Issuu on Google+


CODEX DIG ITAL ON BOAR D R ECOR DE R TECH N ICAL SPECI FICATION

SETTING THE STANDARD FOR TAPELESS WORKFLOWS, THE CODEX ONBOARD RECORDER CAN CAPTURE THE BEST QUALITY DIGITAL CAMERA ORIGINALS. IT CAN BE MOUNTED DIRECTLY ON A WIDE RANGE OF CAMERA SYSTEMS INCLUDING THE SONY F23, F35, ARRI D-21 AND ARRI ALEXA. THE CODEX ONBOARD CAN RECORD UNCOMPRESSED OR WAVELET CINEMA QUALITY HD MATERIAL – PLUS AUDIO AND METADATA – ONTO A SINGLE, REMOVABLE DATA PACK. WHEN SHOOTING IS DONE, IT OFFLOADS MATERIAL FASTER THAN REAL-TIME. THE CODEX ONBOARD IS IDEAL FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO WORK FAST, AT THE HIGHEST QUALITY, USING A WEATHER-RESISTANT UNIT THAT WEIGHS JUST 2.5KG.

VIDEO INTERFACE

AUDIO INTERFACE

CONTROL SURFACE

INPUTS:

AES/EBU DIGITAL AUDIO I/O

CONFIGURATION AND RECORDING USING

2 x 4:4:4 INPUTS

(4 CHANNELS)

TOUCH-BASED CONTROL SURFACE.

2 x 4:2:2 INPUTS

ANALOG AUDIO I/O

CONTROL SURFACE CAN BE HANDHELD.

(2 CHANNELS)

CONTROL SURFACE CAN BE MOUNTED

3.5MM STEREO HEADPHONE MONITOR

ON LEFT OR RIGHT SIDE OF RECORDER.

SUPPORTED AUDIO FORMATS

USER INTERFACE

16/24-BIT AT 48 KHZ, AES OR HD-SDI

INTERFACE CAN BE RUN LOCALLY, OR CAN

EMBEDDED

BE RUN REMOTELY ON A COMPUTER.

OUTPUTS: 1 x 4:4:4 OUTPUTS 2 x 4:2:2 OUTPUTS RECORDING FORMATS

BLUETOOTH REMOTE CONTROL

UNCOMPRESSED RECORDING NETWORK INTERFACE

WAVELET RECORDING

ENVIRONMENTAL

1 x GIGABIT ETHERNET

POWER: 12 - 28V DC LEMO

SUPPORTED VIDEO FORMATS 1920 x 1080I/PSF 10-/8-BIT YCBYCR 4:2:2

CONTROL/SYNC INTERFACES

WEIGHT: 5.7LBS / 2.5KG

OR 10-/8-BIT RGB 4:4:4 23.98, 24, 25,

1 x GENLOCK

OPERATING TEMPERATURE: 5 – 40° C

29.97, 30 FPS.

1 x LTC TIMECODE

1920 x 1080PSF 10-/8-BIT YCBYCR 4:2:2

1 x GPI RECORD TRIGGER

DUAL-LINK 47.96, 48, 50, 59.94, 60 FPS.

1 x RS422 MACHINE CONTROL

1280 x 720P 10-/8-BIT YCBYCR 4:2:2 OR 10-/8-BIT RGB 4:4:4 59.94, 60 FPS.

RECORDING MEDIA

ARRIRAW 12-/14-BIT SUPPORT

SOLID STATE 128 - 512GB DATA PACK

115mm (4.5in)

198.7mm (7.8in)

98mm (3.9in)

CODEX DIGITAL LIMITED 60 POLAND STREET LONDON ENGLAND W1F 7NT U K

TEL +44 (O)20 7292 6918

CODEXDIGITAL.COM

INFO@CODEXDIGITAL.COM

Images shown are indicative only of final specification. Codex Digital Limited reserve the right to alter the specification at any time and without prior notice. © Copyright Codex Digital Limited. Q2. 2010


CODEX ON BOARD

CODEX ON BOARD

GET ON BOARD!

Rogue Element Films Daniel Mulligan visits Codex Digital to examine the new On Board Data Recorder for his Sony F35

D

igitally acquired images for Cinema release are increasingly looking on fully uncompressed data capture for the photography for both their quality and the clean images it produces. Up until recently most data recorders have been quite cumbersome, until now with the release of lighter and more compact onboard recorders. Codex Digital, based in Soho, London, have just released the latest addition to their digital data product line with the Codex On Board and we at Rogue Element Films had the good fortune to test the first fully operational unit for its F35 digital camera. The recorder is a very small and compact unit and uniquely has a direct mount onto the F35s internal multi-pin connector. This allows the recorder to be powered from the F35 direct and affords some local communication to take place. The flash media is small and light and is removable, allowing for easy swapping once one ‘magazine’ is full. Workflow is then completed with a dedicated transfer station that allows archiving to LTO4 and offline copies can be generated from the master media. Its a very lightweight and compact unit and now takes fully uncompressed image capture to the next natural level.

Size and Build

TOP CLOCKWISE – Sony F35 with On Board docked; On Board undressed; CODEX’s transfer media station; On Board F35 multi-pin fits directly to the F35; On Board remote

34 | HD MAGAZINE www.definitionmagazine.com

The first thing you notice about the recorder is its compact size. Its extremely light and portable and the chassis weighs in at only 2.5kgs/5.7lb, a big bag of sugar. The solid state media packs are small and add very little to the overall weight ranging from 128512Gb in capacity, giving 11–43 mins of uncompressed 4:4:4 at 1080 25p, more when initialising the wavelet compression options. The On Board can also record simultaneously from two 4:4:4 cameras, for A&B or 3D stereo shoots or from two 4:2:2 cameras. The look and design is first class and feels extremely solid to the touch. Its construction is strong and the media locks into place solidly. In addition Codex have included a control panel that magnetically locks into either side on the recorder or can also be controlled via a cable for remote operation. This unit also has the ability to lock onto and connect with the F35s internal multi-pin connection. The connection itself is not unique but the communication Sony passes through it is. Codex can now talk to the camera and offers both power supply, which enables the recorder to be powered on and off via the F35 negating the need for extra power, and some internal commands direct to the recorder including full recording trigger from the camera, quadlink HDSDI

for full 4:4:4 50p recording and recording of Sony metadata packets.

Media, Workflow and VFS

Each recorder will most likely be completed as a system for every F35 with one chassis and perhaps five media flashpacks for your days shooting. Each media pack, as mentioned, can record for up to 42 minutes each fully uncompressed or visually lossless wavelet compression, with compression ratios from 3:1 to 8:1. This also significantly reduces the storage requirements of a production so you can decide your shooting ratio up front and use the required media as desired. The On Board also delivers immediate real time full-frame playback and review and allows the viewing of files over a network for on location quality control. Audio inputs are allowed for both digital and analogue as well as SDI embedded and full timecode generated internally or an external source can be used. Once you have shot and finished with your media, the On Board allows you to exchange the full magazine with a replacement empty unit to carry on your shooting. The full magazine is then taken to the transfer station to be archived and off-lined. Naturally the VFS system allows a number of ways in which these tasks can be completed but LTO4 will provide full back up/archive of your DPXs once generated The Codex VFS allows DPXs, as mentioned and offline copies to be generated and it can deliver shots to editorial in various flavours including native support for Apple ProRes for FCP and Avid MXF DNxHD. By using the supplied Media/Transfer Station all your requirements for archiving/offline tasks can now be completed on site.

Conclusions

The Codex On Board recorder is a small and compact file based recorder that allows for much more mobile recording. By attaching a recorder to the camera itself full freedom is now allowed to shoot in a much more nimble and faster fashion. With established workflows, removable media, ease of use and solid build quality those productions looking to shoot their images at the highest possible quality for such systems now have the tools to shoot quickly and thus meet the demands of a modern time conscious schedule while maintaining the best HD possible imaging and workflow standards. Daniel Mulligan Rogue Element Films www.rogueelementfilms.com F35 data rental specialists www.definitionmagazine.com HD MAGAZINE | 35


CODEX ON BOARD

CODEX ON BOARD

GET ON BOARD!

