Tag Archives: Michael Cioni

Millennium Digital XL camera: development to delivery

By Lance Holte and Daniel Restuccio

Panavision’s Millennium DXL 8K may be one of today’s best digital cinema cameras, but it might also be one of the most misunderstood. Conceived and crafted to the exacting tradition of the company whose cameras captured such films as Lawrence of Arabia and Inception, the Millennium DXL challenges expectations. We recently sat down with Panavision to examine the history, workflow, some new features and how that all fits into a 2017 moviemaking ecosystem.

Announced at Cine Gear 2016, and released for rent through Panavision in January 2017, the Millennium DXL stepped into the digital large format field as, at first impression, a competitor to the Arri Alexa 65. The DXL was the collaborative result of a partnership of three companies: Panavision developed the optics, accessories and some of the electronics; Red Digital Cinema designed the 8K VV (VistaVision) sensor; and Light Iron provided the features, color science and general workflow for the camera system.

The collaboration for the camera first began when Light Iron was acquired by Panavision in 2015. According to Michael Cioni, Light Iron president/Millennium DXL product manager, the increase in 4K and HDR television and theatrical formats like Dolby Vision and Barco Escape created the perfect environment for the three-company partnership. “When Panavision bought Light Iron, our idea was to create a way for Panavision to integrate a production ecosystem into the post world. The DXL rests atop Red’s best tenets, Panavision’s best tenets and Light Iron’s best tenets. We’re partners in this — information can flow freely between post, workflow, color, electronics and data management into cameras, color science, ergonomics, accessories and lenses.”

HDR OLED viewfinder

Now, one year after the first announcement, with projects like the Lionsgate feature adventure Robin Hood, the Fox Searchlight drama Can You Ever Forgive Me?, the CBS crime drama S.W.A.T. and a Samsung campaign shot by Oscar-winner Linus Sandgren under the DXL’s belt, the camera sports an array of new upgrades, features and advanced tools. They include an HDR OLED viewfinder (which they say is the first), wireless control software for iOS, and a new series of lenses. According to Panavision, the new DXL offers “unprecedented development in full production-to-post workflow.”

Preproduction Considerations
With so many high-resolution cameras on the market, why pick the DXL? According to Cioni, cinematographers and their camera crew are no longer the only people that directly interact with cameras. Panavision examined the impact a camera had on each production department — camera assistants, operators, data managers, DITs, editors, and visual effects supervisors. In response to this feedback, they designed DXL to offer custom toolsets for every department. In addition, Panavision wanted to leverage the benefits of their heritage lenses and enable the same glass that photographed ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ to be available for a wider range of today’s filmmakers on DXL.

When Arri first debuted the Alexa 65 in 2014, there were questions about whether such a high-resolution, data-heavy image was necessary or beneficial. But cinematographers jumped on it and have leaned on large format sensors and glass-to-lens pictures — ranging from Doctor Strange to Rogue One — to deliver greater immersiveness, detail and range. It seems that the large format trend is only accelerating, particularly among filmmakers who are interested in the optical magnification, depth of field and field-of-view characteristics that only large format photography offers.

Kramer Morgenthau

“I think large format is the future of cinematography for the big screen,” says cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau, who shot with the DXL in 2016. “[Large format cinematography] gives more of a feeling of the way human vision is. And so, it’s more cinematic. Same thing with anamorphic glass — anamorphic does a similar thing, and that’s one of the reasons why people love it. The most important thing is the glass, and then the support, and then the user-friendliness of the camera to move quickly. But these are all important.”

The DXL comes to market offering a myriad of creative choice for filmmakers. Among the large format cameras, the Millennium DXL aims to be the crème de la crème — it’s built around an 46mm 8192×4320 Red VV sensor, custom Panavision large format spherical and anamorphic lenses, wrapped in camera department-friendly electronics, using proprietary color science — all of which complements a mixed camera environment.

“The beauty of digital, and this camera in particular, is that DXL actually stands for ‘digital extra light.’ With a core body weight of only 10 pounds, and with its small form factor, I’ve seen DXL used in the back seat of a car as well as to capture the most incredible helicopter scenes,” Cioni notes.

