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Fancy Film Post adds Digital Vision’s Nucoda Film Master
By Sammy Loren
|February 7, 2011
LOS ANGELES — In post production, even simple shows can be difficult to finish. But with the right tools, post houses are discovering that with challenges come opportunities.
Take for example Fancy Film Post Production (www.fancyfilm.com), a boutique post house located in Silverlake. Like many professional post shops, they employ Final Cut Studio and Adobe Creative Suite to offline and online their projects.
Then longtime client Lone Wolf, a documentary production company based in Maine, approached Fancy Film with ‘Underwater Universe.’ A History Channel series with an eclectic mix of talking heads, run-and-gun reality, reenactments, animation and archival footage, the project offered plenty of finishing pitfalls.
The kaleidoscopic range of images and sources encouraged Fancy Film to look for a finishing system that would up their ante. In January 2011 they purchased Digital Vision’s Nucoda Film Master. “While the filmmaking process takes months and even years to complete, film finishing is the gatekeeper, the last defense,” explains Bill Macomber (pictured), principal at Fancy Film. “Why use a workflow that leaves room for error?”
Unlike more democratized apps such as After Effects, Color and Motion, the Nucoda background renders, thus streamlining the process and decreasing the risk of glitches in the final product.
Likewise, efficiency and quality played major roles in Fancy Film’s decision to upgrade to the Nucoda Film Master. “The workflow simply saves time and money,” comments Macomber. “But what gets everybody excited is that we’re coloring on one of the best systems in the world.”
As a boutique post house specializing in everything from features and reality, to corporate videos and documentaries, Macomber says he needed a coloring system that was both fast and highly versatile.
In the Nucoda, he found both. “We were handed archival surfing video shot with a consumer camera in 1994. We needed to marry that to footage shot on professional HD cameras from a recent production,” explains Macomber. “The Nucoda made it so easy to resize and remove video noise from the old footage and add grain to the new footage. You can’t even tell that they were shot over a decade apart.”
Coloring the documentary is Michael Smollin, lead colorist at Fancy Film. “The reenactments were shot on HD video, interviews on greenscreen and the archival footage on Digi Beta,” explains Smollin, referring to Underwater Universe. “I’m trying to enhance the images the best I can and ultimately create a balanced picture. On the Nucoda I can create a highly stylized look that’s simply unachievable on other programs.”
Working in realtime is everything. These days, over-extended producers don’t have the time to sit around while a project renders. “Just the ability to watch your final product in realtime — immediately — saves everybody time,” says Macomber. “One of the great advantages of the Nucoda is that you don’t waste time rendering. With Apple's [entry-level coloring solution] Color, you never know if it’s going to change. This way you know exactly what’s going to tape.”
Audiences expect and demand rich, high caliber images. With production schedules and budgets shrinking, the Nucoda represents an opportunity for post houses to remain competitive, without sacrificing quality.
“Our clients are cost sensitive, but more than anything, they demand a stylization and a unique look,” concluded Macomber. “We will definitely be using the Nucoda in all our future work.”
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