Rogue Element Films Daniel Mulligan visits Codex Digital to examine the new On Board Data Recorder for his Sony F35

D

igitally acquired images for Cinema release are increasingly looking on fully uncompressed data capture for the photography for both their quality and the clean images it produces. Up until recently most data recorders have been quite cumbersome, until now with the release of lighter and more compact onboard recorders. Codex Digital, based in Soho, London, have just released the latest addition to their digital data product line with the Codex On Board and we at Rogue Element Films had the good fortune to test the first fully operational unit for its F35 digital camera. The recorder is a very small and compact unit and uniquely has a direct mount onto the F35s internal multi-pin connector. This allows the recorder to be powered from the F35 direct and affords some local communication to take place. The flash media is small and light and is removable, allowing for easy swapping once one ‘magazine’ is full. Workflow is then completed with a dedicated transfer station that allows archiving to LTO4 and offline copies can be generated from the master media. Its a very lightweight and compact unit and now takes fully uncompressed image capture to the next natural level.

Size and Build

TOP CLOCKWISE – Sony F35 with On Board docked; On Board undressed; CODEX’s transfer media station; On Board F35 multi-pin fits directly to the F35; On Board remote

34 | HD MAGAZINE www.definitionmagazine.com

The first thing you notice about the recorder is its compact size. Its extremely light and portable and the chassis weighs in at only 2.5kgs/5.7lb, a big bag of sugar. The solid state media packs are small and add very little to the overall weight ranging from 128512Gb in capacity, giving 11–43 mins of uncompressed 4:4:4 at 1080 25p, more when initialising the wavelet compression options. The On Board can also record simultaneously from two 4:4:4 cameras, for A&B or 3D stereo shoots or from two 4:2:2 cameras. The look and design is first class and feels extremely solid to the touch. Its construction is strong and the media locks into place solidly. In addition Codex have included a control panel that magnetically locks into either side on the recorder or can also be controlled via a cable for remote operation. This unit also has the ability to lock onto and connect with the F35s internal multi-pin connection. The connection itself is not unique but the communication Sony passes through it is. Codex can now talk to the camera and offers both power supply, which enables the recorder to be powered on and off via the F35 negating the need for extra power, and some internal commands direct to the recorder including full recording trigger from the camera, quadlink HDSDI

for full 4:4:4 50p recording and recording of Sony metadata packets.

Media, Workflow and VFS

Each recorder will most likely be completed as a system for every F35 with one chassis and perhaps five media flashpacks for your days shooting. Each media pack, as mentioned, can record for up to 42 minutes each fully uncompressed or visually lossless wavelet compression, with compression ratios from 3:1 to 8:1. This also significantly reduces the storage requirements of a production so you can decide your shooting ratio up front and use the required media as desired. The On Board also delivers immediate real time full-frame playback and review and allows the viewing of files over a network for on location quality control. Audio inputs are allowed for both digital and analogue as well as SDI embedded and full timecode generated internally or an external source can be used. Once you have shot and finished with your media, the On Board allows you to exchange the full magazine with a replacement empty unit to carry on your shooting. The full magazine is then taken to the transfer station to be archived and off-lined. Naturally the VFS system allows a number of ways in which these tasks can be completed but LTO4 will provide full back up/archive of your DPXs once generated The Codex VFS allows DPXs, as mentioned and offline copies to be generated and it can deliver shots to editorial in various flavours including native support for Apple ProRes for FCP and Avid MXF DNxHD. By using the supplied Media/Transfer Station all your requirements for archiving/offline tasks can now be completed on site.

Conclusions

The Codex On Board recorder is a small and compact file based recorder that allows for much more mobile recording. By attaching a recorder to the camera itself full freedom is now allowed to shoot in a much more nimble and faster fashion. With established workflows, removable media, ease of use and solid build quality those productions looking to shoot their images at the highest possible quality for such systems now have the tools to shoot quickly and thus meet the demands of a modern time conscious schedule while maintaining the best HD possible imaging and workflow standards. Daniel Mulligan Rogue Element Films www.rogueelementfilms.com F35 data rental specialists www.definitionmagazine.com HD MAGAZINE | 35


www.gtc.org.uk

DITs and DFTs

 P >KA P

QEB KBT ?LVP LK QEB @OBT

Xjui!uif!bssjwbm!po!uif!tdfof!pg!nvmujqmf!ofx!dbnfsbt-!sfdpsejoh!nfejb-!tztufnt!boe!dpefdt-! b!xipmf!ofx!tqfdjbmjtu!spmf!jt!fwpmwjoh!jo!uif!dbnfsb!dsfx/!Jo!b!qsfdvstps!up!ijt!Bvhvtu! xpsltipq!gps!uif!HUD-!djofnbuphsbqifs!Ebo!Nvmmjhbo!ejtdvttft!uif!fwpmvujpo!pg!uif!EJU!ps! ejhjubm!jnbhjoh!ufdiojdjbo/ During the last few years we have seen the emergence of an everexpanding array of different ways of shooting images, utilising everything from tape-based to newer file-based recording options. Systems such as SxS Sony cards and Panasonic P2 have become well established in the lexicon of the digital world – but knowing how to get the most out of them in a range of different circumstances can be quite mind-boggling. The increased selection of system options and possible workflows has led to new levels of complexity around acquiring, recording and storing images, so much so that a whole new post, that of the specialist digital imaging (or film) technician (aka DIT or DFT) has emerged. For years we have lamented the downsizing of crews but now it looks as if a new skilled crew member may become commonly requested on many different kinds of shoot. This article introduces the roles, as currently accepted and defined, of the

different titles and job descriptions being bandied about. This can include anything from DIT, DFT, data manager to asset management and more. The evolution of the DIT can be traced back to the early days of the Sony F900/1 in the USA when a DIT was required to make sure the camera was technically set up as the DoP required (gamma levels, frame rates and so on). In recent years, the role has expanded to encompass all kinds of data/file-based work.

Workflows The specific role of the DIT/DFT on any one shoot tends to be governed by the tasks required by the particular camera system chosen to achieve the photography on that shoot. Each system has its own ‘workflow’ and can require a DIT/DFT to assist in any or all of the stages, from prepping the camera for filming, right through to making sure the daily content deliverables and archiving tasks are safely completed.

uif!tqfdjßd!spmf!pg!uif!EJU0EGU!po!boz!pof!tippu! ufoet!up!cf!hpwfsofe!cz!uif!ubtlt!sfrvjsfe!cz!uif! qbsujdvmbs!dbnfsb!tztufn!diptfo!up!bdijfwf!uif! qipuphsbqiz!po!uibu!tippu much vaunted DIT or DFT, and will also take a brief look at the kinds of task such new positions may encompass. One article cannot possibly cover every scenario or system, but by taking a quick look at the possibilities for this role, perhaps we can begin to gain a greater understanding of how it can develop. Perhaps, for example, we will begin to see different levels of skill and experience being recognised as DIT Levels 1 and 2, defining the roles even further?

Terminology Perhaps some of the confusion around the role results from the profusion of

76 Autumn 2010 ZERB

Tape vs data In the early days of digital cameras there were only a few to choose from. The Sony BVW400 Beta SP system was succeeded by the Digibetas and for a good few years essentially one system dominated. Now, we have so many codecs and file formats available, the choice can be quite bewildering. P2, XDCAM, SxS, DPX, R3D are just some examples of the recording codecs around, then add into each codec the different models of camera as well. and the range of options and variables can become quite mind-blowing. Gone are the days of shooting Beta and the job ending with handing

www.gtc.org.uk

over a rushes tape to production. Increasingly, the camera team is employed not only to shoot and/ or supply the camera kit but also to record, archive and in some cases ingest the rushes. This can require pretty detailed knowledge and experience of all manner of different formats and combinations of equipment and systems.

File-based shooting Amongst the array of different cameras out there shooting right now are Sony’s F35, F23, F900R, 750P, XDCAM and EX3; ARRI’s Alexa and D21; the RED; Genesis; Panasonic P2 cameras; and Canon and Nikon HDSLRs – all of them with their different features and foibles. Some are still tape-based and styled like ENG cameras (F900/750P), some have their recording capability built in (e.g. EX3 is a tapeless card-based camera with two slots for SxS media), while others like the F35 can record either to tape (HDCam SR) or to a filebased system (Stwo or Codex). Let’s look at a couple of examples of how the system adopted by any one shoot can affect the workflow and therefore the role of the DIT/DFT.

