Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Post Production Workflow

Taking a break from another minor edit of the film (I've trimmed 13 min from the First Final Cut) I thought I'd share a little about our post production workflow.

Ryan Adams
at Alpha Cine is the mastermind of our workflow. I made it difficult on him by not nailing everything down before hand. But then again, I didn't even meet Ryan until after the shoot, so I guess you can cut us a little slack.

Based on the workflow he used on Calvin Reeder's brilliant Little Farm and The Rambler (which Ryan shot - did I mention that he's also an amazing DP?), Ryan is an expert at upresing Digibeta to HD-CAM. I had to see it to believe it, but when I did I was completely impressed with the sample results he showed me, so was Ryan McMackin, the DP. If you're shooting film and don't want to spend $35,000 on an HD workflow it's worth looking into. This is how it breaks down:

1) Shoot on film - aprox. 13hrs of footage.
2) Telecine onto Digibeta (Alpha Cine)
3) Transfer to Hard Drives (Alpha Cine)-The project lives on three external hard drives, a total of 2.5 terabites.
4) Edit with Final Cut Pro 5.1.4 on a G5.
5) Output Uncompressed to Hard Drive.
6) Color Timing with Ryan.
7) Upres to HD-CAM.

We're still on step 4 so I'm a little vague on the final steps but that's it to the best of my knowledge.

I've left out a few of my missteps and one step not listed that you may want to take between #s 3 and 4 is to de-interlace the footage. Ryan thought it might look even better. I know for certain that it'll look better when you export video for the web, but other than that I really don't know.

If you have the money you'll probably just do an HD-CAM or D5 workflow. My buddy Deep is currently trying to figure out the post for his first feature and was tipped off by Chance Shirley to a company called Cinelicious which offers a workflow that isn't quite HD-CAM quality, but so close that you shouldn't be able to tell. They're a new company and the quote he got was really good (tho not quite as amazing as we first thought). It would still have been beyond the MRR budget, but it sounds like a great option if your funds put you in the middle of the two workflows.

If you have questions or think I left something out, let me know. If you decide to pursue this workflow yourself, I highly recommend you seek out Ryan at Alpha Cine. Through trial and error on his own films, he's picked up little tricks to the process that can get you a better result than if you go to with a company that just dumps your DigiBeta onto HD-CAM.

Finally, it probably goes without saying, but figure this out before shooting if at all possible. Unless you don't want to see any footage before the end of your shoot.

1 comment:

Chance Shirley said...

By "de-interlace" the footage, do you mean remove the pulldown frames and convert the footage from 29.97i to 23.976p?

Because you should definitely do that when dealing with film (or any other material shot at/near 24 fps). It'll save you a lot of trouble down the road.