Tag Archives: Red Camera

Behind the Title: Park Road Post’s Anthony Pratt

NAME: Anthony Pratt

COMPANY: Park Road Post Production

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Park Road is a bespoke post production facility, and is part of the Weta Group of Companies based on the Miramar Peninsular in Wellington, New Zealand.

We are internationally recognized for our award-winning sound and picture finishing for TV and film. We walk alongside all kinds of storytellers, supporting them from shoot through to final delivery.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Workflow Architect — Picture

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I get to think about how we can work with a production to wrap process and people around a project, all with a view of achieving the best result at the end of that process. It’s about taking a step back and challenging our current view while thinking about what’s next.

We spend a lot of time working with the camera department and dailies team, and integrating their work with editorial and VFX. I work alongside our brilliant director of engineering for the picture department, and our equally skilled systems technology team — they make me look good!

From a business development perspective, I try to integrate the platforms and technologies we advance into new opportunities for Park Road as a whole.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
I quite like outreach around the company and the group, so presenting and sharing is fun — and it’s certainly not always directly related to the work in the picture department. Our relationships with film festivals, symposia, the local industry guilds and WIFT always excite me.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
My favorite time of all is when we get to see our clients work in a cinema with an audience for the first time — then the story is really real.

It’s great when our team is actively engaged as a creative partner, especially during the production phase. I enjoy learning from our technical team alongside our creative folk, and there’s always something to learn.

We have fantastic coffee and baristas; I get to help QC that throughout my day!

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
It’s always hard when a really fantastic story we’ve helped plan for isn’t greenlit. That’s the industry, of course, but there are some stories we really want to see told! Like everyone, there are a few Monday mornings that really need to start later.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
I get a huge kick on the days we get to sign off the final DCP for a theatrical release. It’s always inspiring seeing all that hard work come together in our cinema.

I am also particularly fond of summer days where we can get away from the facility for a half hour and eat lunch on a beach somewhere with the crew — in Miramar a beach is only 10 minutes away.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I’d be building my own business and making my own work — if it wasn’t strictly film related it would still be narrative — and I’m always playing with technology, so no doubt I’d be asking questions about what that meant from a lived perspective, regardless of the medium. I’d quite probably be distilling a bit more gin as well!

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION? HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I think it kind of chose me in the end… I’ve always loved the movies and experimented with work in various media types from print and theatre through animation and interactivity — there was always a technology overtone — before landing where I needed to be: in cinema.

I came to high-end film post somewhat obliquely, having built an early tapeless TV pipeline; I was able to bring that comfort with digital acquisition to an industry transitioning from 35mm in the mid 2000s.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
I’m profoundly privileged to work for a company owned by Peter Jackson, and I have worked on every project of his since The Lovely Bones. We are working on Christian Rivers’ Mortal Engines at present. We recently supported the wonderful Jess Hall shooting on the Alexa 65 for Ghost in the Shell. He’s a really smart DOP.

I really enjoy our offshore clients. As well as the work we do with our friends in the USA. we’ve done some really great work recently with clients in China and the Middle East. Cultural fusion is exhilarating.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
We worked with director Geoff Murphy to restore and revisit his seminal New Zealand feature from 1983 UTU Redux, and that was the opening night feature for the 2013 NZ International Film Festival. It was incredibly good fun, was honorable and is a true taonga in our national narrative.

A Park Road Mistika grading suite.

The Hobbit films were a big chunk of the last decade for us, and our team was recognized with multiple awards. The partnerships we built with SGO, Quantum, Red and Factorial are strong to this day. I was very fortunate to collect some of those awards on our team’s behalf, and was delighted to have that honor.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
I rely on clean water and modern medicine to help keep myself, and our wider community, safe from harm. And I am really conscious that to keep that progress moving forward we’re going to have to shepherd our natural world one hell of a lot better.

Powerful computing and fast Internet transformed not only our work, but time and distance for me. I’ve learned more about film, music and art because of the platforms running without friction on the Internet than I would have dared dreamed in the ‘90s.

I hold in my hand a mobile access point that can not only access a mind-bogglingly large world of knowledge and media, but can also dynamically represent that information for my benefit and allow me to acknowledge the value of trust in that connection — there’s hope for us in the very large being accessible by way of the very small.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
I kind of abandoned Facebook a few years ago, but Film Twitter has some amazing writers and cinematographers represented. I tend to be a bit of a lurker most other places — sometimes the most instructive exercise is to observe! Our private company Slack channels supplement the rest of my social media time.

To be honest, most of our world is respectfully private, but I do follow @ParkRoadPost on Instagram and Twitter.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK? CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
Our team has a very broad range of musical tastes, and we tend to try and share that with each other… and there is always Radiohead. I have a not-so-secret love of romantic classical music and lush film scores. My boss and I agree very much on what rock (and a little alt-country) should sound like, so there’s a fair bit of that!