DFTs on a feature If we choose the F35 camera as an example and assume that Production want to shoot the highest possible quality image from that camera as a file-based recording, then the choice will be for an uncompressed image. This will take us into the realm of the field-operated (DFR) recorder. Recording uncompressed DPXs (digital picture exchanges) from a DFR requires a lot of infrastructure, hard drive capability and storage. At 8MB for each 444 frame, you can see how quickly the storage requirements mount up. On set, each shot will need to be logged, tagged (with metadata), offlined, archived (LTO) and then sent to online for conforming later. So it is essential that dedicated and skilled crew members – our DFTs – are in place to work and control the equipment. On a shoot like this, the tasks falling to the DFT are many and also very important to the production. This is a ‘digital negative’ being created and this neg needs to be duly looked after and nurtured. On a big shoot, the responsibilities of the DFT can be so many and so varied that a small team of DFTs may be required.

DITs and DFTs An example could be when shooting uncompressed DPXs with full metadata (production information such as location, int/ext slate numbers etc) all of which must be entered before turning over. The DPXs will then need to be backed up (archived) for later conforming. Once that is complete, an offline copy must be generated. Finally, the DPXs may be required for 2K playback on a projector with full 3D LUT implementation. That’s a lot of tasks every day. Multiple models and formats - Panasonic AG-HPG20 with Sony HDCam SRW1 deck

DIT on a TV drama shoot For this example we choose the P2 system, say the new 3700 camera. This can record either 422 or 444, but let’s say in this instance 422 is fine for delivery for HDTV broadcast. Recording to tapeless P2 media will require the P2 cards to go through their daily routine of shoot, archive, offline then online. However, with the compression of P2 at AVCIntra 100 being quite high, we don’t need as big an infrastructure as the uncompressed example above and so fewer individuals will be needed on set. P2 media can be directly ingested into most facilities natively so the archiving of rushes, with playback if needed, becomes the main task since the offline copy is the master thereby removing a task. Once the P2 rushes have been archived (to formatted P2 hard drives), the rushes are then instantly viewable for checking and the archive disk can be sent to offline for editing and later conforming.

Workflow wiki We have covered just two of many,

many options here – and those very briefly. We could go on to include RED with its compact flash/hard drives, HDCam SR, XDCAM and SxS, plus any number of other ways of ‘skinning the digital cat’ and this would surely underline the need for the presence of skilled DIT/DFTs on set. Instead, this article is just a taster. Rather than fill up the whole issue with different examples, perhaps a smarter way of amassing a compendium of real-life workflows GTC members have been successfully (and even not so successfully!) involved in, is to collect together a ‘workflow reference’ section on the GTC website www.gtc.org.uk. As the new lexicon for the role of the DIT/DFT emerges, the GTC can be involved. If this article has inspired you to want to find out more about this new way of working, then Dan will be running a GTC workshop at the new P2 Experience Centre at Pinewood Studios on 28 August, plus we will be putting together the new ‘Workflow wiki’ on the GTC site in the coming months.

What does it all stand for? DFR digital film recorder DFT digital film technician DIT digital imaging technician DPX digital picture exchange LTO linear tape-open – open standards magnetic tape data storage LUT look-up table

Fact File Daniel Mulligan is a cinematographer/camera operator and has recently become a GTC Council Member. www.rogueelementfilms.com Tel: +44 7866 447564 To book a place on the GTC DIT/DFT workshop at the P2 Experience Centre at Pinewood Studios on 28 August, visit www.eventelephant.com/GTC2010Awards

P2 portable recorder hooked up to portable hard drive

ALPHA GRIP Alpha Grip, based in Pinewood Studios, supplies all types of dollies, modular and telescopic cranes, remote heads and all grip accessories. Experienced technicians are also available. Please refer to our website www.alphagrip.co.uk for full details of equipment available and our services.

The DIT at work on set

+44 (0)1753 639 200 info@alphagrip.co.uk

Autumn 2010 ZERB 77


www.gtc.org.uk

DITs and DFTs

 P >KA P

QEB KBT ?LVP LK QEB @OBT

Xjui!uif!bssjwbm!po!uif!tdfof!pg!nvmujqmf!ofx!dbnfsbt-!sfdpsejoh!nfejb-!tztufnt!boe!dpefdt-! b!xipmf!ofx!tqfdjbmjtu!spmf!jt!fwpmwjoh!jo!uif!dbnfsb!dsfx/!Jo!b!qsfdvstps!up!ijt!Bvhvtu! xpsltipq!gps!uif!HUD-!djofnbuphsbqifs!Ebo!Nvmmjhbo!ejtdvttft!uif!fwpmvujpo!pg!uif!EJU!ps! ejhjubm!jnbhjoh!ufdiojdjbo/ During the last few years we have seen the emergence of an everexpanding array of different ways of shooting images, utilising everything from tape-based to newer file-based recording options. Systems such as SxS Sony cards and Panasonic P2 have become well established in the lexicon of the digital world – but knowing how to get the most out of them in a range of different circumstances can be quite mind-boggling. The increased selection of system options and possible workflows has led to new levels of complexity around acquiring, recording and storing images, so much so that a whole new post, that of the specialist digital imaging (or film) technician (aka DIT or DFT) has emerged. For years we have lamented the downsizing of crews but now it looks as if a new skilled crew member may become commonly requested on many different kinds of shoot. This article introduces the roles, as currently accepted and defined, of the

different titles and job descriptions being bandied about. This can include anything from DIT, DFT, data manager to asset management and more. The evolution of the DIT can be traced back to the early days of the Sony F900/1 in the USA when a DIT was required to make sure the camera was technically set up as the DoP required (gamma levels, frame rates and so on). In recent years, the role has expanded to encompass all kinds of data/file-based work.

Workflows The specific role of the DIT/DFT on any one shoot tends to be governed by the tasks required by the particular camera system chosen to achieve the photography on that shoot. Each system has its own ‘workflow’ and can require a DIT/DFT to assist in any or all of the stages, from prepping the camera for filming, right through to making sure the daily content deliverables and archiving tasks are safely completed.

uif!tqfdjßd!spmf!pg!uif!EJU0EGU!po!boz!pof!tippu! ufoet!up!cf!hpwfsofe!cz!uif!ubtlt!sfrvjsfe!cz!uif! qbsujdvmbs!dbnfsb!tztufn!diptfo!up!bdijfwf!uif! qipuphsbqiz!po!uibu!tippu much vaunted DIT or DFT, and will also take a brief look at the kinds of task such new positions may encompass. One article cannot possibly cover every scenario or system, but by taking a quick look at the possibilities for this role, perhaps we can begin to gain a greater understanding of how it can develop. Perhaps, for example, we will begin to see different levels of skill and experience being recognised as DIT Levels 1 and 2, defining the roles even further?

Terminology Perhaps some of the confusion around the role results from the profusion of

76 Autumn 2010 ZERB

Tape vs data In the early days of digital cameras there were only a few to choose from. The Sony BVW400 Beta SP system was succeeded by the Digibetas and for a good few years essentially one system dominated. Now, we have so many codecs and file formats available, the choice can be quite bewildering. P2, XDCAM, SxS, DPX, R3D are just some examples of the recording codecs around, then add into each codec the different models of camera as well. and the range of options and variables can become quite mind-blowing. Gone are the days of shooting Beta and the job ending with handing

www.gtc.org.uk

over a rushes tape to production. Increasingly, the camera team is employed not only to shoot and/ or supply the camera kit but also to record, archive and in some cases ingest the rushes. This can require pretty detailed knowledge and experience of all manner of different formats and combinations of equipment and systems.

File-based shooting Amongst the array of different cameras out there shooting right now are Sony’s F35, F23, F900R, 750P, XDCAM and EX3; ARRI’s Alexa and D21; the RED; Genesis; Panasonic P2 cameras; and Canon and Nikon HDSLRs – all of them with their different features and foibles. Some are still tape-based and styled like ENG cameras (F900/750P), some have their recording capability built in (e.g. EX3 is a tapeless card-based camera with two slots for SxS media), while others like the F35 can record either to tape (HDCam SR) or to a filebased system (Stwo or Codex). Let’s look at a couple of examples of how the system adopted by any one shoot can affect the workflow and therefore the role of the DIT/DFT.

