IBC 2011: The Foundry's Hiero fills the gap

Posted By Russell Dodgson on September 12, 2011 07:05 am | Permalink
The main aim of my trip to IBC this year is to look at up and coming conform, editorial, versioning and review systems. First on my list to visit was The Foundry, the boys and girls behind my beloved Nuke. At IBC this year they announced the arrival of a new piece of software that fills a gap that their suite of tools had.

Until now Nuke has been fast developing as not just the go-to film compositing software, but also as a powerful and cost-effective addition to a commercials toolset.

Hiero is designed to fill just that gap. I sat down and had a through walk through with the Foundry's Matt Plec. At first glance Hiero is fairly similar in its UI to the recently-discontinued Storm, so it is clear where that Storm R&D has been repurposed.

The first thing they were keen to make clear was that it is not a Smoke or Flame, and is not currently being designed as a finishing tool. The easiest way I can explain it is in the stages of post production that it could possibly fit into.

Stage 1

It can conform from EDL or XML to its timeline and has a smart and intuitive interface for EDL wrangling and problem solving. Once this is done your media can be tagged, edits minorly (or majorly) adjusted with a standard set of editing tools, and projects versioned and snap-shotted in varying states.

Stage 2

Following this the software seems as though it is going to be able to leverage Nuke's toolset in the background to deliver various versions into the VFX pipeline. One of its biggest benefits looks to be a vast array of Python hooks that will allow shops of different sizes to customize and tweak the software to their own specifications, an approach The Foundry are always keen to encourage with open development. For delivery into the VFX pipeline these python hooks should allow users to create their own naming conventions, rules and directory structures for Hiero to deliver to.

Stage 3

Once shots have been worked on Hiero can also version on a shot by shot basis. Facilities should then be able to use Hiero as an automatically updating timeline where each clip is a container through which you can access varying versions of the same comp or shot.

Stage 4

To finish off it will then output into your format of choice for delivery to TK or wherever you choose to add your final touches.

So what does this all mean? For commercial facilities I can see the opportunity to use Hiero as the foundation for a number or sophisticated workflows that, most importantly, integrate well with single shot compositors such as Nuke.

Just within the conversation we had today a number of possible additions and tweaks were discussed that got the boys at The Foundry excited. You could tell they are itching to get back and take all their IBC feedback and make it a reality.

As I understand the beta is coming fairly soon, so those lucky enough to get on the beta can try and use it in anger.

An exciting piece of software on the horizon.