Tag Archives: dailies

AJA adds HDR Image Analyzer 12G and more at IBC

AJA will soon offer the new HDR Image Analyzer 12G, bringing 12G-SDI connectivity to its realtime HDR monitoring and analysis platform developed in partnership with Colorfront. The new product streamlines 4K/Ultra HD HDR monitoring and analysis workflows by supporting the latest high-bandwidth 12G-SDI connectivity. The HDR Image Analyzer 12G will be available this fall for $19,995.

HDR Image Analyzer 12G offers waveform, histogram and vectorscope monitoring and analysis of 4K/Ultra HD/2K/HD, HDR and WCG content for broadcast and OTT production, post, QC and mastering. It also features HDR-capable monitor outputs that not only go beyond HD resolutions and offer color accuracy but make it possible to configure layouts to place the preferred tool where needed.

“Since its release, HDR Image Analyzer has powered HDR monitoring and analysis for a number of feature and episodic projects around the world. In listening to our customers and the industry, it became clear that a 12G version would streamline that work, so we developed the HDR Image Analyzer 12G,” says Nick Rashby, president of AJA.

AJA’s video I/O technology integrates with HDR analysis tools from Colorfront in a compact 1-RU chassis to bring HDR Image Analyzer 12G users a comprehensive toolset to monitor and analyze HDR formats, including PQ (Perceptual Quantizer) and hybrid log gamma (HLG). Additional feature highlights include:

● Up to 4K/Ultra HD 60p over 12G-SDI inputs, with loop-through outputs
● Ultra HD UI for native resolution picture display over DisplayPort
● Remote configuration, updates, logging and screenshot transfers via an integrated web UI
● Remote Desktop support
● Support for display referred SDR (Rec.709), HDR ST 2084/PQ and HLG analysis
● Support for scene referred ARRI, Canon, Panasonic, Red and Sony camera color spaces
● Display and color processing lookup table (LUT) support
● Nit levels and phase metering
● False color mode to easily spot pixels out of gamut or brightness
● Advanced out-of-gamut and out-of-brightness detection with error intolerance
● Data analyzer with pixel picker
● Line mode to focus a region of interest onto a single horizontal or vertical line
● File-based error logging with timecode
● Reference still store

At IBC 2019, AJA also showed new products and updates designed to advance broadcast, production, post and pro AV workflows. On the stand were the Kumo 6464-12G for routing and the newly shipping Corvid 44 12G developer I/O models. AJA has also introduced the FS-Mini utility frame sync Mini-Converter and three new OpenGear-compatible cards: OG-FS-Mini, OG-ROI-DVI and OG-ROI-HDMI. Additionally, the company previewed Desktop Software updates for Kona, Io and T-Tap; Ultra HD support for IPR Mini-Converter receivers; and FS4 frame synchronizer enhancements.

Company 3 buys Sixteen19, offering full-service post in NYC

Company 3 has acquired Sixteen19, a creative editorial, production and post company based in New York City. The deal includes Sixteen19’s visual effects wing, PowerHouse VFX, and a mobile dailies operation with international reach.

The acquisition helps Company 3 further serve NYC’s booming post market for feature film and episodic TV. As part of the acquisition, industry veterans and Sixteen19 co-founders Jonathan Hoffman and Pete Conlin, along with their longtime collaborator, EVP of business development and strategy Alastair Binks, will join Company 3’s leadership team.

“With Sixteen19 under the Company 3 umbrella, we significantly expand what we bring to the production community, addressing a real unmet need in the industry,” says Company 3 president Stefan Sonnenfeld. “This infusion of talent and infrastructure will allow us to provide a complete suite of services for clients, from the start of production through the creative editing process to visual effects, final color, finishing and mastering. We’ve worked in tandem with Sixteen19 many times over the years, so we know that they have always provided strong client relationships, a best-in-class team and a deeply creative environment. We’re excited to bring that company’s vision into the fold at Company 3.”

Sonnenfeld will continue to serve as president of Company 3, and oversee operations of Sixteen19. As a subsidiary of Deluxe, Company 3 is part of a broad portfolio of post services. Bringing together the complementary services and geographic reach of Company3, Sixteen19 and Powerhouse VFX, will expand Company 3’s overall portfolio of post offerings and reach new markets in the US and internationally.

Sixteen19’s New York location includes 60 large editorial suites; two 4K digital cinema grading theaters; and a number of comfortable spaces, open environments and many common areas. Sixteen19’s mobile dailies services will add a perfect companion to Company 3’s existing offerings in that arena. PowerHouse VFX includes dedicated teams of experienced supervisors, producers and artists in 2D and 3D visual effects and compositing.

“The New York film community initially recognized the potential for a Company 3 and Sixteen19 partnership,” says Sixteen19’s Hoffman. “It’s not just the fact that a significant majority of the projects we work on are finished at Company 3, it’s more that our fundamental vision about post has always been aligned with Stefan’s. We value innovation; we’ve built terrific creative teams; and above all else, we both put clients first, always.”

Sixteen19 and Powerhouse VFX will retain their company names.

Digital services company Mission hires Mirek Sochor

UK-based Mission, which provides DIT and digital lab/dailies services, has hired Mirek Sochor as manager for Central Europe. Sochor joins Mission from Universal Production Partners (UPP) in Prague where he was the associate producer and supervisor of the film and TV services department. UPP is one of the biggest post facilities in mainland Europe.

Sochor’s recent credits include Crazy Rich Asians, Carnival Row and Genius. Additionally, in 2013 he was named by the Czech Republic’s Minister of Culture as an advising expert in economical and technological aspects in the field of technical development and innovation in cinematography, and in the field of preserving the national film heritage and making it accessible to the public.

At Mission, he will head business and production in Central Europe, spearheading the company’s expansion into Prague and beyond. For the last few months Mission’s DIT Nick Everett has been supporting cinematographers David Moxness, ASC, and Sid Sidell, ASC, on the ABC TV series Whiskey Cavalier. ABC’s Whiskey Cavalier stars Scott Foley and Lauren Cohan.

Mark Purvis, Mission’s managing director, saw the opportunities in Prague and other locations in Central Europe, explaining, “We are strongly committed to providing the same high level of support to productions as we have in the United Kingdom, with a focus on streamlining workflows, adding the best staff in key locations and continually training our technicians to better service our clients.”

