Fleet walks a line between the technical and the creative. "It's a left-brain/right-brain thing," he says. "I'm an artist, and I was a theater major in school, but I'm also sort of a techy geek. I've learned not to hold on to the technical stuff too much. At the end of the day, what matters is how it looks to people on the screen. I'm the creative director, not the technical director. You can break all the technical rules as long as it looks the way it's supposed to. Of course, an understanding of the technical side helps you create solutions. So it's important to understand both."
Encore is a sister company to Level 3 Post, and the two facilities are connected by a "fat pipe" fibre-optic link that enhances efficiency and collaboration. The specialized workflow also entails having an on-site dailies colorist. Level 3 Post set up the remote "lab" at the production offices in Hawaii.
Material came into that "lab" on a wide variety of drives. Formats ranged from H.264 to the ALEXA's ProRes 4:4:4. Not all were progressive output, which meant that some needed to be de-interlaced. Custom software provided more flexibility in this regard as most off-the-shelf solutions can't handle XDCAM or footage from other nonprogressive cameras. Footage from all the various cameras is then transcoded to Avid-friendly DNX 175x 4:2:2 format using Avid Symphony Nitris 5.5.
"With the dailies colorist right next door, if I'm concerned about a particular scene that was shot earlier that day, I can look at the shot, or even sneak a copy of it, and begin to work with it," says Fleet. "The workflow also helped communication with the cinematographer. The round-trip between the visual-effects editor and the dailies colorist was seamless and extremely quick. By getting everything in DNX 175x, I get a standardized format and frame rate, rather than 16 types of footage. And the creators of the show get to see everything without having to wait for a conversion. Having the pipeline and workflow down frees up time to be more creative."
Senior online editor Josh Baca uses Boris and Sapphire plug-ins with After Effects to achieve "fritzes" and other anomalies. During the pilot phase, Baca was involved in research that led to some more organic, low-fi techniques that are still in use.