Although they use the ALEXA occasionally, as well, and love the image that comes from that camera, they don't buy into the complaints that are coming from the industry about ALEXA's post superiority over RED's difficult data management. Rosenberg believes those complaints are probably coming from people who are using legacy hardware and who don't want to spend the money on a RED ROCKET.
"The best explanation I can think of," attests Rosenberg, "is that the ALEXA kicks out a file that's 'Mac-compliant.' I think the hardware system sort of fell behind the progression of the camera systems, and Apple hasn't done a really good job in updating their hardware in quite a long time. So if you have a Mac infrastructure—which a lot of post companies do—and you go and shoot with the ALEXA, it's way easier to work with than a file that could be accelerated by a RED ROCKET or could play fine if you had a faster processor on your system."
Their HP Z820 workstations and NVIDIA graphics cards are their prized possessions for speedy production and post. NVIDIA graphics cards are optimized for Adobe, and they do all of their finishing with Adobe products, utilizing the GPU (graphics processing unit) acceleration that's faster, cheaper and smaller than CPUs (central processing units), which are difficult and expensive for run-and-gun operations to maintain.
"The HP Z820s are the fastest systems we've had in here," admits Rosenberg. "We can pretty much push any file format through it with a ton of acceleration, and those systems are working 24 hours a day and at least five days a week for us."
According to Senior Director of Post-Production Lance Holte, they rely heavily on Adobe CS6 to streamline their post workflow from on-set production through delivery, and often utilize Adobe Premiere during production because it allows their media managers to quickly import raw footage on set and to start cutting selects reels or even rough edits.
"The majority of our visual-effects work is done using After Effects," explains Holte, "which Adobe's Dynamic Link makes very convenient. Footage from Premiere can simply be copied and pasted or dynamic-linked from Premiere to After Effects, while keeping its timing, transitions, motion and many effects. It's essential for projects that have extremely fast turnarounds, especially in the finishing stage."
Holte notes that they also work with Blackmagic Design products a lot, including much of their monitoring and playback infrastructure, which is run through Blackmagic's Videohubs, Mini Converters, and DeckLink cards. "The integration between Adobe Premiere and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve with XML transfer makes going from the online in Premiere to the color-grading step in Resolve very simple," states Holte.