Conceived by NYCA, an agency in Encinitas, Calif., the eight spots required Precision’s team to shoot Pro Golfers Dustin Johnson, Mike Weir, Sean O’Hara and Sergio Garcia at the Reynolds Plantation in Georgia and the TaylorMade factory in San Diego. Precision President Joe Arnao says that to capture their professional golf swings in exquisite slow motion, they shot with a Vision Research Phantom digital camera at 1,000 fps. They also shot with RED and Canon 5D Mark II cameras. “Digital acquisition has been one of the most immediate time-saving maneuvers that has happened on a production stage,” says Arnao. “You can stitch things together as you’re shooting.”
But what happens when all this high-resolution footage gets into post? Any producer knows that when the clock is ticking, a file-based workflow can get very complicated, very fast. “We’re pretty familiar with the pitfalls of these digital cameras,” says Arnao, who reports that the disparate camera formats were translated into 2K and 4K Cineon files at the same time SD proxy files were created for the Avid offline. “We use [Telestream] Episode Pro software to convert different file formats quickly [to Apple QuickTime].” The Mac-based Episode Pro provides versatile desktop encoding as well as professional broadcast-format support and unlimited batch encoding for just under $1,000 for the professional version while the non-Pro version goes for $500.
When it came time to conform, Arnao also kept the project on the desktop. “Because we were doing intricate speed ramping with variable speeds, a lot of it was matched by eye,” he says. Getting the high-res selects required a separate workflow for each camera involved. But once those selects were lifted, they all went into the desktop, where they were conformed in Final Cut Pro and graded and finished in Adobe After Effects.
In the end, the best shortcut to avoid wrong turns and slow-downs in post turned out to be expertise and talent. “Some of those higher-end tools are amazing but they’re not necessarily needed,” says Arnao. “Everything can be dealt with on the desktop level. Some of it is complicated but there’s really no need to go beyond the desktop tools. The boxes are capable of a phenomenal amount of power and control. The only thing you can’t buy off the shelf is a skill level - the talent - to drive those boxes.”