Tag Archives: Deluxe Creative Services

Post vet Russ Robertson returns to Deluxe, joins Encore New York

After a year away, Russ Robertson has returned to Deluxe as SVP of sales at the company’s Encore New York. With scripted original series reaching 455 — a record — in 2016 and more shows delivering in HDR formats, Robertson’s 20 years of post experience will support content creators as they navigate this global, multi-format market. He re-joins Deluxe after a year at Panavision, where he was VP of marketing of camera systems and production services.

Robertson first joined Deluxe in 2002 in Toronto. He spent 14 years as VP of sales in Toronto, Vancouver and New York. He helped establish the New York outpost of Deluxe’s Encore in the process. He began his 20-year post career in sales and services roles at a number of facilities in Toronto.

“I had an amazingly educational year learning about cameras and lenses, but there’s so much happening in post right now — new models, a sea change in workflows with HDR, and so much opportunity to help clients create content for worldwide audiences, I couldn’t stay away.”

Company 3’s Heydar Adel: The role of today’s online editor

Workflows for episodic TV have changed a lot over the last several years, sometimes daily. A role that has gone largely underappreciated in the process is online editor. Senior online editor Heydar Adel is no stranger to the process, having served in that role for over 17 years. While he has only been with Deluxe’s Company 3 in Santa Monica since last year, he is no stranger to Deluxe itself — he held a similar role at the company’s Encore facility for seven years prior to this recent move.

In describing his current role at Company 3, which provides high-end post services to feature film, commercial, music video and television clients, he says, “I primarily do conforming, which is essentially recreating what the picture editors are doing using smaller, more user-friendly files like Avid DNX-36, but with the larger and more robust files that our colorists works with. That could be a camera-original file format like r3d or ArriRaw, or it could be DPX or EXR, depending on the client’s requirements.”

In addition to the actual conforming of the files, he says, the process almost always involves creating some visual effects. “Elaborate effects and CGI work will go to an effects facility, but I do quite a lot of wire and mic removal, reframing, compositing and those kinds of effects. So that can be clean-up, stabilizations, laptop comps, cell phone comps, gunplay — like sparks and smoke — and those types of things.”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is just one of the shows that Adel lends his talents to.

Adel makes it clear that he’s not changing the story or making creative decisions, “but the level of polish on a show is quite different when I’m done with it than when it first get it.”

Let’s dig in a bit deeper with Adel to find out more about his role and his workflow…

What tools do you use?
I can work in any of the “online” tools, such as Autodesk Flame, which used to be Smoke. We’ve also started doing some work in Blackmagic Resolve, but I’ve worked most often in Avid since it became possible last year to use Avid Symphony for 4K finishing.

Picture editors mostly work in Avid, so that helps with efficiency. We’re finishing a lot of shows for Netflix and Amazon and other companies who want 4K, and now HDR. I’ve found that working in Avid requires a bit less guesswork in recreating some of the effects the picture editor created so I can focus on bigger issues like compositing.

Can you walk us through an average session?
We get the offline edit in whatever format they use — often DNX36 — and all the raw camera footage. Company 3’s data department handles any transcoding that might be required and then we archive everything. My assistant editor puts the entire project online and I watch a split, with the offline version playing back in one monitor and the larger files assembled on a timeline chasing that version. First I check and make sure that there are no discrepancies between the versions and then I start on the bells and whistles.

What determines what effects you do and what gets sent out to a VFX vendor?
Their editorial department prepares lists of work that needs to be done. I’m part of that conversation and I’ll bid specific effects. So I’ll determine it might take two hours to do the shot and they generally pay a certain hourly rate. Some effects shots require many hours. Then they determine whether they want to do it here or send it out based on any number of factors. For the last pilot I worked on, I did 1,200 Avid visual effects shots for one 80-minute piece.

What tools do you use for the effects work, or is it just Avid?
You can do some of the work in the actual online tool — Avid or one of the others. Beyond that I use Adobe After Effects for a lot of compositing and Mocha for tracking. Mocha (now a Boris FX product) is very effective, and the tracking information translates well into the editing tools. I’ve also done some work in Blackmagic Fusion when I’m using Resolve to conform because they talk well to each other.

What monitors do you use?
I use a big 4K UHD monitor (sometimes Sony, sometimes LG) as the primary display, an HD LCD HP DreamColor as a close-up monitor and an HD plasma for comparisons. I use a nice curved Dell monitor for UI, which has a super wide — 21:9 — aspect ratio. Avid and Resolve interfaces are dual monitor set-ups but you can fit the whole thing on this one screen, and I love it.

