Tag Archives: NBC

Qwire’s tool for managing scoring, music licensing upped to v.2.0

Qwire, a maker of cloud-based tools for managing scoring and licensing music to picture, has launched QwireMusic 2.0, which expands the collaboration, licensing and cue sheet capabilities of QwireMusic. The tool also features a new and intuitive user interface as well as support for the Windows OS. User feedback played a role in many of the new updates, including marker import of scenes from Avid for post, Excel export functions for all forms and reports and expanded file sharing options.

QwireMusic is a suite of integrated modules that consolidates and streamlines a wide range of tasks and interactions for pros involved with music and picture across all stages of post, as well as music clearance and administration. QwireMusic was created to help facilitate collaboration among picture editors and post producers, music supervisors and clearance, composers, music editors and production studios.

Here are some highlights of the new version:
Presentations — Presentations allow music cues and songs to be shared between music providers (supervisors and composers) and their clients (picture editors, studio music departments, directors and producers. With Presentations, selected music is synced to video, where viewers can independently adjust the balance between music and dialogue, adding comments on each track. The time-saving efficiency of this tool centralizes the music sharing and review process, eliminating the need for the confusing array of QuickTimes, Web links, emails and unsecured FTP sites that sometimes accompany post production.

Real-time licensing status — QwireMusic 2.0 allows music supervisors to easily audition music, generate request letters, and share potential songs with anyone who needs to review them. When the music supervisor receives a quote approval, the picture editor and music editor are notified, and the studio music budget is updated instantly and seamlessly. In addition, problem songs can be instantly flagged. As with the original version of QwireMusic, request letters can be generated and emailed in one step with project-specific letterhead and signatures.

Electronic Cue Sheets — QwireMusic’s “visual cue sheet,” allows users to review all of the information in a cue sheet displayed alongside the final picture lock.  The cue sheet is automatically populated from data already entered in qwireMusic by the composer, music supervisor and music editor. Any errors or missing information are flagged. When the review is complete, a single button submits the cue sheet electronically to ASCAP and BMI.

QwireMusic has been used by music supervisors, composers, picture editors and music editors on over 40 productions in 2016, including Animals (HBO); Casual (Hulu); Fargo (FX); Guilt (Freeform); Harley and the Davidsons (Discovery); How to Get Away With Murder (ABC); Pitch (Fox); Shameless (Showtime); Teen Wolf (MTV); This Is Us (NBC); and Z: The Beginning of Everything (Amazon).

“Having everyone in the know on every cue ever put in a show saves a huge amount of time,” says Patrick Ward, a post producer for the shows Parenthood, The West Wing and Pure Genius. “With QwireMusic I spend about a tenth of the time that I used to disseminating cue information to different places and entities.”

Master Key shoots VFX plates in 4K for ‘Heroes Reborn’

Remember when NBC’s Heroes took television audiences by storm back in 2006? Well, it’s back, sort of, thanks to Heroes Reborn, featuring a new cast of heroes and villains, but for those Heroes purists, we say, “Don’t fret!” Some of the main characters from the first iteration are featured as well.

Each week, as you can imagine, a huge number of visual effects shots have to be created for the show. This is where Elan and Rajeev Dassani, co-founders of Master Key Productions, come in. While Stargate Studios is the primary VFX house for the show, Master Key supports the visual effects work by shooting plates.

As well as knowing exactly what is needed from production to the visual effects process, Master Key coordinates shoots all over the world for networks such as USA Channel, NBC, ABC and FX Networks. They specialize in producing shoots with low overhead and have shot in dozens of locations, including Hong Kong, Colombia, Paris, London, Venezuela, New York, Washington DC, Rio De Janeiro, Iceland and Istanbul.

Dassani has created VFX master plates for some of television’s most popular shows, including Scandal, Covert Affairs and How to Get Away With Murder.

For Heroes Reborn, he was tasked with shooting a variety of VFX plates around the world, including Tokyo and Iceland. To handle this, he and his crew decided to use the Blackmagic Production Camera 4K.

3In Two Places at Once
Ren Shimosawa (Toru Uchikado) is one of the main characters in the Heroes world. For the first episode of Heroes Reborn, Rajeev Dassani set up production in downtown Tokyo to film a variety of angles from a busy city square where the VFX artists would later put Ren, who was actually being filmed against a greenscreen in Toronto.