Mission continues to grow, with offices in London and Wales and an ever-expanding roster of world-class DITs and digital dailies lab operators. They have recently worked on feature films Yesterday, Mary Queen of Scots and Downton Abbey, TV shows A Discovery of Witches, His Dark Materials and Whiskey Cavalier plus many more. They are a key partner to many cinematographers, working with them from pre-production onwards, safeguarding their color decisions as a project moves from production into post.

Color for Television Series

By Karen Maierhofer

Several years ago I was lucky enough to see Van Gogh’s original The Starry Night oil on canvas at a museum and was awestruck by how rich and vibrant it really was. I had fallen in love with the painting years before after seeing reproductions/reprints, which paled in comparison to the original’s striking colors and beauty. No matter how well done, the reproductions could never duplicate the colors and richness of the original masterpiece.

Just as in the art world, stories told via television are transformed through the use of color. Color grading and color correction help establish a signature look for a series, though that can, and often does, change from one episode to another — or from one scene to another — based on the mood the DP and director want to portray.

Here we delve into this part of the post process and follow a trio of colorists as they set the tone for three very different television series.

Black-ish
Black-ish is an ABC series about a successful African-American couple raising their five children in an affluent, predominantly white neighborhood. Dre, an advertising executive, is proud of his heritage but fears that culture is lost when it comes to his kids.

There is no struggle, however, when it comes to color grading the show, a job that has fallen to colorist Phil Azenzer from The Foundation in Burbank starting with this past season (Season 4).

The show is shot using an Arri Alexa camera. The dailies are then produced by the show’s in-house editor. The files, including the assembly master, are sent to Azenzer, who uses the raw camera files for his color grading, which is done using Blackmagic’s Resolve.

Azenzer starts a scene by rolling into the establishing shot and sets the look there because “you can see all light sources and their color temperatures,” he says. “I get a feel for the composition of the shot and the gradation of shadow to light. I see what light each of the actors is standing in or walking through, and then know how to balance the surrounding coverage.”

In his opinion, networks, for the most part, like their half-hour comedies to be well lit, more chromatic, with less shadow and contrast than an average one-hour drama, in order to create a more inviting, light feel (less somber). “And Black-ish is no different, although because of the subject matter, I think of Black-ish as more of a ‘dramedy,’ and there are scenes where we go for a more dramatic feel,” Azenzer explains.

Black-ish’s main characters are African-American, and the actors’ skin tones vary. “Black-ish creator Kenya Barris is very particular about the black skin tones of the actors, which can be challenging because some tones are more absorbent and others more reflective,” says Azenzer. “You have to have a great balance so everyone’s skin tone feels natural and falls where it’s supposed to.”

Phil Azenzer

Azenzer notes that the makeup department does an excellent job, so he doesn’t have to struggle as much with pulling out the bounce coming off the actors’ skin as a result of their chromatic clothes. He also credits DP Rob Sweeney (with whom he has worked on Six Feet Under and Entourage) with “a beautiful job of lighting that makes my life easier in that regard.”

While color grading the series, Azenzer avoids any yellow in skin tones, per Barris’s direction. “He likes the skin tones to look more natural, more like what they actually are,” he says. “So, basically, the directive was to veer away from yellow and keep it neutral to cool.”

While the colorist follows that direction in most scenes, he also considers the time of day the scene takes place when coloring. “So, if the call is for the shot to be warm, I let it go warm, but more so for the environment than the skin tones,” explains Azenzer.

Most of the show is shot on set, with few outdoor sequences. However, the scenes move around the house (kitchen, living room, bedrooms) as well as at the ad agency where Dre works. “I have some preferred settings that I can usually use as a starting point because of the [general] consistency of the show’s lighting. So, I might ripple through a scene and then just tighten it up from there,” says Azenzer. But my preference as a colorist is not to take shortcuts. I don’t like to plug something in from another episode because I don’t know if, in fact, the lighting is exactly the same. Therefore, I always start from scratch to get a feel for what was shot.”

For instance, shots that take place in Dre’s office play out at various points in the day, so that lighting changes more often.

The office setting contains overhead lighting directly above the conference table, like one would find in a typical conference room. It’s a diffused lighting that is more intense directly over the table and diminishes in intensity as it feathers out over the actors, so the actors are often moving in and out of varying intensities of light on that set. “It’s a matter of finding the right balance so they don’t get washed out and they don’t get [too much shadow] when they are sitting back from the table,” explains Azenzer. “That’s probably the most challenging location for me.”

Alas, things changed somewhat during the last few episodes of the season. Dre and his wife, Rainbow, hit a rough patch in their marriage and separate. Dre moves into a sleek, ultra-modern house in the canyon, with two-story ceilings and 20-foot-tall floor-to-ceiling windows — resulting in a new location for Azenzer. “It was filled with natural light, so the image was a little flat in those scenes and awash with light and a cool aura,” he describes. Azenzer adjusted for this by “putting in extra contrast, double saturation nodes, and keying certain colors to create more color separation, which helps create overall separation and depth of field. It was a fun episode.”

In the prior episode, the show toggles back and forth from flashbacks of Bow and Dre from happier times in their marriage to present day. Azenzer describes the flashbacks as saturated with extremely high contrast, “pushing the boundaries of what would be acceptable.” When the scene switched to present day, instead of the typical look, it was shot with the movie Blue Valentine in mind, as the characters discussed separating and possibly divorcing.

“Those scenes were shot and color corrected with a very cool, desaturated look. I would latch onto maybe one thing in the shot and pop color back into that. So, it would be almost grayish blue, and if there was a Granny Smith apple on the counter, I grabbed that and popped it, made it chromatic,” explains Azenzer. “And Dre’s red sweatshirt, which was desaturated and cool along with the rest of the scene, I went back in there and keyed that and popped the red back in. It was one of the more creative episodes we did.”

When Azenzer first took over coloring the show, “everybody was involved,” he says. “I had a relationship with Rob Sweeney, but I was new to Kenya, the post team, and Tom Ragazzo, co-producer, so it was very collaborative at the beginning to nail the look they were going for, what Kenya wanted. Now we are at the point so when I finish an episode, I give Rob a heads-up and he’ll come over that day or whenever he can and bring lunch, and I play it back for him.”

It’s not as if the episodes are without change, though Azenzer estimates that 85 percent of the time Sweeney says, “‘Beautiful job,’ and is out the door.” When there are changes, they usually involve something nominal on just a shot or two. “We are never off-base to where we need to redo a scene. It’s usually something subjective, where he might ask me to add a Power Window to create a little shadow in a corner or create a light source that isn’t there.”

