Dolby, Digital Vision and Red turn out for an Epic evening about workflow

Posted By Barry Goch on March 21, 2011 07:06 am | Permalink
BURBANK — Hello gentle readers! A group of industry leaders came together at Dolby’s Burbank office to learn latest from industry heavyweights Dolby, Digital Vision, and a surprise guest… the new Epic camera from Red.

The evening started well with a generous spread of beer a pizza — a true post professional’s power snack. I was held up at work and by the time I arrived the session had already started, and I only got to see the last sequence presented by colorist Doug Delaney from the restoration of Apocalypse Now.

The imagery looked fantastic and the scene shown was the first encounter between Capt. Willard and Col. Kurtz. I haven’t seen Apocalypse Now on the big screen since its original release and it’s still just as powerful a cinematic experience as then. Freelance colorist Michael Smollin, who graded Skyline, was next. He shared the film’s unique workflow.

The film was shot last year on the Red One with the new MX sensor. The directors of the feature, the Brothers Strause, want to wring the most image quality out of new Red sensor as well as provide the highest quality plates for the more than 1,000 VFX shots that are part of the film. They built a finishing pipeline of 16-bit photometric linear OpenEXR files for all finishing work. The Brothers appeared via a prerecorded message from their headquarters to detail their desire to create the highest quality film possible by maintaining the highest resolution throughout the pipeline.

Smollin demonstrated the dynamic range of the imagery with shots from the Skyline trailer showing how imagery that appears to be blown out with no detail can be recovered using the extended dynamic range provided by the Red and the OpenEXR pipeline with the Digital Vision Nucoda Film Master.

(Red's Ted Schilowitz and Travis Sims with Digital Vision's Alexa Chollet and Dolby's Bill Admans are pictured)
Finally, the surprise guest of the evening was revealed: the brand-new Red Epic. One of the many new advancements of Red’s next-generation camera is a full 1080p video tap. Dolby’s Bill Admans, senior product marketing manager imaging, was quickly able to adjust to this guest appearance and pipe the live video feed from the Epic to the Dolby’s PRM-4200 professional reference monitor downstage and the beautiful screening room’s 2K projector. In the darkened theatre Red was able to produce a clean image at ISO1600. Very impressive.

After the presentation, we filtered back out into the screening room foyer where there was another Epic hooked up to a Dolby PRM-4200 monitor, and the clarity of the image and detail from that combination was remarkable.

I enjoyed learning about this cutting edge workflow from such a gracious host.

For those of you interested in seeing more of the Red Epic, check out this video