Jamies 30 minute meals are served up


The Challenge
To shoot, edit, grade and conform 40 x 30 minutes episodes of Channel 4’s Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals within an extremely tight timescale, whilst ensuring that quality wasn’t sacrificed throughout the process.
The Solution
An efficient file-based workflow incorporating Avid Media Composer and Avid DS with RED and Canon cameras were used to make sure multiple episodes could be worked on at the same time, whilst Avid’s Unity storage solution ensured that all assets were retained and identifiable in the post process at anyone time. Working with FilmLight’s colour grading system, Baselight, to give the look and feel to each episode, the team at Splice proved that a well thought out workflow and a strong creative team was the perfect partnership for Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals.
The Workflow
RED and CANON 5D Camera’s
RAID drive
ISILON server
Exported to DNXHD185
Avid Media Composer
Avid Unity storage
Filmlight Baselight HD
Avid DS
Sony HDCam SR
Products Used
Avid Media Composer
Avid DS
Avid Unity
Summary
Jamie Oliver’s latest Channel 4 show, Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, saw him returning to the UK to show families how to make mouth-watering meals, from scratch, in real-time during half-hour episodes. Produced by Jamie’s own production company - Fresh One – Splice were tasked with creating a file-based post production workflow to incorporate offline, online and the grade. The series started on Channel 4 in the UK on 11 October 2010 and ran daily for four weeks with an additional four week run commencing 17 January 2011.
All forty episodes were shot on location in London with two Canon 5D and three RED cameras. The team shot up to four episodes a day, meaning there was a huge amount of a material to take through the post-production process. Shooting for eight hours a day, the five camera’s were generating 24-hours worth of source material, translating to 24 terabytes over a ten day period. Splice’s file-based Avid and FilmLight workflow proved essential to managing and post producing such a large volume of material within such a short space of time.
Avid Media Composer and Avid DS proved to be the perfect offline and online tools to bring out the best results from the source material. Avid’s open and collaborative approach within the post production workflow meant that importing material from the Red camera into Media Composer was painless and trouble free. Additionally, with the benefit of secure Avid Unity storage, multiple episodes could be accessed and worked on at different stages in the post production process at the same time.
At the end of each shooting day, Fresh One delivered one folder of native media per episode - a combination of the RED and Canon output which was stored on G-Raid FW800 drives. These were then copied and verified using Splice’s Isilon server. From here files were transcoded to DNX185 for the offline to begin using Avid Media Composer.
Splice had just under five weeks to conform, grade, online and mix 40 episodes. With Jamie and the team at Fresh One reviewing the footage at each stage, time was of the essence. Media Composer was an essential tool in the offline process due to the complex nature of the real-time element of each programme. Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals made use of a multi-screen display technique to bring an extra element of pace and speed to Jamie’s creative process and to the viewer. Media Composer’s ability to create and view multiple timelines and organise the range of source material in a way that easily told the story of each recipe being constructed, made the editor’s job a whole lot easier. Additionally, working within a quick turnaround period meant that Media Composer’s user friendly interface and its ability to create sub folders really helped the editor to efficiently organise the material for each separate recipe that was being created.
After the offline edit was completed, each programme was then graded using FilmLight’s Baselight. Baselight’s integration with Splice’s Avid editing infrastructure also helped to speed up the workflow. As soon as a show had been ‘offlined’ in Media Composer the files were passed back to the Unity storage where Splice’s colourist Chris Rodgers could pick them up and begin working.
“Words like ‘beautiful’ and ‘photographic’ were used when we set the look for the series,” said Chris. “We wanted to do justice to the footage without making it look overly graded or heavy handed. The food was the star of the show, so we were tasked with making it look the best it could. A plate of medium-rare beef, for example, needed to be exactly the right shade of red.”
One of the grading challenges was to match the Canon 5D footage with the RED footage. The footage from both cameras looked great but very different from each other. The Canon 5D footage naturally had more contrast and looked more saturated and heavy in the shadows. To help match the 5D material with the RED, Chris keyed the shadows and lifted the gamma. The saturation in the reds in particular was extreme, so he used the Hue Shift feature to desaturate the reds only.
At the end of each day Chris would send each signed off show to the Avid DS for the online edit. There was no need to play-out to tape as Baselight uses Avid native MXF files so footage from BaseLight can be directly transferred into Avid DS. “One of Baselight’s and Avid’s great strengths is that they do not work as an island, they integrate seamlessly together” added Chris. “Baselight communicates with our Avid Media Composer and DS systems without making a fuss and this dramatically speeds up our output.”
Avid DS Nitris proved to be the perfect tool for completing each episode taking the output of Baselight and referencing the edit decisions made within Media Composer. DS allowed for the addition of graphics and text that complemented the source material to be added over the final shots. Working in an HD environment, using Avid DS ensured that the look and feel of the studio environment was carried through to the final episode. Damian Dolniak's On-line editor and director at Splice adds “DS handled the HD multiple layer picture-in-picture composites very well. The effect information from the Media Composer Offline came across seamlessly, allowing us to complete up to 3 on-lines in one day." Even with such a tight schedule, the end results are certainly visually stunning and a perfect accompaniment to some mouth watering food. The second part of the series run can currently be seen on Channel 4 in the UK.

Tags: iss052 | RED | CANON 5D Camera | RAID drive | ISILON server | Exported to DNXHD185 | Avid Media Composer | Avid Unity storage | Filmlight Baselight HD | Avid DS | Sony HDCam SR | Avid Media Composer | Avid DS | Avid Unity | N/A
Contributing Author N/A

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