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NEWS

Demystifying On-Set Post Production at DGA’s Digital Day

July 4th, 2012

Los Angeles, CA - With workflows evolving at revolutionary pace the subject of On-set Post Production seems to be recently garnering a world of attention. This past summer, SIM Digital CTO, Chris Parker was invited to join an expert panel at the DGA’s Digital Day conference to shed some light on the topic.

Life with BoysPHOTO: From the left Sasha Gervasi, Gavin Hood, Jonathan Chibnall, Chris Parker, Gavin Barclay, and Michael Cioni

Parker shared the stage with directors Sasha Gervasi and Gavin Hood, editor Jonathan Chibnall, producer Gavin Barclay, and moderator Michael Cioni, CEO of Lightiron, to discuss The Pros and Cons of On-Set Post Production. The panel explored the many ways technology is changing the way we shoot and edit, now allowing the production process to happen simultaneous to post.

During the panel discussions Chris Parker was able to share recent experiences with developing on-set solutions for producer (and co-panelist) Gavin Barclay (photo inset) for the production of the hit series Suits and Covert Affairs. “Both shows had unique challenges and so we really needed to develop workflows that addressed their specific needs.

“With Covert Affairs, they were doing a lot of shooting on location in remote countries that weren’t equipped with production services they needed” explained Parker. We helped them by customizing portable Data Management Carts and Coloring stations to help QC all footage before it was expedited back to our (Bling’s) Toronto facility for Dailies processing and immediate transmission to editorial staff based in Los Angeles via a high-speed data pipeline. While elements of the post process were able to happen during production, Covert needed to move quickly through various countries so it didn’t make sense both logistically or economically to employ an on-set editorial or finishing solution.”

Suits, on the other hand, is a revelling example of on-set post working at its best. Suits shoots on the Arri Alexa and maintains a completely digital workflow that begins with Data Management, Color Correction, On-set Dailies and Finishing Services all happening alongside production. “Part of what makes on-set post so employable on Suits is that the production is essentially stationed to a studio environment and there is little travel for location shoots. The footage moves conveniently from the Alexa camera through data, dailies and coloring to a portable finishing station where they can begin to conform and online edit using the latest Davinci software. It’s remarkable to see how efficiently crews are able to work in the digital realm” said Parker. “The process has been so effective that Suits has carried it through their second season.”

The On-set Post Panel at Digital Days was one of the most talked about seminars since more productions are looking to these services. Companies like Bling Digital (a division of SIM Digital) have been leading the way in developing new systems and processes to help, producers, directors and editors achieve better efficiencies and improved workflow capabilities. After providing the audience with working examples, Bling provided a live demo of the on-set data management process for the audience as a DIT captured footage on an Alexa, transferred the footage to a computer station, and uploaded the footage to a program for viewing on an iPad that was wirelessly linked to the projector.

While on-set or near-set post solutions are not suitable for every project, producers should consult a reputable workflow service company prior to production to help them determine the best workflow strategies. By outlining their specific needs and anticipated challenges, these specialists can help architect workflow systems that deliver the solutions they’re looking for.