Posting Red

The RED ONE (www.red.com) camera is red hot. Numerous features—indie and otherwise—TV shows and music videos are using the high-res camera for capture. But capturing images is only half of the game, and every facility has to tame the RED workflow beast in its own way. Although a handful of manufacturers—and their ranks are growing—already have offered RED-related solutions, post experts still are wrestling with the best solution for every type of project.

"Some users say RED costs the same or more than film," says PlasterCITY Digital Post founder Michael Cioni, who has handled the RED workflow for 25 features. "Others say it’s cheaper. The reason there’s this huge dichotomy is based on their workflow. When you shoot it like film, you get cinematic results. But if you’re a post house and treat it like film, it doesn’t behave like film."

HDVideoPro spoke to four post facilities about their solutions.

Hollywood Intermediate
is primarily a digital intermediate (DI) facility for feature films, using FilmLight’s Northlight scanner, Baselight and Nucoda Film Master software for color grading, the IMAGICA film recorder and proprietary software integration programs. President David Waters reported that, after an early experience working with RED material, the thought was "this will never be practical" because the software tools were so slow.

Impressed with RED footage at NAB 2008, Waters and his team took another stab at creating an efficient post workflow. Since then, the facility has cut its teeth for a Warner Horizon Television pilot, The Amazing Mrs. Novak, and indie features Labor Pains and Overnight.

Hollywood Intermediate is a digital intermediate facility that uses FilmLight’s Northlight scanner, Baselight and Nucoda Film Master software for color grading, the IMAGICA film recorder and proprietary software integration programs.

Now, the new NBC series Southland is at Hollywood Intermediate, a perfect match for the facility, which wants to focus on RED-shot TV shows. The first challenge was to create a workflow for dailies. Knowing that a TV editorial team would be cutting on Avid, Hollywood Intermediate created a workflow that would mimic 35mm dailies. The company wrote proprietary software, dubbed Smartsoft Dailies & Mastering, which is the "brains" for the workflow.

"We never lose the original time code or create a Flex file," says Waters. "Smartsoft allows us to name every event by scene and take, so the Avid editorial teams aren’t looking at 16-digit names. They’re working with original scene-and-take names."

Sound editorial also shares the Avid media, so production sound tracks are included with original time code as master clips.