DFTs on a feature If we choose the F35 camera as an example and assume that Production want to shoot the highest possible quality image from that camera as a file-based recording, then the choice will be for an uncompressed image. This will take us into the realm of the field-operated (DFR) recorder. Recording uncompressed DPXs (digital picture exchanges) from a DFR requires a lot of infrastructure, hard drive capability and storage. At 8MB for each 444 frame, you can see how quickly the storage requirements mount up. On set, each shot will need to be logged, tagged (with metadata), offlined, archived (LTO) and then sent to online for conforming later. So it is essential that dedicated and skilled crew members – our DFTs – are in place to work and control the equipment. On a shoot like this, the tasks falling to the DFT are many and also very important to the production. This is a ‘digital negative’ being created and this neg needs to be duly looked after and nurtured. On a big shoot, the responsibilities of the DFT can be so many and so varied that a small team of DFTs may be required.

DITs and DFTs An example could be when shooting uncompressed DPXs with full metadata (production information such as location, int/ext slate numbers etc) all of which must be entered before turning over. The DPXs will then need to be backed up (archived) for later conforming. Once that is complete, an offline copy must be generated. Finally, the DPXs may be required for 2K playback on a projector with full 3D LUT implementation. That’s a lot of tasks every day. Multiple models and formats - Panasonic AG-HPG20 with Sony HDCam SRW1 deck

DIT on a TV drama shoot For this example we choose the P2 system, say the new 3700 camera. This can record either 422 or 444, but let’s say in this instance 422 is fine for delivery for HDTV broadcast. Recording to tapeless P2 media will require the P2 cards to go through their daily routine of shoot, archive, offline then online. However, with the compression of P2 at AVCIntra 100 being quite high, we don’t need as big an infrastructure as the uncompressed example above and so fewer individuals will be needed on set. P2 media can be directly ingested into most facilities natively so the archiving of rushes, with playback if needed, becomes the main task since the offline copy is the master thereby removing a task. Once the P2 rushes have been archived (to formatted P2 hard drives), the rushes are then instantly viewable for checking and the archive disk can be sent to offline for editing and later conforming.

Workflow wiki We have covered just two of many,

many options here – and those very briefly. We could go on to include RED with its compact flash/hard drives, HDCam SR, XDCAM and SxS, plus any number of other ways of ‘skinning the digital cat’ and this would surely underline the need for the presence of skilled DIT/DFTs on set. Instead, this article is just a taster. Rather than fill up the whole issue with different examples, perhaps a smarter way of amassing a compendium of real-life workflows GTC members have been successfully (and even not so successfully!) involved in, is to collect together a ‘workflow reference’ section on the GTC website www.gtc.org.uk. As the new lexicon for the role of the DIT/DFT emerges, the GTC can be involved. If this article has inspired you to want to find out more about this new way of working, then Dan will be running a GTC workshop at the new P2 Experience Centre at Pinewood Studios on 28 August, plus we will be putting together the new ‘Workflow wiki’ on the GTC site in the coming months.

What does it all stand for? DFR digital film recorder DFT digital film technician DIT digital imaging technician DPX digital picture exchange LTO linear tape-open – open standards magnetic tape data storage LUT look-up table

Fact File Daniel Mulligan is a cinematographer/camera operator and has recently become a GTC Council Member. www.rogueelementfilms.com Tel: +44 7866 447564 To book a place on the GTC DIT/DFT workshop at the P2 Experience Centre at Pinewood Studios on 28 August, visit www.eventelephant.com/GTC2010Awards

P2 portable recorder hooked up to portable hard drive

ALPHA GRIP Alpha Grip, based in Pinewood Studios, supplies all types of dollies, modular and telescopic cranes, remote heads and all grip accessories. Experienced technicians are also available. Please refer to our website www.alphagrip.co.uk for full details of equipment available and our services.

The DIT at work on set

+44 (0)1753 639 200 info@alphagrip.co.uk

Autumn 2010 ZERB 77


WORKSHOPS

told to do the upgrade gets blamed when something goes wrong.

D

igital cameras produce huge amounts of data, which needs to be logged, copied, transcoded, displayed, output, and sent to an editor. The solidstate media that many cameras record to is too expensive to simply store on a shelf, as a tape might have been, so it needs to be copied off to another medium before it can be reused. All this takes time, effort and skill. This is where the Digital Imaging Technician comes in. This is someone who does the data wrangling and lots of other stuff that changes from job to job, and camera to camera, but hasn’t yet been codified in a clear way that allows DITs, or anyone else on a production, to know exactly what they do. This is one of the reasons that the Guild recently held a ‘Keeping Track of the Data’ workshop at Pinewood Studios, lead by DoP Dan Mulligan, of Rogue Element Films.

In his role as GTC Standards Officer, Dan is currently working with other interested bodies, such as the Guild of British Camera Technicians, the broadcasting union BECTU and the British Society of Cinematographers, to try to get some recognition and a grading path that fits within current pay structures for DITs. “There needs to be a structure to do it, or it’s unfair to the people who have put in the graft and learnt,” he said. DIT has now become a broad brush term for many roles on set including: image management; data management; quality control; applying look up tables (for viewing rushes); archiving; and setting up the digital infrastructure. However, there is no training or qualifications for DITs. Dan explained that the DIT role has evolved without a true understanding of what the tasks entail. A lot of people on set claim they are DITs, but don’t do anything more than transferring files. However, “the people in charge know less.” 15 16

When the cost of a whole day’s reshoot (or worse) can rest on the DIT making sure everything is copied, logged and archived correctly, it is a much more important role than it often given credit for. “Too often, all the responsibility of a £100,000 commercial may rest on the Red DIT, who is being paid less than a traditional film loader,” said experienced DIT, Dan Gagatt. There is a lot of confusion about what skill sets are needed for a DIT. Gagatt has worked extensively on set and in post, and takes the quality control aspects of his role seriously. Rushes are checked as soon as possible, rather than waiting to the end of the day, as it allows time for a reshoot if he spots something wrong. “A DIT can cover the roles of five or six people. It’s a hell of a lot of responsibility for someone who is on £200 per day, if he’s lucky,” said Mulligan. “It’s so expensive to re-shoot, you have to get it right, which is

Seeing Red

KEEPING TRACK OF THE DATA REPORT David Fox PICTURE Christina Fox why there is a need for proper training.” Mulligan believes that the natural fit for a DIT on set is within the camera department. “The skills required for entrylevel DIT staff is pretty straightforward,” – a basic understanding of how a set works, “so a camera assistant could do it fairly easily.” One problem is that a lot of DITs and DoPs don’t know much about the camera they are using, as each digital camera has its own features and settings. Mulligan has shot with just about every camera available, and has found that they all need different workflows. In the US, DITs are often expected to set up the camera for the DoP, because that is how DIT evolved there.

Making the work flow For high-end work, the DIT would deal with uncompressed DPX files, recording to RAID drives (such as S.Two mags) at 1.2GB per minute, in 4:4:4, “which is as close as digital can get to film.” For high-budget productions, such as Martin

Scorcese’s current 3D movie, Hugo Cabret and the data management team essentially has an on-set digital film lab. At the lower end recording is probably to small portable drives, attempting the difficult task of trying to judge picture quality on a laptop screen in less than ideal viewing conditions. Since the advent of the Red One - in particular, it has been easy for someone to get a laptop, download the free software from Red, and call themselves a DIT. “It’s causing problems for the more experienced people and for productions due to a lack of experience,” said Gagatt. One problem is that manufacturers give little support to DITs. “A lot of people are relying on finding the answers on the internet,” he added. Mulligan has had one supposed DIT come up to him and say: “I’ve worked on a job with Dan Mulligan,” and he’d never met him before – “the person was

just regurgitating someone else’s story from an internet forum.” This is why he is so keen to get recognised training for DITs, once it’s possible to agree on what a DIT is and does. “At the moment it’s like the Wild West: who’s the cheapest person out there.” “The disciplines have been there for years, such as clapper loader, but when it comes to the DIT role you’d think it would be common sense to talk to the experts early on to get advice and set up the correct workflows in advance, but that might cost money so productions end up spending more by not taking advice,” said Gagatt. “No one wants to change the way of working, but will need to look again at things to get the most out of the technology and gather the efficiency savings,” he added. “It’s very rare that you get a production that will have a meeting about it beforehand, although one that did the producer changed everything on the day,” said Mulligan. “The film workflow is well

