Mark L. Pederson’s Offhollywood has developed a strategic partnership with fellow New York house The Molecule, a visual effects studio that does TV work for many New York-based shows. The two are now working together on the first independent Red Epic-shot 3D stereo film, called Hellbenders.
He met Chris Healer, one of the founders of The Molecule, and immediately hit it off in terms of technology and new ways to develop pipelines. “What got me excited was they were working on developing stuff specific for stereoscopic and resolution independence, meaning being able to do 4K finishing in visual effects. We don’t do VFX in-house so we started doing tests together — streamlining high resolution (4K, Red) — and 3D workflows where we are acquiring, managing the media and handling the dailies, and they are doing visual effects. Final finishing and DI is at Offhollywood.”
Pederson says Healer is more progressive than a typical VFX shop. “A dirty little secret is many visual effects companies don’t have a real infrastructure; just individual workstations with local storage, so it’s not easy for them to do 4K renders. But Chris has custom shared storage and a renderfarm built to work with The Foundry’s Nuke and Ocula. He can work in 4K with less overhead than some can work in HD,” he explains.
“I got the itch to shoot a high-end, high production value 3D feature film with lots of CG visual effects. Something that had only really been done with a 100-million-dollar budget at the studio level, and I wanted to kill it with technology and the right people. I found a project but it didn’t have the money. Still, I liked it so much I was able to, with my business partner Aldey Sanchez, connect with other producers and got financing.”
Hellbenders is now in production, shooting on two Epics in stereo 3D.
They are using the new Atom rig from Element Techniqua, specifically tailored to connect two Epic cameras. On-set dailies are being done on an iPad with Teradek Cube. It captures HD-SDI off one of the cameras and compresses it to H.264 and streams it to an iPad live.
“We are capturing stereo dailies in realtime with the Qtake, a product I helped develop and market,” says Pederson. “It’s a high-end video assist playback system that is software-based and runs on a Mac. On the editing side, we are using a version of Media Composer.”
Color grading is via Assimilate Scratch directly from Epic raw files in Offhollywood’s Dolby DI theater.