Azenzer enjoys working on Black-ish, particularly because of the close relationship he has with those working on the show. “They are all awesome, and we get along really well and collaborate well,” he says. Indeed, he has forged bonds with this new family of sorts on both a professional and personal level, and recently began working on Grown-ish, a spin-off of Black-ish that follows the family’s eldest daughter after she moves away to attend college.

The 100
Dan Judy, senior colorist at DigitalFilm Tree (DFT) in Hollywood, has been working on The CW’s The 100 starting with the pilot in 2014, and since then has helped evolve it into a gritty-looking show. “It started off with more of an Eden-type environment and has progressed into a much grittier, less friendly and dangerous place to live,” he says.

The 100 is a post-apocalyptic science-fiction drama that centers on a group of juvenile offenders from aboard a failing space station who are sent to Earth following a nuclear apocalypse there nearly a century earlier. Their mission: to determine whether the devastated planet is habitable. But, soon they encounter clans of humans who have survived the destruction.

“We have geographical locations that have a particular look to them, such as Polis (the capitol of the coalition),” says Judy of the environment set atop rolling hills lush with vegetation. “In this past season, we have the Eden environment — where after the planet incurs all this devastation, the group finds an oasis of thriving foliage and animated life. Then, gradually, we started backing off the prettiness of Eden and making it less colorful, a little more contrasty, a little harsher.”

The series is shot in Vancouver by DP Michael Blundell. The dailies are handled by Bling Digital’s Vancouver facility, which applies color with the dailies cut. As an episode is cut, Bling then ships drives containing the camera master media and the edit decision list to DFT, which assembles the show with a clip-based approach, using the full-resolution camera masters as its base source.

“We aren’t doing a transcode of the media. We actually work directly, 100 percent of the time, from the client camera master,” says Judy, noting this approach eliminates the possibility of errors, such as dropouts or digital hits that can result from transcoding. “It also gives me handles on either end of a shot if it was trimmed.”

Dan Judy

Vancouver-based Blundell sets the palette, but he conveys his ideas and concepts to Tim Scanlan, director and supervising producer on the show, with whom Judy has a longstanding relationship — they worked together years before on Smallville. “Then Tim and I will sit down and spot the show, setting looks for the scenes, and after the spotting session, I will fill in the gaps to give it a consistent look,” says Judy. Although Scanlan is in nearby Santa Monica, due to LA’s traffic, he and Hollywood-based Judy collaborate remotely, to save valuable time.

“I can remote into [Scanlan’s] system and color correct with him in full resolution and in realtime,” explains Judy. “I can play back the reference file with the dailies color on it, and I can split-screen that with him in realtime if he wants to reference the dailies color for that particular scene.”

For coloring the show, Judy uses Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve, which is also used to conform the series. Using Resolve’s Project Management tools, the editors and colorists “can all work on the project and contribute to it live, in realtime, simultaneously,” Judy points out. “So, I can be color correcting at the same time the editor is building the show, and getting all of his updates in mere seconds.”

Scanlan uses a remote Resolve system with a monitor that is calibrated to Judy’s, “so what he is seeing on his end is an exact replica of what I’m seeing in my room,” Judy says.

One scene in The 100 that stands out for Judy occurs early in the episode during the premiere of Season 5, which finds Clarke Griffin, one of the prisoners, trapped in a wasteland. He explains: “We had several different evolutions of what that look was going to be. I gave them a few designs, and they gave me some notes. Before the show was cut, they gave me little snippets of scenes to look at, and I did test looks. They came back and decided to go with one of those test looks at first, and then as the show progressed, we decided, collaboratively, to redesign the look of the scene and go with more of a sepia tone.”

Much of The 100 is filmed outdoors, and as everyone knows, nature does not always cooperate during shoots. “They deal with a lot of different weather conditions in Vancouver, unlike LA. They’ll get rain in the middle of a scene. Suddenly, clouds appear, and you have shadows that didn’t exist before. So, when that’s the only footage you have, you need to make it all blend together,” explains Judy. “Another challenge is making these amazing-looking sets look more natural by shadowing off the edges of the frame with power windows and darkening parts of the frame so it looks like the natural environment.”

Judy points to the character Becca’s abandoned lab — an elaborate set from last year’s season — as a scene that stands out for him. “It was an amazing set, and in wide shots, we would shape that picture with power windows and use color levels and desaturation to darken it, and then color levels and saturation to brighten up other areas,” he says. “This would make the room look more cavernous than it was, even though it was large to begin with, to give it more scope and vastness. It also made the room look dramatic yet inviting at the same time.”

All in all, Judy describes The 100 as a very edgy, dramatic show. “There’s a lot going on. It’s not your standard television fare. It’s very creative,” he says. “Tim and I did a lot of color design on Smallville, and we’re carrying on that tradition in The 100. It’s more feature-esque, more theatrical, than most television shows. We add grain on the picture to give it texture; it’s almost imperceptible, but it gives a slightly different feel than other shows. It’s nice to be part of something where I’m not just copying color for a standardized, formulaic show. This series gives me the opportunity to be creative, which is awesome.”

Dear White People
Sometimes color grading decisions are fairly standard on television shows. Black and white, so to speak. Not so for the Netflix series Dear White People, a comedy-drama spin-off from the 2014 film of the same name, which follows students of color at a predominantly white Ivy League college as they navigate various forms of discrimination — racial and otherwise.

Helping achieve the desired look for the series fell to senior colorist Scott Gregory from NBCUniversal StudioPost. Starting with Season 1, day one, “the show’s creator, Justin Simien, DP Jeffrey Waldron, executive producer Yvette Lee Bowser and I huddled in my bay and experimented with different ‘overall’ looks for the show,” notes Gregory.

Simien then settled on the “feel” that is present throughout most of the series. Once he had locked a base look, the group then discussed how to use color to facilitate the storytelling. “We created looks for title cards, flashbacks, historical footage, locations and even specific characters,” Gregory says.

Using stills he had saved during those creative meetings as a guide, he then color corrects each show. Once the show is ready for review, the executive producers and DP provide notes — during the same session if schedules permit, or separately, as is often the case. If any of the creatives cannot be present, stills and color review files are uploaded for review via the Internet.

According to Gregory, his workflow starts after he receives a pre-conformed 4:4:4 MXF video assembled master (VAM) and an EDL supplied by online editor Ian Lamb. Gregory then performs a process pass on the VAM using Resolve, whereby he re-renders the VAM, applying grain and two Digital Film Tools (DFT) optical filters. This gives the Red camera footage a more weathered, filmic look. This processing, however, is not applied to the full-frame television show inserts to better separate them from the visual palette created for the show by Simien, Bowser and DPs Waldron and Topher Osborn.