With the help of Light Iron, Panavision developed a tool to match DXL footage to Panavised Red Weapon cameras. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 used Red Weapon 8K VV Cameras with Panavision Primo 70 lenses. “There are shows like Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why [Season Two] that combined this special matching of the DXL and the Red Helium sensor based on the workflow of the show,” Cioni notes. “They’re shooting [the second season] with two DXLs as their primary camera, and they have two 8K Red cameras with Helium sensors, and they match each other.”

If you are thinking the Millennium DXL will bust your budget, think again. Like many Panavision cameras, the DXL is exclusively leasable through Panavision, but Cioni says they’re happy to help filmmakers to build the right package and workflow. “A lot of budgetary expense can be avoided with a more efficient workflow. Once customers learn how DXL streamlines the entire imaging chain, a DXL package might not be out of reach. We always work with customers to build the right package at a competitive price,” he says.

Using the DXL in Production
The DXL could be perceived as a classic dolly Panavision camera, especially with the large format moniker. “Not true,” says Morgenthau, who shot test footage with the camera slung over his shoulder in the back seat of a car.

He continues, “I sat in the back of a car and handheld it — in the back of a convertible. It’s very ergonomic and user-friendly. I think what’s exciting about the Millennium: its size and integration with technology, and the choice of lenses that you get with the Panavision lens family.”

Panavision’s fleet of large format lenses, many of which date back to the 1950s, made the company uniquely equipped to begin development on the new series of large format optics. To be available by the end of 2017, the Primo Artiste lenses are a full series of T/1.8 Primes — the fastest optics available for large format cinematography — with a completely internalized motor and included metadata capture. Additionally, the Primo Artiste lenses can be outfitted with an anamorphic glass attachment that retains the spherical nature of the base lens, yet induces anamorphic artifacts like directional flares and distorted bokeh.

Another new addition to the DXL is the earlier mentioned Panavision’s HDR OLED Primo viewfinder. Offering 600-nit brightness, image smoothing and optics to limit eye fatigue, the viewfinder also boasts a theoretical contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1. Like other elements on the camera, the Primo viewfinder was the result of extensive polling and camera operator feedback. “Spearheaded by Panavision’s Haluki Sadahiro and Dominick Aiello, we went to operators and asked them everything we could about what makes a good viewfinder,” notes Cioni. “Guiding an industry game-changing product meant we went through multiple iterations. We showed the first Primo HDR prototype version in November 2016, and after six months of field testing, the final version is both better and simpler, and it’s all thanks to user feedback.”

Michael Cioni

In response to the growing popularity of HDR delivery, Light Iron also provides a powerful on-set HDR viewing solution. The HDR Village cart is built with a 4K HDR Sony monitor with numerous video inputs. The system can simultaneously display A and B camera feeds in high dynamic range and standard dynamic range on four different split quadrants. This enables cinematographers to evaluate their images and better prepare for multi-format color grading in post, given that most HDR projects are also required to deliver in SDR.

Post Production
The camera captures R3D files, the same as any other Red camera, but does have metadata that is unique to the DXL, ranging from color science to lens information. It also uses Light Iron’s set of color matrices designed specifically for the DXL: Light Iron Color.

Designed by Light Iron supervising colorist Ian Vertovec, Light Iron Color deviates from traditional digital color matrices by following in the footsteps of film stock philosophy instead of direct replication of how colors look in nature. Cioni likens Light Iron Color to Kodak’s approach to film. “Kodak tried to make different film stocks for different intentions. Since one film stock cannot satisfy every creative intention, DXL is designed to allow look transforms that users can choose, export and integrate into the post process. They come in the form of cube lookup tables and are all non-destructive.”

Light Iron Color can be adjusted and tweaked by the user or by Light Iron, which Cioni says has been done on many shows. The ability to adjust Light Iron Color to fit a particular project is also useful on shows that shoot with multiple camera types. Though Light Iron Color was designed specifically for the Millennium DXL, Light Iron has used it on other cameras — including the Sony A7, and Reds with Helium and Dragon sensors — to ensure that all the footage matches as closely as possible.

While it’s possible to cut with high-resolution media online with a blazing fast workstation and storage solution, it’s a lot trickier to edit online with 8K media in a post production environment that often requires multiple editors, assistants, VFX editors, post PAs and more. The good news is that the DXL records onboard low-bitrate proxy media (ProRes or DNx) for offline editorial while simultaneously recording R3Ds without requiring the use of an external recorder.

