March 10, 2005


LONDON - Film dailies house Midnight Transfer ( has launched its new digital intermediate service, combining the company's knowledge of the film market with a $3.8 million investment in new technology. Midnight Transfer will now offer what it's calling "DI from Day One," which harnesses the technologies of FilmLight, Thomson Grass Valley, Root6, DVS and Barco gear to provide DI from the first day of shooting.

Designed and implemented by Midnight Transfer's team of film specialists, "DI from Day One" offers greater control and creativity for directors and DPs, with cost-effective and timesaving solutions for film productions. Currently, all dailies are telecined onto tape, with the ultimate destination for the tape being the cutting room. This means that the look, carefully established with the DP during the shoot, is discarded at an early stage. For preview conforms, many hours are spent regarding, only for that work to be lost prior to the final DI process when the grading begins from scratch. The benefit of Midnight Transfer's approach of scanning from the outset, with the same equipment and colorists grading both the dailies and the finished film, is that all grading elements are preserved and developed throughout the process.

"You are completing your grade with the same colorists on the same machines, using the same files and in the same suite," explains Greg Barrett, head of production at Midnight Transfer. "This means that by the time you come to do the final grade, the whole look of the film has been firmly established in direct collaboration with the DP, saving the production time and money while freeing up the creatives to do the work that really counts."

To produce 2K dailies, the negative is run straight through a Thomson Grass Valley Spirit 4K film scanner, which scans maximum dynamic range 2K at realtime and is also available for 4K scanning. This eliminates the rocking and rolling, and general stress on the negative of the conventional dailies process. The data is then passed to a Baselight finishing system from FilmLight for grading. Pin-registered scanning for 2K and 4K productions or VFX work is available via the company's Northlight 16mm and 35mm film scanner. Final resolution grading for the theatrical release is achieved in a high-end, purpose-built grading theatre - designed by White Mark - and equipped with a Baselight Eight system connected to a Barco DP100 2K projector from Bell Theatre Systems.

FilmLight's Truelight film color management system provides accurate calibration throughout. The Medialease financed workflow is one of the UK's first realtime 2K shared storage environments, using the SAN and 2 Clipsters from DVS, currently with 100 TBs of storage, supplied by Root6, who also provided total system integration for Midnight Transfer?s requirements. Hugh Waters of Waters Technical Services developed and managed the project from concept to completion.

Midnight Transfer's DI facilities are open now, with the "DI from Day One" service scheduled to start in April.