Scott Gregory

Once the VAM is processed, Gregory creates a timeline using the EDL, the processed VAM, and the temp audio, applies a one-light correction to all of the shots, and gets to work. As the color progresses, he drops in the visual effects, cleaned shots, composited elements, and some titles as they are delivered. Once the show is locked for color and VFX approval, he renders out a 3840×2160 UHD final 4:4:4 MXF color-timed master, which then goes back to the online editor for titling and delivery.

“Blue contaminated and lifted blacks, strong vignettes, film-grain emulation and warm, compressed filmic highlights are characteristics present in most of the show,” says Gregory. “We also created looks for Technicolor two-strip, sepia, black-and-white silent-era damaged print, and even an oversaturated, diffused, psychedelic drug trip scene.”

The looks for the flashback or “historical” sequences, usually somewhere in Act I, were created for the most part in Resolve. Many of these sequences or montages jump through different time periods. “I created a black-and-white damaged film look for the 1800s, Technicolor two-strip for the early 1900s, a faded-emulsion [Kodak] Ektachrome [film] look for the ’70s, and a more straightforward but chromatic look for the ’80s,” says Gregory.

Simien also wanted to use color “themes” for specific characters. This was reflected in not only the scenes that included the featured character for that particular show, but also in the title card at the head of the show. (The title card for each show has a unique color corresponding to the featured character of that episode.)

When coloring the series, Gregory inevitably encounters processing issues. “Using all the filters and VFX plug-ins that I do on this show and being in UHD resolution both eat up a lot of processing power. This slows down the software significantly, no matter what platform or GPUs are being used,” he says. In order to keep things up to speed, he decided to pre-render, or bake in, the grain and some of the filters that were to be used throughout each show.

“I then create a new timeline using the pre-rendered VAM and the EDL, and set a base correction,” Gregory explains. “This workflow frees up the hardware, so I can still get realtime playback, even with multiple color layers, composites and new effects plug-ins.”

Gregory is hardly new to color grading, having a long list of credits, including television series, full-length movies and short films. And while working on Seasons 1 and the recently released Season 2 of Dear White People, he appreciated the collaborative environment. “Justin is obviously very creative and has a discerning eye. I have really enjoyed the collaborative space in which he, Yvette, Jeffrey and Topher like to work,” he says. “Justin likes to experiment and go big. He wants the artists he works with to be a part of the creative process, and I think he believes that in the end, his final product will benefit from it. It makes for good times in the color bay and a show we are all very proud of.”


Karen Maierhofer is a longtime technical writer with more than two decades of experience in segments of the CG and post industries.

SIM Digital, Bling and Chainsaw under one roof

Earlier this month, SIM Group opened the doors to its newly completed West Coast headquarters, which houses SIM Digital, Bling Digital and Chainsaw. It’s located on the historic Eastman Kodak campus in Hollywood.

“We’ve got everything a production needs under one roof,” says SIM Group chief strategy officer James Martin. “You can prep and test cameras and lenses on the first floor, and the rest of the building can handle every aspect of post, from dailies and editorial offices all the way through final color and deliverables.”

This new space represents a big expansion of SIM’s camera rental business in Los Angeles. SIM Digital offers an extensive inventory of digital camera systems and related gear, internal space for camera testing and preparation, and multiple loading docks for streamlined fulfillment. All prep bays have fiber connectivity to the second and third floor where workflow specialist Bling Digital and post services provider Chainsaw live.

Resources include dailies processing, quality control, editorial finishing, color grading, visual effects, sound mixing and deliverables, as well as a new theatre that includes a 4K Christie projector. The first shows to prep in the new space include American Horror Story and Just Add Magic.

The new complex’s networking and storage infrastructure includes nearly one million feet of fiber and copper cabling and can accommodate productions of all sizes, including working in 4K, HDR and beyond. “We’ve built an open pipe that can handle the challenges of today and prepares us for the future. When new technology becomes available, we’ll be able to plug it right in. As the industry moves beyond 4K, we’ll be ready,” says SIM Group president of post and Chainsaw founder Bill DeRonde.

We recently followed up with DeRonde to find out more.

Can you talk about the thought process behind co-locating your three brands, and how you will keep them connected but separate as well?
Chainsaw, Bling and Sim Digital are independent companies. By combining the workforces into one location we are able to offer our clients control over their entire image chain and build a dynamic workflow amongst our groups.

SIM Digital’s camera prep bays are connected to both Bling’s dailies’ workstations and Chainsaw’s final color bays. This allows cinematographers to conduct tests, set looks and be immediately able to see the results in our facility. With the advent of new technologies, like HDR, it is more important than ever to understand how images flow from the camera all the way through final delivery.

Our concept-to-completion offering allows our three distinct teams the opportunity to collaborate yet maintain their professional identities and gives clients one point of contact all the way through their production. Although more and more shows are gravitating towards our complete cameras-through-post service offering, SIM Group will continue to offer the flexibility of a la carte services to satisfy client needs and respect and nurture those relationships.

SIM Group now has a presence across the US, as well as Canada. How do you walk that line between growing just enough but not too much? 
The SIM group teams work very hard to maintain extremely high levels of client services. As we work together and continue to grow, we will make every effort to maintain both our personal levels in client relationships and our boutique feel as vendors. Our “college campus” feel across all our locations promotes collaboration. Our staff across all cities and services love to feel connected, and it’s this enthusiasm and dedication that has allowed us to maintain the identity of a high-end boutique shop but with the ability to service shows no matter where they want to shoot or post.

Our plan is to continue our measured and organic growth.The industry is more nomadic than ever, and we’ve expanded our service line and geographic reach due mainly to our clients’ requests to provide our expertise across major production and post production centers throughout North America.

Main Image: The DI Theater.

Assimilate Scratch 8.5, Scratch VR Suite available for open beta

Assimilate is offering an open-beta version of Scratch 8.5, its realtime post system and workflow for dailies, conform, grading, compositing and finishing. Also in open beta is the Scratch VR Suite. Both open-beta versions give users the chance to work with the full suite of Scratch 8.5 and Scratch VR tools while evaluating and submitting requests and recommendations for additional features or updates.