Cioni’s optimal camera recording setup for editorial is 5:1 compression for the R3Ds alongside 2K ProRes LT files. He explains, “My rule of thumb is to record super high and super low. And if I have high-res and low-res and I need to make something else, I can generate that somewhere in the middle from the R3Ds. But as long as I have the bottom and the top, I’m good.”

Storage is also a major post consideration. An hour of 8192×4320 R3Ds at 23.976fps runs in the 1TB/hour range — that number may vary, depending on the R3D compression, but when compared to an hour of 6560×3100 Arriraw footage, which lands at 2.6TB an hour, the Millennium DXL’s lighter R3D workflow can be very attractive.

Conform and Delivery
One significant aspect of the Millennium DXL workflow is that even though the camera’s sensor, body, glass and other pipeline tools are all recently developed, R3D conform and delivery workflows remain tried and true. The onboard proxy media exactly matches the R3Ds by name and timecode, and since Light Iron Color is non-destructive, the conform and color-prep process is simple and adjustable, whether the conform is done with Adobe, Blackmagic, Avid or other software.

Additionally, since Red media can be imported into almost all major visual effects applications, it’s possible to work with the raw R3Ds as VFX plates. This retains the lens and camera metadata for better camera tracking and optical effects, as well as providing the flexibility of working with Light Iron Color turned on or off, and the 8K R3Ds are still lighter than working with 4K (as is the VFX trend) DPX or EXR plates. The resolution also affords enormous space for opticals and stabilization in a 4K master.

4K is the increasingly common delivery resolution among studios, networks and over-the-top content distributors, but in a world of constant remastering and an exponential increase in television and display resolutions, the benefit in future-proofing a picture is easily apparent. Baselight, Resolve, Rio and other grading and finishing applications can handle 8K resolutions, and even if the final project is only rendered at 4K now, conforming and grading in 8K ensures the picture will be future-proofed for some time. It’s a simple task to re-export a 6K or 8K master when those resolutions become the standard years down the line.

After having played with DXL footage provided by Light Iron, it was surprising how straightforward the workflow seems. For a very small production, the trickiest part is the requirement of a powerful workstation — or sets of workstations — to conform and play 8K Red media, with a mix of (likely) 4K VFX shots, graphics and overlays. Michael Cioni notes, “[Everyone] already knows a RedCode workflow. They don’t have to learn it, I could show the DXL to anyone who has a Red Raven and in 30 seconds they’ll confidently say, ‘I got this.’”

Quick Chat: Josh Haynie Light Iron’s VP of US operations

Post services company Light Iron has named veteran post pro Josh Haynie to VP of US operations, a newly created position. Based in Light Iron’s Hollywood facility, Haynie will be responsible for leveraging the company’s resources across Los Angeles, New York, New Orleans and future locations.

Haynie joins Light Iron after 13 years at Efilm, where, as managing director, he maintained direct responsibility for all aspects of the company’s operations, including EC3 (on-location services), facility dailies, trailers, digital intermediate, home video and restoration. He managed a team of 100-plus employees. Previously, Haynie held positions at Sunset Digital, Octane/Lightning Dubs and other production and post companies. Haynie is an associate member of the ASC and is also actively involved in the HPA, SMPTE, and VES.

“From the expansion of Light Iron’s episodic services and New York facilities to the development of the color science in the new Millennium DXL camera, it is clear that the integration of Panavision and Light Iron brings significant benefits to clients,” says Haynie.

He was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to answer some of our questions…

Your title hints Light Iron opening up in new territories. Can you talk about this ? What is happening in the industry that this makes sense?
We want to be strategically located near the multiple Panavision locations. Productions and filmmakers need the expertise and familiarity of Light Iron resources in the region with the security and stability of a solid infrastructure. Projects often have splinter and multiple units in various locations, and they demand a workflow continuity in these disparate locations. We can help facilitate projects working in those various regions and offer unparalleled support and guidance.

What do you hope to accomplish in your first 6 to 12 months? What are your goals for Light Iron?
I want to learn from this very agile team of professionals and bring in operational and workflow options to the rapidly changing production/post production convergence we are all encountering. We have a very solid footing in LA, NY and NOLA. I want to ensure that each unit is working together using effective skills and technology to collaborate and allow filmmakers creative freedom. My goal is to help navigate this team though the traditional growth patterns as well as the unpredictable challenges that lie ahead in the emerging market.