known, but the digital workflow is still in a state of flux, because everyone has too many options.” Because digital doesn’t have film stock costs, it is easy to over shoot. Gagatt worked on a five-day commercial that turned over the data more quickly than it was possible to recycle the media (five drives per Red and two Reds), although he had two archive systems plus a backup. The infrastructure needed to backup data on location varies. Cabling can range from FireWire 800 (at the low end) to Ethernet or Fibre Channel. An uncompressed 4:4:4 production may back up to an S.Two Take2 workstation, with archive to LTO tapes (although 30 minutes of material can take 90 minutes). Each LTO tape has a unique barcode and you can’t write to the tape until the barcode has been added. An LTO 3 tape can hold 400GB, which makes it particularly suitable for archiving from a 320GB S.Two mag – “You don’t want to have

more than one mag on a tape for reliable reference,” said Mulligan. He often records on to a nanoFlash or P2 card at the same time for offline copies – as any camera that has HDSDI can record to either. Some TV productions use P2 as their master copy – the BBC drama, ‘Ashes To Ashes’, shot on an Arri D21, recorded to P2. However, for high-end work, especially where there will be a lot of visual effects, uncompressed is becoming more popular. “Getting things talking to each other is one of the most difficult issues. The computer may see the hard drive, but the software may not.” On one shoot, the DPX files were recorded 4:2:2 YUV, which Mulligan could see at his facility, but the post house couldn’t. “Once software starts driving all these environments, things will start failing more often.” Then “it’s your fault for recording in a format they can’t use, but the post house hasn’t thought to come on set and test,” he said. You can get a situation where a production upgrades camera firmware during a shoot, which he thinks is nuts, but the person

“Software is the weakest link. It often doesn’t work properly or makes the workflow more complicated than it should be,” said Mulligan. “Digital can be a very efficient way of working, but everyone needs to be in the same place,” where everyone has a defined role and works together. “Of course, some of the software issues may be people issues, as they have to learn a new program.” Many big shoots are relying on beta software from Red, which can go wrong. “Red is a very capable system. It delivers very good HD pictures, but is not entirely stable, even now,” added Mulligan. Gagatt had seen audio errors in the Red One, even when audio wasn’t being recorded, but he hasn’t seen that for some time, and now has confidence in the camera. However, he still sees problems with the backend software. The Red Raw files are computationally intensive, because they need to go through a deBayer (although there are accelerator cards available). The R3D data manager software can check the data as it copies, but slows the process down. “Most newcomers to Red, and many DITs, just drag and drop,” which doesn’t check anything. Because Red was so unreliable in the early days, Gagatt is “slightly paranoid about checking it.” On fast turnaround jobs it requires more than a laptop – he has an eight-core MacPro which he uses on these. He has lost data on several occasions, generally due to software errors, although he’s usually managed to retrieve it. “If you do a shoot on Red, try to stick to solid state media on 17 16


WORKSHOPS

told to do the upgrade gets blamed when something goes wrong.

D

igital cameras produce huge amounts of data, which needs to be logged, copied, transcoded, displayed, output, and sent to an editor. The solidstate media that many cameras record to is too expensive to simply store on a shelf, as a tape might have been, so it needs to be copied off to another medium before it can be reused. All this takes time, effort and skill. This is where the Digital Imaging Technician comes in. This is someone who does the data wrangling and lots of other stuff that changes from job to job, and camera to camera, but hasn’t yet been codified in a clear way that allows DITs, or anyone else on a production, to know exactly what they do. This is one of the reasons that the Guild recently held a ‘Keeping Track of the Data’ workshop at Pinewood Studios, lead by DoP Dan Mulligan, of Rogue Element Films.

In his role as GTC Standards Officer, Dan is currently working with other interested bodies, such as the Guild of British Camera Technicians, the broadcasting union BECTU and the British Society of Cinematographers, to try to get some recognition and a grading path that fits within current pay structures for DITs. “There needs to be a structure to do it, or it’s unfair to the people who have put in the graft and learnt,” he said. DIT has now become a broad brush term for many roles on set including: image management; data management; quality control; applying look up tables (for viewing rushes); archiving; and setting up the digital infrastructure. However, there is no training or qualifications for DITs. Dan explained that the DIT role has evolved without a true understanding of what the tasks entail. A lot of people on set claim they are DITs, but don’t do anything more than transferring files. However, “the people in charge know less.” 15 16

When the cost of a whole day’s reshoot (or worse) can rest on the DIT making sure everything is copied, logged and archived correctly, it is a much more important role than it often given credit for. “Too often, all the responsibility of a £100,000 commercial may rest on the Red DIT, who is being paid less than a traditional film loader,” said experienced DIT, Dan Gagatt. There is a lot of confusion about what skill sets are needed for a DIT. Gagatt has worked extensively on set and in post, and takes the quality control aspects of his role seriously. Rushes are checked as soon as possible, rather than waiting to the end of the day, as it allows time for a reshoot if he spots something wrong. “A DIT can cover the roles of five or six people. It’s a hell of a lot of responsibility for someone who is on £200 per day, if he’s lucky,” said Mulligan. “It’s so expensive to re-shoot, you have to get it right, which is

Seeing Red

KEEPING TRACK OF THE DATA REPORT David Fox PICTURE Christina Fox why there is a need for proper training.” Mulligan believes that the natural fit for a DIT on set is within the camera department. “The skills required for entrylevel DIT staff is pretty straightforward,” – a basic understanding of how a set works, “so a camera assistant could do it fairly easily.” One problem is that a lot of DITs and DoPs don’t know much about the camera they are using, as each digital camera has its own features and settings. Mulligan has shot with just about every camera available, and has found that they all need different workflows. In the US, DITs are often expected to set up the camera for the DoP, because that is how DIT evolved there.

Making the work flow For high-end work, the DIT would deal with uncompressed DPX files, recording to RAID drives (such as S.Two mags) at 1.2GB per minute, in 4:4:4, “which is as close as digital can get to film.” For high-budget productions, such as Martin

Scorcese’s current 3D movie, Hugo Cabret and the data management team essentially has an on-set digital film lab. At the lower end recording is probably to small portable drives, attempting the difficult task of trying to judge picture quality on a laptop screen in less than ideal viewing conditions. Since the advent of the Red One - in particular, it has been easy for someone to get a laptop, download the free software from Red, and call themselves a DIT. “It’s causing problems for the more experienced people and for productions due to a lack of experience,” said Gagatt. One problem is that manufacturers give little support to DITs. “A lot of people are relying on finding the answers on the internet,” he added. Mulligan has had one supposed DIT come up to him and say: “I’ve worked on a job with Dan Mulligan,” and he’d never met him before – “the person was

just regurgitating someone else’s story from an internet forum.” This is why he is so keen to get recognised training for DITs, once it’s possible to agree on what a DIT is and does. “At the moment it’s like the Wild West: who’s the cheapest person out there.” “The disciplines have been there for years, such as clapper loader, but when it comes to the DIT role you’d think it would be common sense to talk to the experts early on to get advice and set up the correct workflows in advance, but that might cost money so productions end up spending more by not taking advice,” said Gagatt. “No one wants to change the way of working, but will need to look again at things to get the most out of the technology and gather the efficiency savings,” he added. “It’s very rare that you get a production that will have a meeting about it beforehand, although one that did the producer changed everything on the day,” said Mulligan. “The film workflow is well

known, but the digital workflow is still in a state of flux, because everyone has too many options.” Because digital doesn’t have film stock costs, it is easy to over shoot. Gagatt worked on a five-day commercial that turned over the data more quickly than it was possible to recycle the media (five drives per Red and two Reds), although he had two archive systems plus a backup. The infrastructure needed to backup data on location varies. Cabling can range from FireWire 800 (at the low end) to Ethernet or Fibre Channel. An uncompressed 4:4:4 production may back up to an S.Two Take2 workstation, with archive to LTO tapes (although 30 minutes of material can take 90 minutes). Each LTO tape has a unique barcode and you can’t write to the tape until the barcode has been added. An LTO 3 tape can hold 400GB, which makes it particularly suitable for archiving from a 320GB S.Two mag – “You don’t want to have

more than one mag on a tape for reliable reference,” said Mulligan. He often records on to a nanoFlash or P2 card at the same time for offline copies – as any camera that has HDSDI can record to either. Some TV productions use P2 as their master copy – the BBC drama, ‘Ashes To Ashes’, shot on an Arri D21, recorded to P2. However, for high-end work, especially where there will be a lot of visual effects, uncompressed is becoming more popular. “Getting things talking to each other is one of the most difficult issues. The computer may see the hard drive, but the software may not.” On one shoot, the DPX files were recorded 4:2:2 YUV, which Mulligan could see at his facility, but the post house couldn’t. “Once software starts driving all these environments, things will start failing more often.” Then “it’s your fault for recording in a format they can’t use, but the post house hasn’t thought to come on set and test,” he said. You can get a situation where a production upgrades camera firmware during a shoot, which he thinks is nuts, but the person

