a MacbookPro hooked up to a G Speed drive. If I can establish that the new MBPs run Avid OK then I may even look into the possibility of utilising Thunderbolt. I doubt budgets will stretch to a Thunderbolt raid, but maybe a Thunderbolt to eSata or miniSAS going into a G Speed? Even that would produce mouthwatering speeds by Laptop standards. So why this obsession with speed? Well, because basically I need to be cutting, and if I'm constantly waiting for transcodes then there ain't much use in me being there. I would be a glorified DIT and not much else. The processor and disk speed are always your major bottlenecks. I'm already getting the fastest MPB processor available so it makes sense to maximise disk speed as well. Occasionally we will utilise native R3D access over AMA into Avid MC5 when we really need to know how a scene is cutting before we move on and hopefully getting our drives as fast as possible will at least remove one of the hurdles. What kind of performance we'll get on a laptop, I'm not sure but hopefully it will be enough to make some basic cuts if we ride the settings down all the way. Mostly we'll be using AMA to transcode to DNxHD36 and we'll stay in that for all of editorial. After that we'll be sending an EDL and the R3Ds for finishing, most likely on a DaVinci 2K, outputting a 2K DPX sequence for Digital and 35mm print. Oh what fun lies a head. I'll be testing this workflow in the coming weeks and will post results here.

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