Scratch Web for cloud-based, realtime review and collaboration, and Scratch Play for immediate review and playback, are also included in the ecosystem updates. Current users of Scratch 8.4 can download the Scratch 8.5 open beta. Those who are new to Scratch can access the Scratch 8.5 open-beta version for a 30-day free trial. The Scratch VR open-beta version can also be accessed for a 30-day free trial.

“Thanks to open-Beta programs, we get at lot of feedback from current Scratch users about the features and functions that will simplify their workflows, increase their productivity and enhance their storytelling,” explains Assimilate CEO Jeff Edson. “We have two significant Scratch releases a year for the open-beta program and then provide several incremental builds throughout the year. In this way Scratch is continually evolving to offer bleeding-edge functionality, as well as support for the latest formats, for example, Scratch was the first to support Arri’s mini-camera MXF format.”

New to Scratch 8.5
• Easy validation of availability of physical media and file references throughout a project, timeline and render
• Fast access to all external resources (media / LUT / CTL / etc.) through bookmarks
• Full set of ACES transforms as published by the Academy
• Publishing media directly to Facebook
• Option to launch Scratch from a command-line with a series of xml-script commands, which allows closer integration with post-infrastructure and third-party software and scripts

The new Scratch VR Suite includes all the features and functions of Scratch 8.5, Scratch Play and Scratch Web, plus substantial features, functions and enhancements that are specific to working in a 360 media environment.

Talking to Assimilate about new VR dailies/review tool

CEO Jeff Edson and VP of biz dev Lucas Wilson answer our questions

By Randi Altman

As you can tell from our recent Sundance coverage, postPerspective has a little crush on VR. While we know that today’s VR is young and creatives are still figuring out how it will be used — narrative storytelling, gaming, immersive concerts (looking at you Paul McCartney), job training, therapy, etc. — we cannot ignore how established film fests and trade shows are welcoming it, or the tools that are coming out for its production and post.

One of those tools comes from Assimilate, which is expanding its Scratch Web cloud-platform capabilities to offer a professional, web-based dailies/review tool for reviewing headset-based 360-degree VR content, regardless of location.

How does it work? Kind of simply: Users launch this link vr360.sweb.media on an Android phone (Samsung S6 or other) via Chrome, click the goggles in the lower right corner, put it in their Google Cardboard and view immediate headset-based VR. Once users launch the Scratch Web review link for the VR content, they can playback VR imagery, pan around imagery or create a “magic window” so they can move their smart phone around, similar to looking through a window to see the 360-degree content behind it.

The VR content, including metadata, is automatically formatted for 360-degree video headsets, such as Google Cardboard. The reviewer can then make notes and comments on their mobile device to send back to the sender. The company says they will be announcing support for other mobile devices, headsets and browsers in the near future.

On the heels of this news, we decided to reach out to Assimilate CEO Jeff Edson and VP of business development Lucas Wilson to find out more.

Assimilate has been offering tools for VR, but with this new dailies and reviews tool, you’ve taken it to a new level. Can you talk about the evolution of how you service VR and how this newest product came to be?
Jeff Edson: Professional imagery needs professional tools and workflows to succeed. Much like imagery evolutions to date (digital cinema), this is a new way to capture and tell stories and provide experiences. VR provides a whole new way for people to tell stories amongst other experiences.

So regarding the evolution of tools, Scratch has supported the 360 format for a while now. It has allowed people to playback their footage as well as do basic DI — basic functionality to help produce the best output. As the production side of VR continues to evolve, the workflow aligns itself with a more standard process. This means the same toolset for VR as exists for non-VR. Scratch Web-VR is the natural progression to provide VR productions with the ability to review dailies worldwide.

Lucas Wilson: When VR first started appearing as a real deliverable for creative professionals, Assimilate jumped in. Scratch has supported 360 video live to an Oculus Rift for more than a year now. But with the new Scratch Web toolset and the additional tools added in Scratch to make 360 work more easily and be more accessible, it is no longer just a feature added to a product. It is a workflow and process — review and approval for Cardboard via a web link, or via the free Scratch Play tool, along with color and finishing with Scratch.

It seems pretty simple to use, how are you able to do this via the cloud and through a standard browser?
Jeff: The product is very straight forward to use, as there is a very wide range of people who will have access to it, most of whom do not want the technology to get in the way of the solution. We work very hard at the core of all we have developed — interactive performance.

Lucas: Good programmers (smiles)! Seriously though, we looked at what was needed and what was missing in the VR delivery chain and tried to serve those needs. Scratch Web allows users to upload a clip and generate a link that will work in Cardboard. Review and approval is now just clicking a link and putting your phone into a headset.

What’s the price?
Jeff: The same price as Scratch Web — Free-Trial, Basic-$79/month, Extended-$249/month and Enterprise for special requirements.

Prior to this product, how were those working on VR production going about dailies and reviews?
Jeff: In most cases they were doing it by looking at output from several cameras for review. The main process for viewing was to edit and publish. There really was no tool targeted at dailies/review of VR.

Lucas: It has been really difficult. Reviews are typically done on a flat screen and by guessing, or by reverse engineering MilkVR or Oculus Videos in GearVR.

Can you talk about real-world testing of the product? VR productions that used this tool?
Lucas: We have a few large productions doing review and approval right now with Scratch Web. We can’t talk about them yet, but one of them is the first VR project directed by an A-List director. There are also two of the major sports leagues in the US who employed the tool.

Duck Grossberg joins Local Hero as CTO, will grow dailies, VR biz

Santa Monica-based Local Hero, a boutique post facility working on feature and independent films has hired Duck Grossberg as chief technology officer.

Grossberg, who was most recently at Modern Videofilm, will drive the overall technology vision for Local Hero, as well as expand the dailies part of the studio’s end-to-end workflow services. In addition, Grossberg’s significant virtual reality production and DI experience will also help fuel Local Hero’s rapidly growing VR business.

Grossberg has held a variety of technical roles over the past 15 years, working with facilities such as the The Creative Cartel, Deluxe Labs, The Post Group, Modern, Cameron/Pace, Tyler Perry Studios and 20th Century Fox.

As a DIT, digital lab supervisor and colorist (dailies and on-set), Grossberg’s credits include Real Steel, Life of P, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, as well as TV shows such as Dig, Tyrant and Sleepy Hollow.