“Software is the weakest link. It often doesn’t work properly or makes the workflow more complicated than it should be,” said Mulligan. “Digital can be a very efficient way of working, but everyone needs to be in the same place,” where everyone has a defined role and works together. “Of course, some of the software issues may be people issues, as they have to learn a new program.” Many big shoots are relying on beta software from Red, which can go wrong. “Red is a very capable system. It delivers very good HD pictures, but is not entirely stable, even now,” added Mulligan. Gagatt had seen audio errors in the Red One, even when audio wasn’t being recorded, but he hasn’t seen that for some time, and now has confidence in the camera. However, he still sees problems with the backend software. The Red Raw files are computationally intensive, because they need to go through a deBayer (although there are accelerator cards available). The R3D data manager software can check the data as it copies, but slows the process down. “Most newcomers to Red, and many DITs, just drag and drop,” which doesn’t check anything. Because Red was so unreliable in the early days, Gagatt is “slightly paranoid about checking it.” On fast turnaround jobs it requires more than a laptop – he has an eight-core MacPro which he uses on these. He has lost data on several occasions, generally due to software errors, although he’s usually managed to retrieve it. “If you do a shoot on Red, try to stick to solid state media on 17 16


WORKSHOPS the camera, as disk drives can get as roughly treated as the camera does – and you don’t know who has hired it before you.” However, the likes of Sony and Arri cameras work. Gagatt has done a couple of Alexa shoots and, even though it was beta software, there were no problems. Another problem for the DIT is being presented with formats you aren’t prepared for. Gagatt has been on a Red production where he then also had to deal with ‘making of’ material being shot on an EX3 and extra footage from a Canon EOS 7D (which took longer to transcode).

Mulligan does a lot of testing of different workflows and what is the best equipment to use, but he has a rental company so he has access to all of the equipment. For P2 cards, for example, he recommends one copy for archive, one for editorial and, preferably, a third for backup.

On Display

Everyone needs DITs It’s not just high-end productions that need a DIT. “People shooting P2; can they do all this on their own: copying rushes, logging, sending them back, etc.? It you shoot every hour of the day, how do you do the DIT role as an individual cameraman? We need the return of the camera assistant to look after file-based cameras,” said Mulligan. “Digital’s not difficult. People make is seem difficult because they don’t know enough and think it is more complicated than it is.” He has found it is unwise to record hours of video to a

single card or drive, because that will require hours to ingest. “It is better to shoot 20 minute chunks and have them copied, etc., during the day as you shoot,”

“Fully calibrated viewing environments are essential,” but where you are looking at the pictures makes a big difference – a forest at noon is going to be very different from a cinema. He recommends using a FilmLight Truelight colour

management system, which can apply calibrated LUTs to images on set. Hugo Cabret has a fully calibrated viewing environment next to the set, with a Christie 2k projector, with 3D LUTs, Baselight colour grading, etc., which can be used to do 80% of the grading during shooting - “but that is rare”. Mulligan recommends that productions don’t allow the equipment they have to dictate the workflow, but to decide how they want to shoot then get the right equipment. “Keep it simple and scale appropriately. Don’t limit yourself to one laptop when you need four, and don’t try to do colour grading on a laptop. You are downloading and archiving the negative, which is why it’s so important that the DIT protects the pictures from going missing.”

from GTC Member’s – By Christina Fox

Steve Horne - Cameraman and editor

Matt Conway - Lighting cameraman

“At my offices we’ve got tapes, we’ve got disks. We’re a jack of all trades to every format. So, I’m here to hear what everyone else is doing to make sure I’m going in the right direction. In terms of managing the media, controlling the media and getting the best out of it. I think we all get very insular in our day-to-day work and you don’t get a chance to hear what everyone else is doing.”

“I normally work in a small crew and I’m often left in charge of dealing with the rushes.

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“In the US, a DIT is treated as part of the team, and a good one is one of the first names you call. But here it is an afterthought. Most of the good DITs I know come from the camera team. They are part of the process, but many DITs are picked purely on cost.” Gagatt feels that DITs should at least have worked at the level of focus puller, so that they understand optics. “The more you know, the better; but do people really care? No they don’t,” he said.

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“So for me workflow has been the most interesting thing with a chance to see all the equipment and get your hands on it, so that you know what people are talking about Generally the move is towards going tapeless, so I’ve come to learn if they present you with that option. Hearing about the politics of it all is more about the codecs and quality control, plus the potential workflows fascinating and how it is all shaking down is interesting. Also to see how you can suggest to production - for important it is that there are well example I didn’t know you could trained people in that area.” record from a D21 on to P2 cards.

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“Producers need to recognise how important DITs are to their shoots.” One production he worked on lost a day’s shooting because it recorded the monitor output from the camera (complete with frames and data) rather than the clean output.

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19


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12/10/10

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Page 30

TVBEU R O PE T H E W O R K F L O W

Keeping track of the data The world is changing. With cameras now producing data rather than videotape, the complex world of digital imaging logging, storage, transcoding and output emerges into the light. David Fox analyses a recent Guild of Television Cameramen workshop designed to clarify some of the thorny issues involved in digital camera Digital cameras produce huge amounts of data, which needs to be logged, copied, transcoded, displayed, output, and sent to an editor. The solid-state media that many cameras record to is too expensive to simply store on a shelf, as a tape might have been, so it needs to be copied off to another medium before it can be reused. All this takes time, effort and skill. This is where the Digital Imaging Technician comes in, although exactly what a DIT does hasn’t yet been codified in a clear manner. To help clarify matters, the Guild of Television Cameramen recently held a ‘Keeping Track of the Data’ workshop at Pinewood Studios, led by DoP Dan Mulligan of Rogue Element Films. In his role as GTC Standards Officer, he is currently working with other interested bodies, such as the Guild of British Camera Technicians, the broadcasting union BECTU and the British Society of Cinematographers to try to get some recognition for DITs and a grading path that fits within current pay structures. DIT “has now become a broad brush term for many roles on set,” including image management, data management, quality control, applying look up tables (for viewing rushes), archiving and setting up the digital infrastructure. However, there is no training or qualification set for DITs. “The DIT role has evolved without a true understanding of what the tasks entail. A lot of people on set claim they are DITs, but don’t do anything more than transfer files.” However, “the people in charge know less,” he said. “Too often, all the responsibility of a £100,000 commercial may rest on the Red DIT, who is being paid less than a traditional film

NE0 SWER!IES

110 RCOM INTE NEL PA

Making the work flow

Dan Mulligan: “At the moment it’s like the Wild West: who’s the cheapest person out there? The digital workflow is still in a state of flux.”

loader,” added experienced DIT Dan Gagatt. “There is a lot of confusion about what skill sets are needed for a DIT.” Gagatt has worked extensively on set and in post, and takes the quality control aspects of his role seriously, checking rushes as soon as possible — rather than waiting to the end of the day. “A DIT can cover the roles of five or six people. It’s a hell of a lot of responsibility for someone who is on £200 per day, if he’s lucky,” said Mulligan. “It’s so expensive to re-shoot, you have to get it right. This is why there is a need for proper training.” Mulligan believes that the natural fit for a DIT on set is within the camera department. “The skills required for entry-level DIT staff is pretty straightforward” — a basic understanding of how a set works, “so a camera assistant could do it fairly easily.” One problem is that a lot of DITs and DoPs don’t know much

about the camera they are using, as each digital camera has its own features and settings. Mulligan has shot with just about every camera available, and has found that they all need different workflows. In the US, DITs are often expected to set up the camera for the DoP, because that is how DIT evolved there.