You have a wealth of DI experience and knowledge. How has DI changed over the years?
The change depends on the elevation. From a very high level, it was the same simple process for many years: shoot, edit, scan, VFX, color — and our hero was always a film print. Flying lower, we have seen massive shifts in technology that have re-written the play books. The DI really starts in the camera testing phase and begins to mature during the production photography stage. The importance of look setting, dailies and VFX collaboration take on a whole new meaning with each day of shooting.

The image data that is captured needs to be available for near set cutting while VFX elements are being pulled within a few short days of photography. This image data needs to be light and nimble, albeit massive in file size and run time. The turnarounds are shrinking in the feature space exponentially. We are experiencing international collaboration on the finish and color of each project, and the final render dates are increasingly close to worldwide release dates. We are now seeing a tipping point like we encountered a few years back when we asked ourselves, “Is the hero a print or DCP?” Today, we are at the next hero question, DCP or HDR?

Do you have any advice for younger DI artists based on your history?
I think it is always good to learn from the past and understand how we got here. I would say younger artists need to aggressively educate themselves on workflow, technology, and collaboration. Each craft in the journey has experienced rapid evolvement in the last few years. There are many outlets to learn about the latest capture, edit, VFX, sound and distribution techniques being offered, and that research time needs to be on everyone’s daily task list. Seeking out new emerging creative talent is critical learning at this stage as well. Everyday a filmmaker is formulating a vision that is new to the world. We are fortunate here at Light Iron to work with these emerging filmmakers who share the same passion for taking that bold next step in storytelling.

Light Iron beefs up TV division, adds colorist Jeremy Sawyer

President Michael Cioni discusses increased episodic work and his studio’s growth.

The quality of television programming — broadcast, cable and streaming — has never been better… from the writing to the acting to the final look of the shows. In response to the new business this production has brought to its facility, Light Iron is growing its television episodic division with talent and gear.

New hire Jeremy Sawyer is a colorist who brings with him a wealth of experience with TV, including grading The Walking Dead, The Closer, South Park, Major Crimes, Limitless and The Affair. He comes to Light Iron from MTI.  Prior to that he spent time at Company 3, The Syndicate and Finish Post.

Light Iron’s Hollywood location is adding a second television bay, a new online room and a dailies department for in-house and overnight dailies. Expect a similar expansion at the company’s New York studio in early 2016. In both cases, new hardware has been added specifically for television workflow, such as UHD and HDR monitors and dedicated SAN storage.

Michael Cioni

Michael Cioni

“We are coloring with the Sony BVM X300, which satisfies our needs for HDR 4K displays,” explains Light Iron president Michael Cionni. “We are also using the Sony 940c for a consumer confidence monitor check for HDR 4K material, which our clients appreciate. Our newest, optimized 1 Petabyte SAN comes from Quantum and runs StorNext 5.”

 

Sawyer’s upcoming projects at Light Iron include Season 6 of AMC’s The Walking Dead, Season 1 of History Channel’s Live to Tell and Season 1 of OWN’s Greenleaf. The post house, which is a Panavision company, says to expect more hires in the near future.

In terms of color grading gear, Sawyer is currently using Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio, running on Supermicro computers with multiple Nvidia GeForce GTX Titan X graphics cards to be optimized for 4K 60p content, which Light Iron is already using on one of their new shows — Wheeler Dealers  for Discovery Channel.

“Episodic projects make up about a third of our DI business in Los Angeles right now,” reports Cioni. “We expect to increase episodic finishing significantly in 2016 at our Los Angeles and New York facilities. Our newest location in New Orleans will support dailies and editorial for both episodic and feature projects.”

One can’t help but wonder how much of this television work is thanks to streaming services now creating their own content. “The truth is that OTT episodic content owners, such as Amazon and Netflix, are very interested in future-proofing their investments by embracing the same elements that Light Iron has been championing for years: file-based capture, mobile post, high dynamic range, wide color gamut and 4K-plus resolutions,” explains Cioni. “Our broadband clients are helping drive many of these innovations, and we’re excited that the balance of projects is shifting.”

Earlier in this piece, Cioni referenced Light Iron’s new studio in New Orleans. This location is part of parent company Panavision’s new 30,500-square-foot space, which will also house Light Iron’s first brick-and-mortar facility in Louisiana. The facility represents the first location the companies have shared since Panavision acquired Light Iron at the start of 2015.

