Codex Enters the Ring with Real Steel
“Set up with the help of Modern Video, the mobile lab served as our dailies system,” explains Ames. “We initially did a color pass on the set so that Mauro Fiore, the cinematographer, could see what he was getting. We then sent those settings to the mobile lab, where a dailies colorist prepared full-up one-light dailies using Truelight and the Codex Digital Lab. Dailies in DNxHD format were available for editorial, visual effects and review the next day.” The same workflow was used to generate back-ups. The camera media captured by the Codex Digital Labs was sent to an in-house lab at the production office, where the data was recorded to LTO backup files (primary and secondary). The primary LTOs were sent on a regular schedule to Modern Video in Glendale, where they were brought online for post.
More than just speeding up the creation of dailies and back-ups, the workflow made many aspects of post-production more efficient. For the VFX team at Digital Domain, it meant there were no long waits for elements to be scanned. Whenever camera elements were needed, DD contacted Modern Video and had the required elements sent over on a hard drive. “We treated DD’s request just like scan orders, except there was no scanning, so no time delays and no expense,” Ames explains. “If they needed a few more frames, it was no problem. We gave them the extra frames. It was very easy. They could get any material that they needed, whether it was a reference from another take or added frames because of a cut change. And they didn’t have to redo anything. They could simply add the frames and continue their work. It was wonderful.”
Ames worked directly with Mark Graziano, executive VP of post-production at DreamWorks, to design the new workflow, including dailies and color. “The studio had complete faith that our system would work,” Aims says. “And we were pleased that we could live up to the challenge.”
The film’s marketing team also took advantage of easy access to source media. Shots or frames required for trailers or posters were essentially available on demand. “The system was built so that we could have access to anything that might be needed,” says Ames. “If someone were to say that this shot would be really good for marketing, we could give it to them. We could pull any live shot – or any VFX shot, for that matter – easily because everything was available. It was all color-corrected, so we could hand it off to marketing and they could have it for trailers or posters or stills or whatever they needed.”
This workflow also made color decisions from the set or the dailies process available to everyone downstream in post without baking them in. “Color decisions can be baked in to deliverables or transmitted via metadata using ASC CDL,” explained Sarah Priestnall, VP of market development for Codex Digital. “You can choose whether or not to bake in a LUT or apply CDL values to each deliverable. In other words, your Avid media for editorial could have color baked in, but your DPX files for VFX would not.”
That meant editors, VFX artists and the DI colorist could access media in either a corrected or uncorrected state as they wished. Similarly, the Codex technology made it possible to record complex metadata on the set that also became available to the various post-production departments. Notes made by the director, the cinematographer and other production staff about individual shots and scenes could be accessed at anytime by anyone involved in the production.
“It provided everyone with a clear understanding of what the director, the cinematographer and other creatives on the set were looking for, and so they were better able to carry their creative vision through to the end,” explains Ames. “It was easy for everyone to know what was expected of them. We were all making the same movie. That’s one of the great aspects of the Codex technology – it provides a great way to communicate. It’s modern filmmaking at its best.”
For more information: www.codexdigital.com.