October 2, 2007


The Darjeeling Limited is about three American brothers who take a train ride across India to renew their bonds. The film was shot in India and involved a number of challenging locations, including aboard moving trains.

Orbit Digital Midtown worked closely with editor Andrew Weisblum to create a flexible yet streamlined and mobile editorial solution. Film was to be shipped from India to Midnight Transfer in London for dailies processing, including a Spirit 2K transfer to HDCAM, supervised by Midnight Transfer's head of production Greg Barrett.

Alison Carter, Weisblum's assistant in London, would then load the dailies into a full Media Composer from the HDCAM transfers, creating both 14:1 SD and DNxHD 36 versions with synced audio. She would later email Weisblum the bins and the SD media for the dailies could be downloaded from a secure data center in India, copied to FireWire drives and delivered to him on location.  HD selects could also be sent as necessary.

Two road cases were also put together by Orbit to accompany Weisblum on his travels during the shoot.  The first contained a G5 Mac-based Avid Media Composer with two Terabytes of FireWire storage, a DVD recorder, a mixer and speakers. The second case had an Apple PowerBook with Avid Xpress Pro, two 300GB FireWire drives, an eight-hour battery pack and power converters. The mobile G5 system was loaded with Media Composer 2.6 on one side of its partitioned hard drive, and a Beta version of Media Composer 2.7 on the other to allow the viewing of DNxHD 36 media.         

The G5 was used by Weisblum at his hotel during extended stays in Jodhpur or Udaipur. When more remote locations were called for, the PowerBook got the call.

After wrapping principal photography, Weisblum relocated to Manhattan's Inn at Irving Place and continued cutting using the mobile G5 system, along with three Avid Adrenaline setups with Unity storage provided by Orbit — one for Weisblum, one for assistant Abbi Jutkowitz, and a software-only system for edit room assistant Brian Gates.  Working with full sets of SD and HD media, both with sync clips, editing continued with the 14:1 SD material. 

The DNxHD 36 workflow allowed the team to quickly create HD versions for screening purposes. The HD versions were also used for reviewing visual effects and for final approval.