Panel: The future of post production — 4K and HDR

By Larry Jordan

Last week, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel sponsored by KeyCode Media and Sony on “The Future of Post: 4K and HDR.” We spent 90 minutes discussing whether it was time for editors and post facilities to start editing 4K and/or HDR images, and what changes these new formats would require.

The panel featured Michael Cioni, president, Light Iron; Mike Whipple, executive director of post, Sony Pictures Entertainment; and Bryan McMahan, senior digital colorist, Modern VideoFilm.

Some Background
4K is the term used to describe image frame sizes that are close to 4,000×2,500 pixels. 4K actually has a variety of different aspect ratios – Michael Cioni listed six off the top of his head – along with a variation of 4K called Ultra HD (UHD).

HDR is the term used to describe High Dynamic Range video, which provides more grayscale values than traditional video. HDR is described as more “life-like,” and is especially notable because it provides richer blacks and more vibrant highlights.

HDR generally requires RAW files using a bit depth of 12-bits or greater. This means that file sizes will be much larger than standard HD video files. Also, for best results, HDR images should not use a compressed video codec. Additionally, footage needs to be captured during production as HDR, you can’t add it to footage after the fact during post.

Wide Color Gamut is the term used to describe video with greater color saturation than traditional video. Not “different” colors, but richer, more saturated colors.

In the shorthand of the panel, these formats were described as: more pixels, more gray-scales and more saturation. These new image standards are described in a SMPTE spec called “Rec. 2020.” This is similar in concept, but not in values, to the Rec. 709 spec we use for HD or Rec. 601 we used for SD.

As Cioni said: “People often speak of 4K or HDR or Wide Color Gamut. But it isn’t “or,” it’s “and.” The video we’ll be editing in the future will contain higher-resolution images and greater dynamic range and wider color gamut. Think of it as three legs of a tripod supporting the video of the future.”

Making Adjustments
New video technology often requires making adjustments to support it, however from the artist’s perspective, those adjustments are fairly minor. As McMahan described, there’s no difference from the creative perspective when grading 4K video vs. 2K or HD. There may be more pixels to work with, but the techniques he uses still work.

There is, however, a difference between color grading HDR video vs. “SDR” (or “Standard Dynamic Range” video as Cioni called it). McMahan said it took him a day or two to get comfortable with the new HDR format.

Once McMahan became comfortable with the format, he said it took him about the same amount of time to color grade an HDR master as an SDR master. In fact, “I think I can do HDR a little faster than SDR, because I have a broader palette to work with.”

The big difference with HDR, all three panelists stressed, was not the workflow, but getting a monitor that properly displays HDR video. Here, prices are not cheap. While no specific brands were suggested, a color-grade-capable HDR monitor is in the $30,000 price range.

Which brought up a key question for me: “Where’s the money?”

Who’s Buying?
Of the three panelists, only Cioni is directly involved in client prospecting and billing. So he and I talked about how editors and post houses would make money in this new format.

Cioni charges a “little bit” more for editing 4K video and “more” for HDR. We didn’t get into specific pricing.

Then he surprised me by saying, “The money for HDR and 4K won’t come from broadcasters or cable. They are a long way from updating their infrastructure to support this technology because the upgrades are expensive and time consuming. The market is broadband companies — Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Microsoft and Apple — who are able to instantly deliver 4K media directly to the home via the Internet.”

This agrees with trends I’ve been seeing. Traditional broadcast audiences are declining for everything but live events, while audiences for Internet-based video delivery are skyrocketing. The money is still in the older distribution formats, but the audiences are on the web.

Can You See the Difference, and Does It Matter?
We had a long discussion on whether the typical audience can actually see the image improvements of 4K. While panel members felt that 4K is instantly perceptible, I am less sure. On the other hand, if editing 4K allows editors to get more work, I’m in favor of it whether anyone can see the difference or not.

Where the panel was all in agreement was that the differences in HDR were massively better than traditional HD video. As Bryan said: “Once you’ve seen a properly graded HDR image, going back to SDR looks flat and lifeless.”

At this point, Cioni made an interesting comment: “It is easy to make a 2K, even a 1080 version of a 4K master file. Those conversion transforms are well known and don’t damage the image. With HDR, there’s no easy way to convert from HDR to SDR. For those cases, you’ll need to create two different color grades of your material.”

