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November 2014
Issue: November 1, 2009

FILE-BASED WORKFLOWS

By: Randi Altman
In our “Early Intervention” feature this month, LightIron Digital’s Michael Cioni discusses the importance of getting post pros involved early, especially on productions with file-based workflows.
While these types of productions are happening more often, there is a learning curve and some misinformation to overcome. Cioni has more than 250 file-based productions under his belt, and he is helping to dispel some myths and fears by taking part in panels like the one at REDucation’s Community Day last month in LA called, “The Real Deal: Red Post.”
In addition to the new types of workflows, Cioni finds that people also want to talk about the differences between shooting with film and digitally on a Red or Arri D21. “I think film is the best image quality format, but I can’t make as many projects if I based it on just one component — image quality. When you line up all the components of file-based solutions and all the components of film-based solutions, you find that file-based are advantageous in a larger number of categories.”
Does that mean he thinks the quality of digital is close enough that it shouldn’t matter? “Absolutely,” he says. And he believes that quality will just keep getting better. “With Moore’s Law showing technology doubles every two years, we will see much greater latitude in digital cameras by 2012. It will be staggering in terms of latitude and ASA. I am also very optimistic that well before the end of the next decade we will have sensors that are far more sensitive between black and white than the human eye, and we’ll see latitude of images that far exceed 35mm. We are not there yet, but we’ll get there.”
Cioni also believes that we need to start training pros today to get acclimated to this process, “so when tools finally do surpass film, everyone understands the process. A lot of it has to with evangelizing the next generation, because they are a group of people that have grown up with computers, they speak the language of computing. Their entire lives are file-based — they have DVRs, DVDs, QuickTimes, Youtube. You take all those experiences that are innate and they will bring a whole other level of creativity to industry because they don’t know the world of tape.”
While Cioni realizes these ideas might scare people, it excites him. “I want to know what they will bring to the table, and it’s going to be something different,” he says. “They can also bring one thing that no other generation can bring and that’s confidence… confidence in process, in not losing anything, in strong concern and stability for maintaining files and maintaining high-fidelity files.”
Not a bad future to look forward to.