Dan Gagatt: “There is a lot of confusion about what skill sets are needed for a DIT”

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30

For high-end work, the DIT would deal with uncompressed DPX files, recording to RAID drives (such as S.Two mags) at 1.2GB per minute, in 4:4:4, “which is as close as digital can get to film.” For high-budget productions such as Martin Scorsese’s current 3D movie Hugo Cabret, the data management team essentially has an on-set digital film lab. At the lower end recording is probably to small portable drives — and probably attempting the difficult task of trying to judge picture quality on a laptop screen in less than ideal viewing conditions. Since the advent of the Red One, in particular, it has been easy for someone to get a laptop, download the free software from Red, and call themselves a DIT. “It’s causing problems for the more experienced people and for productions due to a lack of experience,” said Gagatt. One problem is that manufacturers give little support to DITs. “A lot of people are relying on finding the answers on the internet,” he added. Mulligan has had one supposed DIT come up to him and say: “I’ve worked on a job with

ZZZULHGHOQHW

Dan Mulligan,” and he’d never met him before. “The person was just regurgitating someone else’s story from an internet forum.” This is why he is so keen to get recognised training for DITs, once it’s possible to agree on what a DIT is and does. “At the moment it’s like the Wild West: who’s the cheapest person out there…” “The disciplines have been there for years, such as clapper loader,” said Lagatt, “but when it comes to the DIT role you’d think it would be common sense to talk to the experts early on to get advice and set up the correct workflows in advance. But that might cost money so productions end up spending more by not taking advice.” “It’s very rare that you get a production that will have a meeting about it beforehand,” said Mulligan. “The film workflow is well known, but the digital workflow is still in a state of flux, because everyone has too many options.” Because digital doesn’t have film stock costs, it is easy to over shoot. Gagatt worked on a five-day commercial that turned over the data more quickly than it was possible to recycle the media (five drives per Red and two Reds), although he had two archive systems plus a backup. The infrastructure needed to backup data on location varies. Cabling can range from FireWire 800 (at the low end) to Ethernet or Fibre Channel. An uncompressed 4:4:4 production may back up to an S.Two Take2 workstation, with archive to LTO tapes (although 30 minutes of material can take 90 minutes). Each LTO tape has a unique barcode and you can’t write to the tape until the barcode has been added. An LTO 3 tape can hold 400GB, which makes it particularly suitable for archiving from a 320GB S.Two mag. “You don’t want to have more than one mag on a tape for reliable reference,” said Mulligan. He often records on to a nanoFlash or P2 card at the same time for offline copies – as any camera that has HDSDI can record to either. Some TV productions use P2 as their master copy — the BBC drama Ashes To Ashes shot on an Arri D21, recorded to P2. However, for high-end work, especially where there will be a lot of visual effects, uncompressed is becoming more popular. “Getting things talking to each other is one of the most difficult issues. The computer may see the hard drive, but the software may not.” On one shoot, the DPX files were recorded 4:2:2 YUV, which www.tvbeurope.com O C T O B E R 2 0 1 0


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12/10/10

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TVBEU R O PE T H E W O R K F L O W Mulligan could see at his facility, but the post house couldn’t. “Once software starts driving all these environments, things will start failing more often.” Then “it’s your fault for recording in a format they can’t use, but the post house hasn’t thought to come on set and test,” he said. You can get a situation where a production upgrades camera firmware during a shoot — which he thinks is nuts — but the person told to do the upgrade gets blamed when something goes wrong.

Seeing Red “Software is the weakest link. It often doesn’t work properly or makes the workflow more complicated than it should be,” said Mulligan. “Digital can be a very efficient way of working, but everyone needs to be in the same place,” where everyone has a defined role and works together. “Of course, some of the software issues may be people issues, as they have to learn a new program.” Many big shoots are relying on beta software from Red, which can go wrong. “Red is a very capable system. It delivers very good HD pictures, but is not entirely stable, even now,” added Mulligan. The Red Raw files are computationally intensive, because they need to go through a deBayer (although there are accelerator cards available). The R3D data manager software can check the data as it copies, but slows the process down. “Most newcomers to Red, and many DITs, just drag and drop,” which doesn’t check anything. Because Red was so unreliable in the early days, Gagatt is “slightly paranoid about checking it.” On fast turnaround jobs it requires more than a laptop – he has an eight-core MacPro he uses on these. He has lost data on several occasions, generally due to software errors, although he’s usually managed to retrieve it. “If you do a shoot on Red, try to stick to solid state media on the camera, as disk drives can get as roughly treated as the camera does — and you don’t know who has hired it before you.” Another problem for the DIT is being presented with formats for which you aren’t prepared. Gagatt has been on a Red production where he then also had to deal with “making of ” material being shot on an EX3 and extra footage from a Canon EOS 7D (which took longer to transcode). It’s not just high-end productions that need a DIT. “People shooting P2; can they do all this on their own: copying rushes, logging, sending them back, etc? If you shoot every hour of the day, how do you do the DIT role as an individual cameraman? We need the return of the camera assistant to look after file-based cameras,” said Mulligan. “Digital’s not difficult. People make is seem difficult because they don’t know enough and think it is more complicated than it is.” He has found it is unwise to record hours of video to a single card or www.tvbeurope.com O C T O B E R 2 0 1 0

“Too often, all the responsibility of a £100,000 commercial may rest on the Red Digital Image Technician, who is being paid less than a traditional film loader” — Dan Gagatt drive, because that will require hours to ingest. “It is better to shoot 20 minute chunks and have them copied, etc., during the day as you shoot,”

Mulligan does a lot of testing of different workflows and what is the best equipment to use, but he has a rental company so he has

access to all of the equipment. For P2 cards, for example, he recommends one copy for archive, one for editorial and, preferably, a third for backup.

On Display “Fully calibrated viewing environments are essential,” but where you are looking at the pictures makes a big difference — a forest at noon is

going to be very different from a cinema. Mulligan recommends using a FilmLight Truelight colour management system, which can apply calibrated LUTs to images on set. Hugo Cabret has a fully calibrated viewing environment next to the set, with a Christie 2k projector, with 3D LUTs, Baselight colour Continued on page 34

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Keeping track of the data Continued from page 31

grading, etc, which can be used to do 80% of the grading during shooting — “but that is rare”. He recommends that productions don’t allow the equipment they have to dictate the workflow, but to decide how they want to shoot then get the right equipment. “Keep it simple and scale appropriately. Don’t limit yourself to one laptop when you need four, and don’t try to do colour grading on a laptop. You are downloading and archiving the negative, which is why it’s so important that the DIT protects the pictures from going missing,” said Mulligan. “Producers need to recognise how important DITs are to their shoots.” One production he worked on lost a day’s shooting because it recorded the monitor output from the camera (complete with frames and data) rather than the clean output. “In the US, a DIT is treated as part of the team, and a good one is one of the first names you call. But here it is an afterthought. Most of the good DITs I know come from the camera team. They are part of the process — but many DITs are picked purely on cost.” Gagatt feels that DITs should at least have worked at the level of focus puller, so that they understand optics. “The more you know, the better; but do people really care? No they don’t,” he said. www.gtc.org.uk www.rogueelementfilms.com

Data wrangling takes a step forward on Lijn 32 set. By David Fox

Marvin minimises media management One way to aid safe data capture on set is to use an automated data management system, such as that from Marvin Technologies. It is being used on its first production: an 80day shoot for the Dutch miniseries Lijn 32, where it is automating the creation of backups, LTO tape masters, QuickTime proxies for offline editing and DVD dailies, all in a single step. It is claimed to be “a fraction of the cost of competing data recorders”, and to provide data security and all of the production formats required for digital cinematography. The Amsterdam-based company has just signed a sales agreement with Band Pro Film & Digital, which will be its exclusive distributor in Germany, Switzerland, Austria and the US. “With the growing use of data cameras, like Red and SI-2K, data management is becoming as important as the camera used to capture it. Marvin is a natural result of this transition and is perhaps the simplest, most elegant solution available,” said Amnon Band, president of Band Pro. “New technology demands new tools, and Marvin is the data management solution that many Red owners and data camera-based productions have

