As Dive looks towards 2011, we look beyond the digital acquisition format revolution that has changed our industry. New cameras will release with greater expectations in the year ahead. The plethora of new technologies has become just another variable in our normal course of business; a tide which we anticipate. What is evolving is how to manage, manipulate and archive the massive amounts of data generated. The evolution of how to exploit this data is where the future becomes exciting and where our responsibility calls on us to invest in our resources and imagination.
Exceptional data management is the first step towards efficiency. With more files being delivered by clients and more renders being created for various deliverables, we have transcended simple folder structures and LTO back-ups. Effective handling of meta-data is imperative to meeting deadlines and freeing our artists to be creative. We have reached an age when color decisions can be made on-set, multiple formats become intertwined on common timelines, and conforms happen overnight. Meta-data leads this evolution, and only through mindful planning and pipelines can meta-data perform as intended by the manufacturers. Taking full advantage of these intricacies makes us vital partners with our clients.
Data has also become more specialized and intricate. The capture format must be appropriate for a given project, and the proper tool today may become obsolete tomorrow. This introduces legacy issues, which need to be addressed as producers and directors are called to make intelligent production decisions about the perpetuity of their projects.
With new cameras hitting the market almost daily utilizing everything from H.264 to RAW as capture formats, massaging those bits using the utmost care is vitally important to a project’s outcome. Factor in the increasing prevalence of digitally-acquired stereoscopic projects and there can be no doubt that a comprehensive understanding is required to properly exploit what data has to offer.
In short, 2011 will see those open to embracing the evolution flourish and our value become all the more apparent in the creative marketplace.
Andy Williams is an Executive Producer at Dive (www.divevisual.com) in Philadelphia. Dive is the visual effects and film finishing division of Shooters Post & Transfer.