When Writer/Director Jorma Taccone took the feature production MacGruber to New Mexico, he also brought postproduction with him. Technicolor Creative Bridge sent its Mobile Digital Lab and Theater (MDLT) to the location outfitted with several Apple Final Cut Pro stations for RED ingest and editorial prep. Dailies were created for Apple TV as well as being viewed from a projector in the MDLT. “We can add custom ASC CDL, [or] color decision list, LUTs at any part of the workflow and keep the raw camera-data pure,” says Dan Lion, VP of sales and marketing at Technicolor Creative Bridge. He also reports that the DI will be done at Technicolor Hollywood.
In 2009, dailies, editing and color correction are now postproduction processes that are often done in the field. “People want to do more and more on location,” says Howard Brock, president of Runway Inc., which sets up editorial systems for productions around the world. “With HD online editorial starting to become the norm, particularly for features, you have a very high-quality image available.”
Electric Picture Solutions (EPS) is another full-service nonlinear editorial rental company, which recently finished the films Surrogates and The Proposal, and just started the TV show “The Vampire Diaries.” According to EPS General Manager David Goodman, Avid Media Composer is still the dominant nonlinear editing system for feature films and TV programs in the field. What has changed is the move to HD resolution. “The current HD package is the Avid Media Composer Nitris DX,” says EPS CTO Jed Unrot. And Goodman notes that videotape is being replaced by FireWire drives. “Tapeless is the trend. Feature film is already there and with TV, it’s going there,” he says.
The issue of runaway production means that more films and TV shows are shooting in states that don’t have much of a postproduction infrastructure, if any. “What we’re hearing is that producers want to maximize the tax savings on location,” says Lion. “So we’ll partner with an editorial rental company to provide editorial facilities.” Even when there is a local postproduction vendor, productions usually turn to a tried-and-true editorial rental company to set up post on location. “We’re the insurance policy to make sure nothing goes wrong,” says Brock. “I’ve heard from numerous clients in the field that the local vendor wasn’t familiar with their issues. That’s risky if you’re spending a lot of money to make a movie.”
With an increasing number of productions shooting with digital cameras, dailies no longer have to be sent back to the lab to be processed and Telecined. “[For MacGruber], we’re making them Apple TV content for remote production viewing, projecting the RED output so the DP and director can see it on a six-foot-wide screen rather than a tiny monitor,” says Technicolor Creative Bridge VP/General Manager Brian Gaffney.
The future will see more and more postproduction processes accomplished on location. Dailies, once the domain of the post house, are gravitating to the field, as is editorial and initial color correction. “Post is a more mobile proposition,” says Lion.