Set Etiquette

Light Iron specializes in on-site dailies, digital intermediates, and archival and data services for file-based workflows. They have recently worked on high-profile productions such as Hitchcock, Flight and Total Recall.

"Right now, we’re out in New Mexico for a movie called Lone Survivor, where we built a big, 40-foot-long trailer with Star Wagons," reveals Carter. "It has a seven-foot screen, a digital cinema projector, a colorist, as well as a bunch of gear that enables us to take the digital files right off the camera and process them into color dailies right on set, a foot away from where they’re shooting."

With the ability to move most of your traditional brick-and-mortar services on set, EC3 has new technology that helps filmmakers better visualize their final products. The EFILM team has created ColorStream, their own CDL/LUT box that can be the first step in any production.

The production crew, explains Carter "[will] go out and shoot some test footage and then bring it into our facility. We’ll look at that test footage with one of our top-level colorists, and with the DP and director, set some looks for the show—an interior/exterior, day/night, blown-out, green, etc.—and then put those back into ColorStream. When they’re back on set, they can just push a button and see what the scene is going to look like with that color applied, and then later cook that color in."

These predetermined looks then can travel as metadata and be applied to the dailies or act as a guide for a colorist.

Because of its long history as a film lab, perhaps the biggest advantage Deluxe has in the space is its ability to work on hybrid productions. Company 3 recently worked on The Lone Ranger, in which the producers decided that while they liked the look of digital, the cameras didn’t give them the look they wanted for everything. They ended up shooting film for day exteriors and the ARRI ALEXA for night and interior work. Michael Bay’s new film Pain & Gain used every file format imaginable, using RED, film, Canon EOS 5D Mark IIs and 7Ds, and even some GoPro footage was thrown into the mix.

Since post has been moving to the set, one discussion frequently brought up regarding on-set workflow management is who’s actually in charge of the cart. Is it a member of the camera crew or a specialist?

"On set, we would put an EC3 data operator running one of our carts," says Carter. "If a production wanted to put their own person on it, we would rent them our gear and train their person, but so far they have been happy to have one of our loyal and trusted people take care of the data side of things."


Light Iron has been generating a lot of buzz in the industry lately with recent work on Hitchcock, Flight, Total Recall, Resident Evil and The Amazing Spider-Man. The Hollywood-based company specializes in on-site dailies, digital intermediates, archival and data services for file-based productions, and its three on-set solutions—OUTPOST, LILY PAD Cart and LILY PAD Case—frequent the sets of studio features, television series and independent films. Previous digital on-set workflow systems were large, expensive and just not financially viable for most productions.