“Local Hero experienced exponential growth in our core dailies, DI, VFX and finishing business in 2015,” says Leandro Marini, founder/president of Local Hero. “We also saw rapid growth in our VR dailies and finishing business, delivering nearly 20 projects for clients such as Fox, Jaunt Studios and the NFL. The addition of Duck is a crucial component to our expansion at Local Hero. The combination of his technical prowess, creative skills and client experience make him uniquely positioned to help drive our aggressive growth.”

The immeasurable beauty of film

This senior grader/colorist loves the look and feel of celluloid.

By Paul Dean

During my 34-year career as a film and digital grader/colorist, there has been much technological advancement. However, there is one enduring constant that never ceases to amaze me: film’s unique ability to capture and render light so beautifully.

This led me to ask myself some deep questions as to exactly why I prefer film over digital. The answer was quite a revelation and has more to do with human perception than anything that can be measured technically.

Regardless of how good next-generation digital cameras are, in my opinion, they simply fail to capture images with the same subtle, natural feel. This, I believe, is due to the unique way film captures light, which is incredibly similar to the way our eyes process light and color through the rods and cones of the human visual cortex.

If you view a very low-light scene in real life and allow your mind to describe what you are actually seeing, you will notice an effect comparable to film grain in dark areas as your eyes try to decipher what little light there is, creating subtle step-less progressions as the more discernible features emerge from granular darkness, forming an analogue curve that is perfectly replicated when film captures light.

The human subconscious has evolved over millions of years to be capable of detecting when something is instinctively wrong, without our conscious minds ever being aware of any impending danger. These deep subconscious survival instincts equip human beings with warning emotions such as the “sixth sense.” We have all experienced that gut feeling when we intuitively know when a situation is not as it appears and we are being deceived.

We are a highly developed, finely-tuned, organic, analog, three-dimensional species — is it really any wonder our powerful subconscious minds detect and reject two-dimensional 1s and 0s masquerading as human reality?

Cinelab recently worked on the dailies for Suffragette.

When viewing images captured on film I become totally immersed and engaged in the story and performances; the emotion and energy projected from the cast is fully conveyed to the audience, the movement and flow of the action effortlessly watchable.

Conversely, when I view images captured digitally, this all-enveloping engagement does not occur due to the constant distraction from my subconscious alarm warning, “Don’t trust it, it’s not real.” I feel that film absorbs the audience into the story itself, where digital leaves them on the outside looking in.

When you consider the huge amount of skill, time, passion, dedication and energy — not to mention the often vast sums of money involved in filmmaking — why choose to capture all of this on anything other than a technology that has been refined and perfected for over 100 years, and is absolutely unique in its ability to capture every facet of a production, every emotion and the very soul of a performance?

Of course, digital has its place and is rightly admired and respected; its technological achievements cannot be denied when specifications boast a resolution equal to, or greater than film, but I don’t agree with the fixation on these numbers — it is simply not better, it is just different.

Co-existence
The “Which is Best?” debate is irrelevant; the two technologies can and should co-exist. The choice will inevitably be genre led, however we must ensure a choice remains by not allowing film to disappear from the cinematographers palette.

Capturing a story in moving pictures is both complex and technical, but capturing emotion takes something more, something special. Film is something special, so let’s not lose it. If I had a story to tell, I would capture it on the beautiful canvas of film, and rest assured that nothing was lost in translation.

Paul Dean is head of telecine at Cinelab in London. For 20 years he has worked as a senior colorist, specializing in dailies/archive, working at Todd-AO UK, Soho Film Lab and Deluxe on hundreds of features and TV dramas. Dean joined Cinelab in 2013 to head up and develop its telecine, scanning and grading services.

Lenovo’s ThinkPad P50, P70: possible DIT powerhouses

By Boon Shin Ng

When I was asked by postPerspective if I’d like to get a hands-on preview of some of Lenovo’s upcoming embargoed products over lunch, my answer was, “Of course!” Technology and food — a match made in heaven!

Both lunch and tech did not fail that day. It was an intimate setting of five at an upstairs private balcony of a nice restaurant here in New York City. During lunch, we were presented with Lenovo’s latest laptops — the ThinkPad P Series, which includes the P50 (15 inches) and the P70 (17 inches). The company pitched them as workstations in a laptop size, which feature new Intel Xeon processors.

Thinkpad_P70_Hero_Shot2

While Lenovo went over the details of the products, I began wondering if they could be used as part of my DIT setup in order to reduce my footprint. In my mind I kept checking boxes:

– Number pad on a 15-inch laptop — check
– USB 3.1/Thunderbolt 3, offering transfer speeds of 40Gbps — check
– 4K UHD IPS display and FHD touchscreen options — check
– Integrated X-Rite Pantone color calibration — check
– Two dims (oh wait, no, it has four DIMMS!) – check
– RAID-capable drive setup — check (M.2 PCIe is an option)
– Solid and rugged feel – check

For those who remember the ThinkPad when it belonged to IBM — before Lenovo bought the technology — the little red knob tracker is there. Double check!

The machines also feature Nvidia Quadro graphics and up to 64GB DDR4 ECC memory.

The beauty of the machine comes in its innards. While we were presented with three different kinds of antipasti, the different parts of the machine were handed over to us to get hands-on. The roll cage was surprisingly light and sturdy. When I held it up, it looked like a piece of steam-punk art. The cooling design continued along this theme, with its two fans on each end — brass-like tubes extended toward each other and melded together as one piece. I didn’t know a laptop could be sexy on the inside.

Thinkpad_P50_Hero_Shot2Thinkpad_P70_Close-up_Shot1

While I mulled over how lucky I was to be able to get to see the insides of a laptop (Yes, I’m that geeky!), our steak entrée came and we all started chatting about the weather, our first computers and what other things we would like to see in a laptop. It was informal, casual and relaxing, which is exactly how I like my tech to be presented.

When the preview of the tech ended, and as I walked the streets of New York on the way to my next meeting, I thought about using this laptop as my next DIT setup. The many I/O ports are always a plus, and integrated color calibration is nice to have, although it will not replace a reference monitor on the set. I’m the kind of person who will need to test the laptop out thoroughly before drawing a conclusion on its value, but it’s looking very promising for a start. Look to this space in the future for a full review.

Now I am just waiting for the day when we can have screens flexible enough to be able to open up a laptop like a pop-up book, to have three different screens and a pen tablet. I hope to be among the first to see that, and if it’s over a delicious lunch, all the better.

Boon Shin Ng is a NYC-based post pro working in turnovers, workflow, finishing, online, color and dailies.