Hardware Needs
If an editor is successfully editing 1080 video, they can probably step up to 4K without needing to buy much new gear. Clearly, 4K requires more storage space and a 4K video monitor if you need to see your images pixel accurately. But for most creative editing, seeing the image at full resolution is not necessary, which means that editors don’t need a 4K monitor to do the creative cut.

However, as Michael Whipple pointed out, it is important to see the image at full resolution at some point during the edit just to make sure shots are in focus. Viewing images in less than full resolution tends to hide focus problems.

HDR and Wide Color Gamut video requires vastly larger storage due to the size of the source files, plus video monitoring gear that allows display of the extended color range images.

The big gating factor, as McMahan pointed out, is that an HDR monitor suitable for color grading is about $30,000. Which means we need to find ways to charge more to cover the costs of the gear required.

NOTE: Currently, Avid Media Composer, Premiere Pro CC and Final Cut Pro X don’t support HDR, except in a very rudimentary fashion.

Future Proofing
I decided to put Cioni on the spot by asking: “We are currently shooting 4K, 5K, even 6K images. NHK in Japan is planning on airing 8K images next year and 16K was demonstrated at NAB last spring. Should we just wait for three months for all the resolution specs to change again?”

Michael replied: “I expect 4K to be a standard delivery format for the next 10 years. While resolutions we use in production will continue to increase, the resolution we deliver will remain constant for a while. This means that editorial houses can standardize on a 4K deliverable.”

“HDR will take longer to develop because we need to get HDR-capable TV sets into the home to drive demand. The interesting thing about HDR is that it looks great regardless of the resolution of the video. HD, even SD, looks much better when displayed using HDR.”

Summary
It was a fascinating discussion, which made me realize that both high-resolutions and HDR/Wide Color Gamut are in our future. Bu maybe not today, due to a lack of widespread software support and companies focused on streaming to the web.

But, the future evolves faster than we think and last night’s discussion gave me a good idea of where we are headed. Thanks to KeyCode for allowing me to be a part of this discussion.

A video of the complete panel is below.

Larry Jordan is a producer, director, editor, writer, consultant and trainer who has worked in media for more than 40 years. He runs the LarryJordan.com and DigitalProductionBuzz.com websites.

Final Cut Pro X resurrected: Focus’ advanced workflow

By Daniel Restuccio

To many, Apple’s Final Cut Pro editing application died in June 2011 when they announced Final Cut X.  Derided as an odd version of iMovie, it lacked many of the features of Final Cut 7 and fell out of favor with many editors looking for an alternative to Avid Media Composer.

Nearly four years later Final Cut Pro 10.1.4 is fully resurrected and, for the makers of the Will Smith caper Focus, a godsend that provided a flexible, efficient and cost-effective workflow to post their feature movie shot on the Arri Alexa.

Less than two years since releasing the new MacPro “cylinder,” Apple claims that they have upgraded Final Cut Pro X to the level where it can be taken seriously again as a post production Continue reading

‘Gone Girl’: Light Iron and David Fincher’s path to 6K

By Daniel Restuccio

Light Iron Post CEO Michael Cioni is an outspoken and passionate advocate of pushing the edge of post technology for the mission of getting the best images possible on screen. David Fincher’s Gone Girl represents the third movie, following The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, that Cioni and his team have collaborated on with the director.

“If you are really doing something profound, you can’t solve it in one project,” shares Cioni, whose company has offices in LA and New York. With David Fincher and his team, key ideas don’t get put to the wayside after the movie finishes. “They store it, develop it and improve it, and then it’s re-deployed with more advanced technology on the next project.”

Continue reading

Light Iron extends Live Play experience to the cloud with Live Play 3

Based on user feedback from its TV and feature clients, NYC- and LA-based Light Iron has launched Live Play 3, an iPad app designed to be what they describe as “an all-encompassing VTR and dailies review system.” The new Live Play 3, which Light Iron calls a reimagining of its existing Live Play (now called Live Play Classic), features an intuitive interface, metadata sorting and cloud distribution of dailies. Live Play Classic will remain for sale on the App Store.

According to Light Iron (@light_iron) CEO Michael Cioni, “The new app meets the need for a seamlessly integrated system for both on-set review and cloud distribution of colored and synced dailies. Live Play 3 is also designed to be a creative asset management platform, empowering customers to maintain a centralized resource of media during the entire production and post process.”