What are some industry trends you’ve noticed recently?
The speed at which things need to get done — it used to be 8-12 hours to conform and output a show, now maybe four or five and with a lot more visual effects. Of course, the machines are faster but then as the resolution of the files goes up things naturally slow down again. We’re also working with 16-bit files and HDR and that also slows things down. At Company 3 we’re always maneuvering through these technological changes.

What’s the most satisfying part of your job?
Working on shows I like! Recently, because I’m doing more and more, I have a sense of ownership. My job has changed; I’m not just a conform editor. I’ve contributed to it on an artistic level and I’m embracing the shift. So I watch them again and I’m proud of it. I’ve worked on shows I love and have gotten friends to start watching.

Black Sails Season 3

Black Sails

Name three pieces of technology you can’t live without.
Cutnotes is an iPad app I love. When we play out a show with a client, you sync up timecode in the form of a text file. You can input parameters, like that it’s a 23.976 project, and it’s very effective. I really do love Mocha. It lets me do planar tracking in 3D space. It’s the core of most effects I do. And I use After Effects all the time.

Can you name some of those shows you’ve worked on?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The Last Ship, Narcos, Black Sails, and a lot of other shows and pilots.

What social media channels do you follow?
Mostly Instagram. I follow photographers and DPs.

If you listen to music while you work, care to share some of your favorites?
I listen to EDM; ‘90s electronica, like Massive Attack and Chemical Brothers; and Jazz. It’s the best music for VFX comps!

What do you do to de-stress?
I spend a lot of time outdoors with my two little boys!

Agency producer Kitty Snyder heads to Beast, Company 3, Method in Atlanta

Post vet Kitty Snyder has been named director of creative partnerships for the Atlanta branches of Beast, Company 3 and Method Studios, all Deluxe Creative Services companies. Snyder will work with existing clients, establish new ones, and match projects with the right artists and solutions.

She comes to Deluxe Georgia from ad agency Huge Inc., where she was a commercial producer for clients like Airheads Candy. She often brought her projects to Beast, Company 3 and Method for post. She also spent more than a decade at post facility Crawford Media Services collaborating with a large team of artists and the production company now known as Chorus Films. Snyder got her start in the post industry as a coordinating producer and writer for HGTV and GPTV shows, and for various freelance producers.

She is also a singer/songwriter with her band called The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants, and can be seen playing in clubs around Atlanta.

We reached out to Snyder with some questions following her hire:

Why was now the right time to jump back into the post world from the agency
My career has always been highly focused in post production, so the question should actually be, “Why did you jump over to the agency side for a little while?” At the time, I had worked at a post house for almost 10 years, and was a production coordinator before that, so the tangent I took as a producer for agency Huge, Inc, was three-fold: I was ready for a change at that time, they have very impressive work and clients, and I wanted to experience the energy of an agency.

So it was a great move, but I quickly realized that I missed my true passion, which is being around editors, colorists, VFX artists, sound designers and music composers. I like to see the spots come together in the final stages — that’s what gives me the most inspiration. I also enjoy the process of meeting with creatives and clients — those who develop the concept, create the storyboard and want to see their vision brought to life — and then sharing with them the work of my talented colleagues, who not only accomplish that goal, but make it even better than they imagined.
Why these three companies? 
Because I have been in the post business long enough to know who the best of the best is. I know that I will be proud to represent these teams, as both individual artists and as a full-service post solution. And, when I walk in those doors, I feel like I’m home.

Deluxe Atlanta ups senior colorist Billy Gabor to MD

Senior Colorist Billy Gabor has been promoted to managing director of Deluxe Creative Services in Atlanta, which currently is home to local outposts of Company 3, Method, Encore and Beast. The new position serves to further unify the post services of each company under the Creative Services umbrella.

As one of the first colorists at Company 3 in Santa Monica, Gabor has been a key presence within the company since 1998. He helped establish Company 3’s East Coast operations in 2001 by opening and subsequently leading the New York office. In 2011, Gabor relocated to Company 3’s Atlanta outpost to serve as a senior colorist and advise on business development opportunities.

“Billy and I have worked side by side for more than 15 years as he has grown through our ranks. I value his insight and work ethic, and have every confidence that he will be an excellent leader as we expand our business locally in Atlanta and globally through our Creative Services network,” says Stefan Sonnenfeld, CEO, Deluxe Creative Services.