Bridging the divide between production and post production


In the last couple of years we have seen a considerable increase in the adoption of digital film cameras. This is not only fuelled by improvements in the technology and image quality but also by the adoption of 3D filmmaking, which significantly lends itself to the digital arena. Digital cameras have brought some wonderful benefits to the filming community, 3D included, but unfortunately it has also highlighted a number of potential workflow issues that need to be addressed by Productions today.
Data file based recording to Solid State media produces huge amounts of image information that must be copied and archived off before it can be re-used, with 3D doubling such data with LE and RE (left eye and right eye) capture required. To ensure a seamless workflow between shooting on set and post production, this data also needs to be logged, transcoded, displayed and output before it can be sent to editorial and other departments.
This takes time and skill, and Pure Digital Services supplies such skills. The question that the industry is asking itself is who is ultimately responsible for making sure these tasks get completed correctly?
When shooting 35mm film previously production companies would use a film lab close to the location to deal with logging and transferring film stock. These labs were staffed by skilled technicians who would communicate decisions to the Production. With a new digital age, this responsibility lies with the Digital Imaging Technician (DIT), which can encompass many roles on set including image management, data management, quality control, archiving and setting up a digital infrastructure. It’s a role that has evolved naturally without a full understanding that the task potentially entails.
For an industry that rightly prides itself on quality, a situation that allows room for potential error can’t be good. Wouldn’t it be better if the responsibility was handed over to a dedicated team with the specialist knowledge to get the job done correctly?
This is what led us to launch Pure Digital Services (PDS), a new company that bridges the gap between shooting and post production by offering full digital motion picture lab and storage services.
Having spent the last 10 years filming and developing pioneering ways of shooting digitally, the team behind PDS has recognised that the time is right for this type of service. With years of digital knowledge and file based workflows behind us, dealing with cameras such as the Dalsa, F35, Alexa Arriraw, Viper, Red MX, Epic and, of course 3D, the need for a full time dedicated team on set to nurture the data process is becoming essential.
We acknowledge that many post facilities would rather they had rushes delivered in a transcoded format so that they can start work on them on instantly, allowing more time for finishing projects. The problem of relying solely on a single DIT on set to complete these tasks is simply one of scale: as the scale increases, so does the demand on the DIT. Larger data loads, such as the Epic shooting around 3Gb/min and HDR around 6Gb/min will require a full infrastructure of those data assets, add 3D into the equation and this naturally doubles the workload. The nature of the work is still similar to film, and we wouldn't expect a film loader to process the actual stock. One of the main reasons for establishing PDS is that we feel the role needs to be done by a dedicated team on set, a tight and knowledgeable team with experience of VFX and Post to work with the DIT, said DIT being a part of that team.
Here at PDS we have compiled a team of post and VFX experts and cinematographers who have all honed their skills over many years. The company, which covers international markets including UK, Los Angeles, South Africa and India, facilitates a seamless digital workflow that will ultimately reduce production costs and take the time and hassle out of file transfers and archiving.
PDS philosophy is to bring to the equation inherent time and cost efficiencies. By providing full digital negative services, full insurance cover and a proven track record, PDS can run a productions digital workflow and delivery requirements with little or no fuss. We take responsibility for the digital rushes and create an atmosphere that takes pressure away from both the DIT on location and the post house.
We have already managed the digital negative and processing requirements for BBC Drama, BBC Natural History, commercials for Nat West, Hadrians Wall Project, features shooting Arriraw in India and Canada and F35 data shoots in Sweden. At present budget is coming from the production companies but Mulligan believes this will change as the industry adapts to this new model.
We also feel that perhaps budgets should now be seen as more of a joint effort. With front end rental now extremely competitive, the costs could be seen as part of the post process, pre-post if you like. By taking the savings on camera and enhancing the back end budget, the costs savings in time would far out way the perceived front end expense. Ultimately this will save money through time management and efficient use of the kit available.

The cost savings begin with the time we save on set. By introducing stringent quality control, we can sign shots as being completed and keep the production moving along. The service we provide supplies the skills and knowledge needed to run the digital pipeline on set and in post, allowing for a seamless process to become a reality.


More information about Pure Digital Services can be obtained from the company’s website www.puredigitalservices.com

Tags: Pure Digital Services | iss049 | digital cameras | dit | 3d | pds | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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