When my headphones are on there is sometimes old-school liquid or downbeat electronica, but mostly I am listening to the best deep house that Berlin and Hamburg have to offer while I work.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
A quick walk around the peninsular is a pretty good way of chilling out, especially if it’s dusk or dawn — then I can watch some penguins on the rocks while ships come in and out of the harbor!

My family (including the furry ones!) are incredible, and they help provide perspective in all things.

Wellington is the craft beer capital of New Zealand, so there’s always an opportunity for some food and an interesting drop from Garage Project (or Liberty brewing out of Auckland) with mates in town. I try and hang out with a bunch of my non-industry friends every month or so — those nights are definitely my favorite for music, and are good for my soul!

IBC: G-Tech adds four new products to Evolution Series

G-Technology has added four new products to its Evolution (ev) Series, an ecosystem of docking stations and interchangeable and expandable external hard drives and accessories. The new products include the G-Speed Studio XL with two ev Series bay adapters, the ev Series Reader Red Mini-Mag edition, the G-Dock ev Solo and the ev Series FireWire adapter.

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The G-Speed Studio XL (pictured right) with two ev Series bay adapters is an eight-bay Thunderbolt 2 storage solution that comes with six enterprise-class hard drives and two integrated ev Series bay adapters for greater capacity and performance. The integrated ev Series bay adapters accommodate all ev Series drive modules, enabling cross-functionality with other products in the Evolution Series. Configurable in RAID-0, -1, -5, -6 and -10, it supports multistream compressed 4K workflows with extremely large volumes of data at transfer rates of up to 1,200 MB/sec and the ability to daisy chain via dual Thunderbolt 2 ports.

Designed to optimize a Red camera workflow, the ev Series Reader Red Mini-Mag edition uses high-performance connectivity for fast Red footage transfers and backup. Users can transfer content quickly from a Red Mini-Mag media card onto any G-dock ev docking station or G-Speed Studio XL with ev Series bay adapters. The ev Series all-terrain case, which is watertight, adds protection when shooting on the go.

For those who already have several G-Drive ev modules, the G-Dock ev Solo (pictured below) is a USB 3.0 docking solution for shared environments, including studios, labs and classrooms. Users can transfer, edit and back up an existing Evolution Series hard drive module by inserting it into the G-Dock ev Solo. When paired with the G-Drive ev, G-Drive ev Raw, G-Drive ev 220 or G-Drive ev SSD, the G-Dock ev Solo can store up to 2TB of data and transfer content at rates up to 400MB/sec.

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Finally, the new ev Series FireWire adapter attaches to an ev Series drive, allowing connection to an existing FireWire 800 port. Users can connect a G-Drive ev Raw, G-Drive ev, G-Drive ev 220 or G-Drive ev SSD to a computer via one of two FireWire 800 ports or daisy chain them.

The G-Speed Studio XL with two ev Series bay adapters, the ev Series Reader Red Mini-Mag edition and the G-Dock ev Solo will be available in October. The ev Series FireWire adapter is available now.

A Closer Look: Interstate’s work on Master & Dynamic headphones short

By Randi Altman

To tell the story of how their high-end MH40 headphones are made, Master & Dynamic called on New York-based production company Interstate to create a film educating potential buyers. Interstate is the US branch of the Montreal-based integrated production company BLVD. It’s run by managing partner Danny Rosenbloom (formerly with Psyop, Brand New School) and creative director Yann Mabille (formerly with The Mill, Mill+).

This almost 1.5-minute piece talks about the materials that go into creating the headphones and describes the manufacturing process and why it’s all meant to maximize sound quality. There are images of molten metal, flowing liquids and magnetized metal shavings that transform into headphone components. To create the finished look, Interstate captured as much as they could in-camera, shooting with a birds eye view, and a mix of stop motion and visual effects.

For the liquid aluminum sequence, Interstate used a material called gallium for the melting aluminum effect — also used in the original Terminator movies — and cast and melted an aluminum ingot from it on camera.

According to Interstate EP Rosenbloom, “The material melts at roughly 80 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s the same stuff some magicians use to bend spoons with their minds — not all of them, of course, because the good ones really can bend spoons with their minds!”

Interstate’s Mabille, who co-directed the piece with Adam Levite, answered our questions and helped us dig a bit deeper.

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How early did Interstate get involved with the project? 
We started to get involved during the final stages of setting up Interstate, which makes this project our very first. We thought it was a great way to start.

 

Were you involved in the creative, or did the client come with that already spelled out?
Miles Skinner, who is a freelance creative director for Master & Dynamic, wanted to create a sequence that suggested a building process that had a specific elegance and artistic value while showcasing the beautiful qualities of the raw materials used to build the headphones.

At the same time, the goal was to stray away from the traditional pipeline representations, which are usually hands or machines interacting with objects etc. We were tasked with finding creative solutions to implement Miles’ ideas. We conceived a semi-abstract representation of each of the main steps of the building process, starting by glorifying the raw materials, processing these materials in an interesting manner, and eventually ending it in an elegant way to showcase the finished product.

