The Quest For Uncompressed

The pursuit of uncompressed HD for uncompromising high-definition production quality has made Mind Over Eye one of the West Coast’s most cutting-edge commercial production facilities for its national clients. Its creative director/co-owner, Bill Wadsworth, and his partners have built Mind Over Eye from a home studio service in Hermosa Beach, Calif., to a major 5,000-square-foot production facility in Santa Monica in just seven years by combining the latest in sophisticated content-creation technology with their own in-house innovations. The Mind Over Eye facility includes six online bays, 19 VFX workstations, a 20×20-foot greenscreen insert stage and a complete surround-sound audio mixing studio.

Recently, Mind Over Eye did a Mattel Toys spot using three RED ONE cameras shooting in 4K resolution while letting their clients view captured HD footage on set in standard-def. This technique greatly saved costs without compromising quality.

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Mind Over Eye’s reputation has attracted almost every major advertising agency, including BBDO, Young & Rubicam, Y&R Brands, Ogilvy & Mather and McCann-Erickson. Wadsworth and his team keep that client list growing through an innovative commitment to working with totally uncompressed video at every stage of content creation.

"We use uncompressed HD for all our production and postproduction services in order to assure our clients that we’re providing them with the absolutely best level of video imagery possible," says Wadsworth. "In fact, we built our whole system around being capable of full-aperture 2K resolution, so uncompressed HD is easy for us to handle."

Going the uncompressed HD route allows Mind Over Eye far greater latitude in all their editing, color grading and effects creation processes. With high-definition recordings that haven’t been subject to codec degradation, the final output guarantees that their clients are provided with the highest level of image quality in any deliverable format that their creative vision requires.

For many production companies, the storage requirements of uncompressed 1080i source footage with four channels of 24-bit, 48K digital audio can be daunting. After all, this level of HD eats up roughly 10 GB per minute for 10-bit, 4:2:2, high-definition material, and that can initially make the efficiencies of compressed video seem pretty appealing. But when designing the workflow at Mind Over Eye, Wadsworth gave his whole team access to a uniquely designed, centralized RAID 6 SAN storage system holding more than 85 TB of uncompressed material. That way each station along the workflow line is dealing with the most pristine video quality possible without any generational loss from cascading levels of multiple video-compression steps.

When it comes to off-premises stage shoots, Wadsworth has provided his remote crew with 16 TB of dual-parity RAID storage capable of capturing its input at 450 Mbps so they can record even up to full-aperture 2K files in the field when needed.

"Even if we’re shooting 35mm film, we immediately transfer it to uncompressed 1080p in 4:4:4 color space so our effects specialists can be dealing with the closest approximation of the original footage," says Wadsworth. "In addition, our editors who are using a mixture of Apple Final Cut Pro and Avid Media Composer systems don’t need to struggle through the bottlenecks of an off-line/online production paradigm. They’re always addressing uncompressed HD footage, so their timelines contain the final mastering level output at all times."