“We love to go beyond just the basic angles,” Elan says. “So we need a high-quality camera to fit into unusual places and weird angles. The audience needs to truly believe that Ren is in Tokyo. The size and ergonomics of the Production Camera 4K make it perfect for setting up these shots, and we can pack it up quick, run to another angle and start shooting. For a weekly drama that is always on a tight deadline, the efficiency that the camera allows is important.”

Shooting a general background shot is not difficult, says Elan, but shooting good VFX plates and element shots for high-level visual effects work is difficult, especially on a show with the high expectations of Heroes Reborn. Each shot needs to fit into the specific scene and give a real sense of seamlessly fitting in with the storyline. Every angle has to be precisely set up, and each shot needs to have enough data in it for VFX artists to be as creative as they need to be.

“The VFX house needed a number of background plates and element shots of a busy square in Tokyo,” explains Elan. “We had to make sure that we hit every angle possible. For the Tokyo shots, because there would be so much VFX work done, we had to make sure that we captured each one with as much data as possible. The VFX artists need to be able to manipulate every part of the image, and shooting in RAW on top of the great dynamic range of the Production Camera 4K gave us what we needed.


For scenes that took place in Iceland the brothers shot for days — for Epsiode 103 and 104—mostly with the Arri Amira. They captured snowmobiles approaching a working helicopter ad a guy jumping out of the helicopter into the snow. They also doubles for two of the characters trekking across arctic plains and cliffs.”

Masters Key gets involved early, attending the VFX meeting in Toronto, with Stargate’s supervisor, Kris Wood, describing what is needed. This is usually accompanied by storyboards from the director. “Then we basically hash out the shot list with Stargate and the director. Stargate is then looped in once we have location photos, lens questions, etc.,” explains Elan. “They give some direction, but they can’t do too much since the on the ground realities are so specific. We make a lot of choices on the ground.”

Adds Rajeev, “When it comes to planning for shooting for VFX, the most important thing is planning… and being ready to change the plan based on the reality of the location. We meticulously work out what the shots are hoping to be, but then on arrival there are always different conditions. Because we understand the technical needs, we can adjust and still get what is needed to make the shot work. It took dozens of takes in the helicopter in Tokyo, both flying over the square and zooming at just the right speed, and trying to aim for the light change so we had plenty of people crossing in the square — it was never exactly what was planned, but ended being a great shot that worked well.”

While currently on winter hiatus, Heroes Reborn will begin airing again on NBC on Thursday, January 7.

Quick Chat: Screen Novelties’ stop-motion Buddy the Elf for NBC

’Tis the season for fun holiday television fare, and Elf: Buddy’s Musical Christmas doesn’t disappoint. Warner Bros. called on stop-motion specialists Screen Novelties, to produce and direct this one-hour offering, which aired on NBC.

The special, a sort of mash-up of the “newish” Christmas classic Elf, starring Will Ferrell, and the Broadway show Elf: The Musical, is a retelling of Buddy’s adorable story and enthusiasm but in a way that reminds audiences of the classic stop-motion animated Christmas specials (I’m looking at you Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer) of the past. In this new version, Buddy is still an innocent human elf looking for his dad, “unbearding” fake Santas and roaming the streets of New York while singing about the joys of Christmas, of course.

Screen Novelties co-founders Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh and Chris Finnegan designed the Continue reading

‘Chicago Fire’: the sound of drama

By Jennifer Walden

Whether it’s a raging high-rise fire, a horrific car accident or another life-threatening event, the firefighters, rescue squad and paramedics of Chicago Firehouse 51 on NBC’s Chicago Fire are always in the center of some sort of dramatic adventure. And sometimes that drama spills into the personal lives of these imperfect heroes.

To help enhance the feeling of action and drama throughout each episode, the audio post team at BluWave Audio, a division of Universal Studios Sound that handles TV mixing, audio restoration/preservation and digital mastering, fills in the backgrounds with off-screen sounds such as fire radios, equipment being moved around, phones ringing, voices and other more typical sounds.

“The fire house they’re stationed at is a hub for many different activities for the fire Continue reading