Santa Clara, CA
I believe there are really three significant trends that are going to dominate 2015:
1) The camera-to-master workflow, in which one facility is responsible for dailies and DI, is set to overtake the traditional way of managing dailies and DI. Producers, directors and DPs are really starting to see how this workflow can deliver higher-quality feature films on time and within budget, on a truly consistent basis. The camera-to-master workflow has several real benefits. First, one company is responsible for data management all the way through the dailies and DI process. This enables more detailed and cohesive planning before the first frame is shot, and far better communication between the on-set team and the team back at the studio or in the facility.
Secondly, people are really starting to see the value of grading shots during the dailies process instead of just applying a LUT, and then doing all the grading in the DI at the end. It is far more efficient and far more powerful for all the stakeholders to really see what their final output is going to look like on the front end, rather than as one of the last steps. If one team owns the data and the looks, then grading the dailies is faster, easier, and straightforward — and all the looks are preserved in the DI.
Folks like Light Iron and Local Hero are seeing significant success with this model. It’s more profitable and it’s driving a ton of repeat business.
2) Dailies review is moving rapidly to the cloud. More and more projects are pushing dailies to cloud-based review systems. Once the exclusive domain of PIX and DAX, cloud-based platforms like Frame.io and Scratch Web are emerging to augment the review process with additional services like unlimited shot versioning, collaborative notes and comments, and advanced metatdata handling and reporting. Moreover, cloud-based review systems offer the convenience of location-independence and support for a wide range of devices.
3) VR is becoming a viable medium for cinematic content. Platforms such as the Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard are evolving from pure gaming environments to full cinematic experiences. Studios such as xRez and New Deal are producing native, fully immersive, 360-degree cinematic content, such as music videos, travel documentaries and nature projects, as well as short features. This form of content requires completely-new thinking, from the way it’s conceived and written to the way it’s shot and the way it’s post-produced. This new thinking is, of course, driving the need for new tools. We’re already beginning to see some of the traditional tools for creating cinematic content, like Scratch and Scratch Play, transform to support the new media formats and completely new workflows in the VR space. Keep your eye on this one. It’s a green-field opportunity for tools vendors (like stereo once was), so it will probably reset the landscape and disrupt the market.