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August 2014
Issue: May 1, 2011

Post Script: Workflow Troubleshooting

By: Marc Loftus

Earlier this month, The Motion Picture Editors Guild teamed up with Sixteen19 (www.sixteen19.com) in New York City to host a “file-based acquisition & post” seminar designed to help production and post pros recognize and avoid potential problems that can arise on-set and later in the post chain.

Sixteen19 recently celebrated its first year in business. The New York space, in the historic Brill Building, is home to 17 editorial rooms that are available for extended rental periods. Each can be configured to a client’s specific needs. Sixteen19 is an Avid house that currently has Unity storage, but plans are in the works to acquire a new ISIS shared storage system. This location is also home to an online suite and a theater. The studio even has an on-staff colorist working on Assimilate Scratch. The company also has operations in London, New Orleans and Los Angeles.

Kaitlyn Fox began the session with a look at acquisition, archiving and prep for editorial. Their dailies lab receives camera footage on ESATA drives, which are then copied to a SAN. Audio is sometimes brought in separately on a DVD or drive. Material is copied to an LTO-4 or -5 tape for archiving purposes and a check sum is performed to verify the material is okay. Once this is done, the DIT can delete the initial camera drives. The lab then syncs picture with sound and creates deliverables for editorial. The requirements vary from job to job, but can include Avid media, DVDs with different aspect ratios, and H.264 files. Sixteen19 uses Colorfront’s OSD for transcoding.

Brandon Bussinger brought up a number of “gotchas” to think about, including considering the frame rate being shot; the audio sample rate; ensuring that timecode is being generated; and that devices are syncing properly. Other questions that should be asked include: What is the color monitoring pipeline? What are the monitors calibrated to? What is the data pipeline? Is the media being captured to a solid state device? Are the drives reliable? When should the camera drives be deleted? Are check sums being performed? And is picture being checked even if the data appears to be OK? 

“The lab may have been eliminated,” notes Bussinger, “but the lab process remains.”