On location automation: The Marvin workflow

Just in case: The Marvin system in its padded case

been waiting for,” added Gerhard Baier, managing director of Band Pro Munich. Marvin supports the Red One, Silicon Imaging SI-2K, Arri D21/Alexa, Panasonic P2, Phantom and Weisscam HS-2 cameras. The system is housed in a 4U housing with a padded case and controlled through a simple browser GUI running on

a laptop computer connected via Ethernet. Once users enter the settings for a new project, Marvin automates the rest of the process, saving hours of manual data wrangling and effectively eliminating the risk of human error. When removable media from the camera is attached to the system, Marvin creates verified copies of every shot to its own internal RAID5 storage array. The system then generates multiple verified LTO copies of all of the shots from the day, along with DVD dailies and QuickTime files for offline editing. Lijn 32 is an eight part thriller shot on Red MX cameras by ID TV for NCRV Channel 2 and KRO, for transmission over the coming weeks. The shoot is

generating between 150 and 200GB of data each day, captured on 16GB CF cards. Once full, the CF cards are attached to Marvin, which copies the data to its internal 12TB RAID5 array, as well as separate hard drives. Marvin verifies the data as it copies, flagging any corrupt file it finds. When the data is verified, it generates LTO tape masters, DNxHD 36 MXF files with a mixdown of the audio for offline editing and DVD dailies. “The idea of the Marvin is one thing, but when you put it to use on a real production, you experience the difference it makes in your work,” said Lijn 32’s director Maarten Treurniet, who co-developed Marvin because he wanted a simpler, more reliable data workflow. “We made some interesting discoveries on this project and what we have learned is flowing directly back into development on the Marvin.” During the first few weeks, they found that the standard Core i7 920 CPU could not process data fast enough to keep up with the volume of material being captured every day, so upgraded to an Intel Core 980x processor, which allowed it to copy 16GB cards in under 10 minutes, as well as verifying the data. “We had wondered if we would need to upgrade to an LTO4 drive, but we have found that LTO3 is fast enough to keep up. While we continue shooting, Marvin processes the data, creating the masters, offlines and dailies.” “We’re using a total of five CF cards on Lijn 32,” said the production’s DIT, Marcel Vendrig. “When we’ve copied the data, we erase the card and send it back to the cameras. We typically use each of those cards several times each day.” “Before Marvin, I did my data wrangling with a laptop, Data Manager and external hard drives,” said Treurniet. “When I had copied the files, I sent the drives to the post house where they created the dailies and offlines. It was more complicated and much more timeconsuming, and there was always the nagging fear that something might go wrong. “We know right away when there was an issue with a file. We can check to see if there is enough material to salvage the shot, or if we need to re-shoot. Out of 385 reels, which we have shot so far, we’ve only had four corrupt takes. Marvin flagged all of them and we had no problem dealing with the issues right there on the spot.” www.bandpro.de www.marvntech.com

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Redefining mobile, high definition recording with Cinedeck EXTREME™ by Raymond Burns

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BC 2010 saw the official European launch of Cinedeck EXTREME v2.0, an ultra-portable cinema grade integrated High Definition monitoring, recording and playback device that has already won numerous awards and accolades since making its first public appearance at this year’s NAB Convention in Las Vegas. Cinedeck EXTREME v2.0 incorporates a number of new enhancements including support for Apple ProRes, Avid DNxHD and CineForm Uncompressed. It also now offers the Cinedeck Fullstream Uncompressed™ option, which delivers industry-first uncompressed 444 or uncompressed 422 recording on a 2.5” RAID SSD flash drive, and the Cinedeck EXSync™ timecode module, which enables single, or multiple Cinedeck EXTREME devices to jam sync to SMPTE/EBU time code from a master clock.

Cinedeck founder Charles d’Autremont says: “Cinedeck was born from years of experience in the field, lugging so-called portable and very expensive tape and direct-to-disk solutions through the Panamanian rain forests, Turkish deserts, and on the back of jeeps hurtling down pot-holed roads of Kazakhstan - we finally said, this is ridiculous, we can do better.” Although a number of other products are targeting the same market, Cinedeck’s quality, portability and reduced data footprint are giving it a distinct advantage. But perhaps even more relevant is the way in which Cinedeck LLc has canvassed the opinion of professional end users at every stage throughout the R&D phase - and been so ready to

incorporate their suggestions into this latest version. In the UK, cinematographer Dan Mulligan is one of experts that d’Autremont called upon for feedback. Mulligan’s recent work includes shooting a Gary Player commercial for IMG and filming the final series of the much loved TV comedy Last Of The Summer Wine. He is now also the first person in the UK to use the Cinedeck EXTREME recorder in anger, having recently shot a 3D trailer, which will be employed to generate budget for a full length 3D feature film. Mulligan, who also runs equipment hire company Rogue Element Films, says: “I was invited to provide user feedback on one of the very early Cinedeck models and happily complied because

Created by cinematographers for cinematographers, Cinedeck is redefining mobile, digital cinematography by delivering the industry’s first extremely portable, affordable cameramountable cinema-grade DDR and editing system. On set with an SRW1/Viper kit and Cinetal monitor and Astro waveform

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the idea of a high quality, portable recorder was so intriguing. Having adopted uncompressed DPX capture many years ago and as someone who continues to pioneer file based workflows in the UK, I was keen to test the unit with our own F35’s, Viper’s and various other HD/ SDI cameras. We did this by taking the 444 and 422 outputs of both and recording in various codecs and frame rates. “Then, in December last year, we were provided with the opportunity to use it on a real shoot when we shot a 3D trailer for an upcoming Feature. For that we employed two SI2K camera heads recording to a single Cinedeck unit, which gave us a marvellous little 3D rig that was extremely portable and easy to use. This Cinedeck took the two feeds from the two SI2K cameras (via its Ethernet outputs), giving us instant playback of both left and right eye and allowed for an overlay playback also, all from the internal SSD drive. “We choose Cinedeck for this shoot due to its compact size and hence mobility. The SI2K cameras are extremely compact and to achieve the size of rig we were looking for we needed a small mobile recording system. 3D can be quite cumbersome due to the size of the rigs employed

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but by marrying a Cinedeck to the SI2Ks we achieved a small, mobile and nimble 3D rig, all powered from custom battery blocks (IDXs) which allowed us to be completely cable free and extremely mobile and quick on set. This was essential as the location in London was an old warehouse where we needed to be quicker on our feet considering the number of shots and time we had for the Production. For Post we archived the rushes via eSata to external drives which were then dispatched for Post Production. “Since then, we’ve been experimenting even more with the latest version, Cinedeck EXTREME, which incorporates a lot of the feedback we gave. For example our initial concern was that the fan was too noisy for onset use, but this has now been addressed so that it cuts out when you are turning over. Also the new additional codecs (ProRes, DNxHD with Cineform) gives us tremendous flexibility when choosing which recording codec best fits the Production’s workflow.” Weighing in at just 3kgs, this extremely portable unit is useful in any shooting environment but it makes even more sense for production crews who want to create their art in the field. CineDeck EXTREME includes a built-in 7” high resolution screen and has an HD recording capacity of up to two hours. It digitally records HD footage from any camera that outputs HDMI or HDSDI onto its off-the-shelf, removable solid-state drives. “It is small and does mount very neatly on a camera, which makes it very useful if you’ve got the camera on your shoulder shooting handheld, leaving you untethered to other external recording sources,” Dan Mulligan adds. “The fact that

you can record to readily available solid state media makes it very cost effective, and because it is tapeless file based recording and workflow it allows you to go straight through to editing, which simplifies that workflow and saves a lot of time.” Mulligan believes that Cinedeck EXTREME ticks a lot of boxes, not least because it gives a number of different recording options, including Cineform, ProRes and DNxHD, enabling the Cinedeck to fit nicely into Rogue Element Films long standing ethos of pioneering new ways of working and introducing new file based recording and workflow techniques. “You can choose whatever flavour of recording you want, depending on how you plan to edit. For example if you are using Final Cut Pro you can record in Pro Res, which means you can go straight from the recorder to the edit suite without the need for transfers. The same applies for DNxHD and Avid, but today DNxHD is mostly seen and regarded as a format for TV and Features editorial.” At IBC, Cinedeck announced that UK company Oxygen DCT had been appointed exclusive distributor for Cinedeck EXTREME in Great Britian and various other European territories. ”IBC 2010 was a critical show for Cinedeck,” says Alan Hoff, chief executive officer of Cinedeck LLC. “Following our successful US debut, we were very excited to meet European customers, prospects and partners and to hear first hand their challenges and requirements. Partnering with Oxygen DCT provides us with a direct connection to our European customers and offers them a level of service, support and expertise they’ve come to expect.”

Steve Hathaway, director of Oxygen DCT, adds: “In this cost-conscious world, any innovation that helps production companies meet film makers and broadcasters’ requirements for lower production costs is sure to be a winner – and Cinedeck EXTREME fits this brief perfectly. With a list price of just €11,000/£10,000 it enables users to shoot uncompressed, cinemagrade HD for a budget previously considered out of the reach of most.”

www. rogueelementfilms.co.uk F35/Alexa/Viper-Cinedeck UK rentals

www.oxygendct.com www.cinedeck.com


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