Frame.io companion app for Final Cut Pro X now available

Frame.io has made available a companion desktop app for OS X users that tightly integrates its video review, collaboration and sharing platform with Apple’s Final Cut Pro X software. Editors can now publish individual clips or an entire timeline in full quality (ProRes 4444) or proxy (MP4) to Frame.io. At that point, Frame.io automatically notifies everyone in the Frame.io project, who can then either see previews of the timeline on the Web or download the full-quality version.

“The Final Cut Pro X integration was important because seamless workflow with the creative tools you already use is an essential part of our strategy,” explains Emery Wells. “We’ve built some truly massive time-saving features into this app. For the first time, you can batch export a Final Cut timeline as individual clips and upload to the cloud in one step. We also let you selectively mark clips for upload so if three or four clips need to be rendered out for your VFX team, you don’t have to pull them out or deconstruct your entire timeline. Just mark them and upload in one step.”

Artists and editors can use Frame.io’s new FCP X companion app to:
• Quickly publish an FCP X timeline for work-in-progress review
• Upload digital dailies with synced sound
• Share a full timeline or selected clips from a timeline with the team for VFX or color grading

Features of the new companion app allow editors to:
• Use markers in FCP X to upload select clips
• Exclude clips that are disabled in the timeline
• Select a portion of the timeline to upload to Frame.io
• Embed FCP X notes and keywords into clips, which are searchable from Spotlight

Frame.io is built for collaboration, offering the ability to create a private workspace for each project on the docket and decide who has access to what. Every action performed is tied to an individual user and tracked so that project participants receive notifications about what’s happening in the project.

The Frame.io companion app for Final Cut Pro X users is available for free in the Mac App Store, and check out their video here https://vimeo.com/131701161.

Jeff Edson talks about Assimilate Scratch/Kinefinity camera bundle

Last week Assimilate announced a partnership with the Chinese camera company Kinefinity, which, says the company, provides a digital filmmaking path from on-set production to post to the high-growth Chinese marketplace, where Kinefinity has a large foothold.

Assimilate says this collaboration offers Chinese filmmakers an all-in-one solution for 2D/3D productions, from image capture with a high-resolution Kinefinity camera (4K, 6K) — which uses the KineRaw codec — to using Scratch tools for on-set data management and dailies and post, including conform, color grading, versioning, compositing, finishing and mastering. A key component of the partnership is the commitment to provide localized tutorials and technical support to the Chinese market.

The partnership also includes Kinefinity becoming a global reseller of the Scratch product line. Kinefinity is now offering a Kinefinity-Scratch bundle for new customers… worldwide. If someone buys a KineMini 4K or KineMax 6K camera, they receive one Scratch product license (a one-year subscription) for free. Kinefinity is also offering current Kinefinity camera owners special pricing for the purchase of Scratch.

In addition, Kinefinity is offering all of their camera customers the ability to acquire further Scratch licenses at a discounted price. (Without the discount, the current global pricing for Scratch 8.3 is one-year rental license at $650 US and a permanent license — including first-year maintenance/support — is $3,000 US.)

Jeff Edson, and milkshake

Jeff Edson, and a milkshake.

On the heels of this announcement we reached out to Assimilate CEO Jeff Edson to find out more.

Your announcement about this partnership emphasized the Chinese market, but you also mention these bundles are available worldwide. Are Kinefinity cameras only available in China?
No, the cameras are available worldwide. Kinefinity is building their channels outside of China, and have a reseller in Europe. But  this is clearly important to Assimilate from the standpoint of the Chinese market. For us this is a key partnership for that market: a localization and local support partner, etc.

In what other countries do you expect this bundle to play a big role?
With the number of digital cameras that keep coming to market — each one with their own set of unique offerings — we see more and more people who are camera neutral. Shooters are trying everything new that comes along, all in the name of creating the best images they can. I think that it is key for all cameras to be honest — a workflow that goes along with their cameras.

We see almost all cinema cameras providing some tool to get people from camera to some point in the post workflow. With the rate at which new technology comes to market, to keep this from becoming all about technology and focused on creating great stories, these kinds of bundles are important, in my opinion.

What are the benefits of this particular bundle for filmmakers? Is it only for the high-end or anyone shooting on any camera?
Kinefinity has a 4K Mini as well as their 6K high-end cameras. I talked a bit about the importance of these kinds of bundles with new cameras and, to be honest, the ability to deliver this kind of bundle helps with the deployment/use/success of using new cameras…so I  believe the target is everyone.

Can you walk us through the workflow benefits of this bundle?
It provides the kind of camera-to-dailies controls/workflow that is key to developing on-set looks and then takes it seamlessly to post and finishing, As you know, Scratch is used worldwide in all parts of the workflow, from on-set to finishing and everything in between. This provides filmmakers the ability to shoot with these new cameras and work in ways they are used to, focusing on the imagery as opposed to technology.

Can users expect other types of bundles like this with other camera makers?
Time will tell…there have been these kinds of conversations with camera vendors for years. For example, our relationship with Red started from day one. They did not bundle, but certainly promoted with us closely.

We have done some special promotions regionally with Sony, specifically in Latin America. It is not a bundle, per se, but it is a very aggressive offering with their F55/F65 cameras in that region. This was also done with Sony in the EMEA market.

At the channel level we have done a bundle with AJA Kona4/Io 4K products (via B&H) as well as announced a bundle with Bluefish444 with their 4K Neutron product. I believe that as all parts of the technology move ahead for 4K and beyond, focusing on workflow is more important than the pieces.

Anything I haven’t asked that you would like to add or elaborate on?
As you know from our history, Assimilate has always been on the front edge of technology in our markets, and the same is true with VR now. This is a market that screams for partnerships between the camera world and tools for finishing.

Assimilate’s Scratch 8.3 and Scratch Lab now in one toolset

Scratch 8.3 from Assimilate is a cloud-based ecosystem of digital cinema tools for DITs, DPs, directors, editors, colorists, post artists, and other creative pros. Scratch 8.3 integrates the full Scratch DI workflow and Scratch Lab for on-set and VFX dailies into one toolset for $650 per year. Filmmakers and artists now have an uninterrupted Scratch workflow with a single user interface for consistent color throughout the filmmaking process.

The Scratch 8.3 ecosystem also includes Scratch Web and Scratch Play 8.3 for realtime publishing and sharing of native RAW camera or other media with the entire creative team — in any format and any resolution at any time, anywhere in the world. Unicode is now included to support the high-growth, budget-limited Asian markets.