How much is live-action versus VFX?
The product is very well designed and has a great finish, so we knew that it would look great on camera. Adam and I love macro-photography and were keen to feature the natural beauty of raw and noble materials on a small scale. This naturally led to trying to shoot as much as we could in-camera, therefore limiting the role of VFX in the sequence.

That said, CGI was used to animate certain elements that would have been challenging to puppeteer on such a small scale. In order to add light interactions across the lens, cleanup and retime shots, we used 2D. We wanted to retain a physical approach from the very beginning to keep all the wonderful qualities of the raw materials as genuine as possible.

Did you do any prepro?
Indeed. Most of the prepro was spent getting to know the materials we were going to work with and how to best represent the headphones, as well as all the components used for the construction process. For example, we ended up using gallium to simulate melting aluminum, and a specific metallic powder was brought to life to shape components, such as steel screws, which were also made out of wax that we then melted. Overall, it was obviously much easier to film deconstruction and reverse the footage to give the illusion of construction.

Can you walk us through the production and post workflow? What did Interstate shoot on?
Alexander Hankoff was the DP. I had worked with him when I was at The Mill, and I always wanted to work with him again as I knew he had a great eye for macro-photography. He can find beauty where you expect it the least. He did a great job over the two-day shoot.

We shot the whole spot on a Red Epic camera, most of it at about 120fps. Also, production designer Jaime Moore and her prop master, Gino Fortebuono, were indispensable to the process and did a great job bringing this to life. We shot the whole sequence in a fairly big studio to make sure we could use different set-ups at the same time.

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Interstate produced and provided some post, but you also worked with BLVD. What exactly did they provide in terms of post?
Most of the time we will do all the post internally, but in this case we could not do all of it as we were just starting the company. BLVD was the right choice to help with the 3D and some of the 2D components, but their audio experience was key, and they also did a great job with the sound design.

How did you work with them on approvals?
We had daily reviews, which were all remote, but hassle free. Everyone was really responsive and engaged thoughout the process.

What tools were used for the edit, VFX and color?
Apple Final Cut, Autodesk Maya and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve for color.

How did you describe to your colorist, Tristan Kneschke, the look and feel you wanted for the piece?
A very favorite part of the process for me is to establish a color look, but I also think it’s crucial to sleep on it. It’s important to step back when you do coloring since your first pass will often be either too extreme or off tone. Keeping a fresh eye is the hardest thing to do while coloring. Luckily we were able to do that with Tristan. We established a look, which we then refined over the course of a week.

What was the most challenging part of this project?
Besides figuring out how to get the most out of the materials we had — the components that make the headsets or the materials used to shape specific objects — the conceptual phase was crucial and the most challenging. It was key to find the right balance between an overly abstract and removed representation of the actual building process, and an elegant and somewhat explicit representation of that same process. It was important not to get too far away from a clear and palpable depiction of what happens to the materials in order to constantly keep the audience hooked and able to relate to the product.

What haven’t we asked that’s important?
The client was amazing — they really gave us total freedom. Miles is a rock star, every idea he had was great and everything we proposed he quickly came on board with. As a company, we really wanted to make sure that our first piece out of the gate was memorable. I think we got there.

Offhollywood launches cinema camera accessory products

New York’s Offhollywood, the former post house turned camera equipment rental and production services boutique that focuses on emerging technologies, has entered the world of product development with three initial camera accessory products. HotLink, HotBox R/S and the HotTap will be on the Red Digital Cinema booth during the IBC show in Amsterdam.

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“Since we started Offhollywood in 2003, we have been alpha/beta testers and early adopters, providing feedback and ideas to leading technology companies in the content creation space,” reports CEO Mark L. Pederson. “We believe that technology will continue to evolve and radically empower content creators, and we are excited to stay on the edge of that change and develop and produce new tools and accessories for digit cinema, television and interactive.

The HotLink is a third-party hardware tool that facilitates wifi control of Red’s DSMC Digital Cinema camera systems, leveraging the RedLink Command Protocol, an open development platform for camera control and metadata integration, announced by Red at NAB earlier this year.

The Hotbox R/S was designed for rental houses to solve power distribution and run/stop camera triggering issues when working with Red DSMC camera systems, Arri Alexa and Amira cameras, and Sony F5 and F55s.

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The HotLink is a reinvented P-Tap power distribution splitter for powering camera accessories with the common, industry standard P-Tap power cables. The HotLink adds an internal resettable fuse and directional current protection on its 2-pin LEMO power input to protect the camera and attached accessories.

“First the lab moved to the set with the advent of on-set and near set dailies — and now the lab is moving into the camera and into your pocket,” explains Pederson. “Having full wifi control of the camera and metadata on a RAW digital cinema cameras with an iOS device is a powerful proposition. New applications such as FoolControl iOS are now setting the bar. Once you experience iris and lens control, exposure monitoring, slating and access of any and all settings on the camera from 50+ feet away — no wires — just the touch of your fingers on an iOS device you carry in your pocket — it’s pretty hard to not start working and thinking differently.”