Live Play 3 - Filtersmaller

The design of Live Play 3 features fast navigation through a media pool of thumbnail frame grabs. Users can choose among automatically-tagged scenes and shoot days, quickly filtering thousands of clips to find specific media. An active tagging feature applies metadata tags to multiple clips at a time, enabling search by an unlimited number of fields including circle, camera, actor and location, as well as custom tags. You can watch a preview video here.

Live Play 3 also uses 256-bit TLS encryption, so released dailies and associated metadata are stored securely in a cloud-based hub that can be accessed by the production team, editorial, VFX and other creative collaborators.

Live Play 3 also enables realtime streaming of camera feeds from remote locations.

“The advent of digital technologies and workflows has caused the market to become very fragmented,” says Cioni. “Multiple vendors each supporting a specific component of the pipeline — without understanding their impact on others downstream — may lead to a breakdown in the workflow. With the addition of Live Play 3, Light Iron is positioned to offer the community a vertically integrated system for creating, managing and delivering creative assets from the set through final delivery. Our Outpost system for on-set dailies creation, the new Live Play 3 and our digital intermediate services work in tandem to enhance collaboration and ensure efficiency throughout the entire creative process.”

Pricing for Live Play 3 will be offered in tiers based on data usage and whether productions want just set review or set review and cloud dailies. It’s sold differently from the Live Play Classic in that it will be sold directly to a production or business. Once installed and configured for that client’s needs, they’ll authorize their own users who will download the app for free from the app store and use their authorized login to access.

A beta testing period begins this summer.

 

Jean Lane joins Light Iron NY to oversee operations, growth

New York — Hollywood-based Light Iron, a post studio specializing in file-based workflows, has hired executive producer Jean Lane to lead its expanding New York facility.

The timing of the addition is no coincidence. Lane, who was most recently at New York’s Goldcrest, joins just as Light Iron (http://www.lightiron.com) has doubled the square footage at its Soho location. The studio will be focusing on features, television and spot work.

CEO Michael Cioni, who is typically based in LA, started spending much of his time in New York leading up to and opening Light Iron in Soho. He says that Lane’s experience was the right fit for the  company. “I directly oversaw our Manhattan launch a year ago, but then looked for a New Yorker to take over the reins as we moved into year two. Jean brings strong managerial, technical, and client relations experience to the team.”

Lane, most recently at NYC’s Goldcrest, has led teams there and a Lost Planet Editorial, overseeing post production services for docs and commercials. Her long career also includes creative editorial, production management, and casting.

“My role is to build on Michael’s groundwork from last year,” she reports. “I’ll see to it the construction of the expansion is completed as well as continue to build the feature work, round out the team with new hires and make sure operations are running smoothly.”

Light Iron NY - Edit Suitesmall

Doubling square footage at the 580 Broadway location, Light Iron’s expansion creates additional edit suites for the company to package with its on-set dailies services and digital intermediate services.

“We’ve customized these boutique suites to the New York film community’s tastes,” remarks Lane. “They’re high-end, spacious, and comfortable. And clients love the collaborative integration with picture finishing.”

Each edit room is fully customizable to the clients’ needs, with Avid, FCP (7 or X), Adobe Premiere as options.

A path to simplified 4K exhibition

Michael_01_crop

By Michael Cioni

The optimization of workflow in today’s motion picture industry is clearly adding competitive diversity to the marketplace. But without massive capital expenditures, having a competitive edge in the professional market is difficult for small businesses and independent filmmakers. Digital technologies help to democratize the industry, but by themselves they don’t automatically enable market penetration. That is: the right tools + experience + talent = the ability to leverage the benefits of digital cinema.

This is why existing cap-ex strong companies don’t automatically increase market share with digital tools they don’t fully understand, nor do new companies who understand these tools increase market share without access to professional talent. But when the elements above are harmoniously combined, the result is one that changes the outlook of a company, a customer, or even an entire community.

NAVIGATING YOUR WAY TO A SOLUTION
This reminds me of the subway systems of major cities. Visitors unfamiliar with navigating the colored patterns, names of stops, or the orientation of maps can become easily overwhelmed. Similar to modern cinema workflows, some people stumble along the path trying to make it to a known destination. Others give up and look to alternative options. And others never quite make it at all. Travelers must connect the relationships between the subway maps’ elements to unlock the potential of the city. In cinema, we think of this connecting process as “workflow,” but in mathematics, we call it an “equation.”

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