All current Scratch and Scratch Lab customers on subscription or active support receive an upgrade to Scratch 8.3 at no charge, as well as a Scratch Web channel to publish RAW and other media data for collaboration and review.

The color of Terrence Malick’s ‘Knight of Cups’

Modern VideoFilm’s Bryan McMahan on grading the dailies and final film

By Randi Altman

Terrence Malick’s Knight of Cups, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in early February, has literally been years in the making. Shot in 2012, on 35mm, 65mm and a variety of digital formats, Knight of Cups has had a two-year post-production cycle.

For the film, which stars Christian Bale as a Hollywood screenwriter having a sort of crisis of conscious, the director called on frequent collaborators, such as cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who has a brand-new shiny Oscar for his Continue reading

Meet Light Iron co-founder/VP of operations Katie Fellion

NAME: Katie Fellion

COMPANY: LA- and NYC-based Light Iron (@light_iron)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Light Iron asks creatives what is important for them to tell their stories, and then pairs those answers with specific technologies to create the best pictures possible.

Sometimes we create a new tool or process to accomplish those goals. Sometimes we repurpose how a current technology is being used. But we package all that innovation and experimentation under the auspices of post-production services for on-set mobile dailies and picture finishing so we can continue to develop our creative and technological curiosity as well as pay our bills.

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#PostChat: ‘Black Box’ editor Zack Arnold

By Randi Altman

This week’s #PostChat guest was editor Zack Arnold (@BurnedEditor), whose resume is long and varied — most recently focusing on the small screen. He spent four years cutting USA Network’s Burn Notice, which ended its run last year, and he just completed Season 1 of the new series Black Box on ABC.

Arnold knew his path would lead to editing when he was just 12 years old. “I didn’t really understand that film editing was a job, but I was doing it on a daily basis. I would shoot movies with my older brother, or with friends, and I’d tell them that everything had to be shot out of sequence so I could edit everything in order later.”

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New Scratch 8 supports native ProRes encoding on Windows, cloud workflows

Santa Clara, California — Assimilate has three bits of news for users today, but let’s start off with this: Scratch and Scratch Lab customers can encode Apple ProRes files on Microsoft Windows 7/8-based PCs.

So that means Windows users get native ProRes 442, HQ, LT, proxy and 4444 encoding; Continue reading

Light Iron Adds Marc Vanocur as COO

Hollywood — Bi-coastal post house Light Iron has hired Marc Vanocur for a newly created position of Chief Operating Officer.

“Bringing Marc to Light Iron is an investment in our executive leadership,” says CEO Michael Cioni. “Marc’s experience leading post companies through growth and technological change is going to be critical as the industry continues to move in new directions.” The company expanded its staff by 50 percent in 2013.

Vanocur previously held executive roles at Technicolor, Todd-Soundelux, and Weddington Productions, overseeing business operations and navigating technological change. “Light Iron has been at the forefront of the file-based evolution in picture,” remarks Vanocur. “Having led sound companies through the same transition, I look forward to advising the company on leveraging its tech acuity for continued growth.”

Light Iron (www.lightiron.com) first opened its doors in 2009 with just four employees. After developing a successful business in mobile dailies systems known as Outpost and producing the digital intermediates for landmark features such as David Fincher’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Light Iron expanded from its Hollywood headquarters with a Manhattan facility in 2013.

“At a time when other post houses were contracting,” notes Vanocur, “Light Iron had significant expansion. The post industry is going to experience continued consolidation that will close more companies, but Light Iron is poised to take on new markets, opportunities, and challenges.”

Among Vanocur’s top priorities in 2014 is creating new strategic and financial partnerships for expanded service offerings.

 

Meet The Director of Engineering: John Stevens

NAME: John Stevens

COMPANY: Hollywood-based MTI Film, LLC (http://www.mtifilm.com, @MTIFilm)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
The official line is: MTI Film is a full-service post facility providing dailies, editorial, visual effects, color correction and assembly for film, television and commercial projects. MTI also boasts a new DI theater that is fully calibrated and capable of 4K play back.

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VDS offering Scratch workstations optimized for 4K, 2K DI, and dailies

MARLBOROUGH, MA – Versatile Distribution Services (VDS), a distributor specializing in integrated solutions for the media and entertainment industry, is offering exclusive 4K and 2K turnkey workstations that feature Assimilate’s Scratch DI software running on HP Z820 workstations in North America and Latin America.

The workstations are available now.

The Scratch systems enable digital cinema and broadcast artists to generate dailies, conform, color correct, and complete the finishing of features, documentaries, videos, and episodic TV within a realtime, integrated, user-friendly workflow.

VDS (http://www.versatiledistributionservices.com/ASSIMILATE.php) has leveraged the collective experience of leaders in 4K, such as Assimilate, HP, Fusion-IO, AJA and Bluefish444, to build systems that remove much of the trial and error when configuring the appropriate CPU, RAM, graphics and storage for popular 4K projectors, displays and output.

“At Digital Arts (www.digital-arts.net), we launched New York City’s first true 4K grading theater,” said Axel Ericson, founder of Digital Arts. “We designed it with the best technologies in order to redefine new standards in film post production. The theater includes world-class brands and products, such as the Christie 4K 4220 projector and Meyer Sound 7.1 Acheron speakers.

“As leaders in the 4K landscape, we chose Assimilate Scratch and Bluefish444 for 4K DI because of its real-time 4K workflow capabilities without the cost of traditional big-iron systems. We’re really excited to learn about the new turnkeys from VDS and Assimilate, because they take a lot of the trial and error out of configuring 4K workflows. This is what the market needs in order to widen the 4K user base.”

Here are some details about the workstations:
• These HP Z820 workstations feature the latest Intel Xeon processors, massively scalable RAM, and five third-gen PCI Express slots, the Z820 is ideal for creative professionals at the top of their game.

• The Scratch Z820 turnkey systems are available in 2K/4K and HD configurations jam-packed with RAM, top-of-the-line Nvidia graphics and storage options from HP, Fusion-IO and others.

• There is 4K HD-SDI preview with AJA’s Kona 3G and full 12-bit HD-SDI preview with Bluefish444’s Epoch|4K SuperNova video card allows artists to preview images in the highest possible bit depth.

• Versatile Distribution Services’ integration experts have experience optimizing the graphics and storage in Scratch systems for a range of high-performance DI and finishing environments, including Christie and Sony 4K projectors and Eizo, Christie and Sharp 4K monitors. VDS tests each 4K and 2K turnkey system in a simulated film and broadcast environment before it ships.