IFH 526: Inside Game of Thrones & HBOMax Post Workflow with Stephen Beres

Today on the show we have an inside look at HBOMax’s post production workflow with post guru Stephen Beres.

Stephen Beres is an Emmy award-winning producer and technologist who currently serves Senior Vice President of Production Operations at HBO & HBO Max, where he leads a bi-coastal team of production and post professionals that help create record-setting television shows like Westworld and Game of Thrones. He also spearheaded the network’s shift from film to digital filmmaking, starting with Game of Thrones.

Before leading the Studio and Production Service groups, Steve served as HBO’s Production Technology Architect and was responsible for smoothly transitioning HBO from film capture into the file-based world. Steve graduated with a Film Degree from Full Sail University (FYI, I graduated from Full Sail as well).

We have an entertaining and eye-opening conversation on how one of the biggest networks in the world handle workflow from the camera to the final stream on HBOMax. Enjoy my conversation with Stephen Beres.


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Alex Ferrari 0:00
I like to welcome the show Stephen Beres How are you doin' Stephen?

Stephen Beres 0:15
I'm doing very well Alex, thank you for having me a big fan of the show. So happy to to join you. This is a big, big deal.

Alex Ferrari 0:22
Thank you, man. I truly appreciate that very thank you for the kind words you have one of those wonderful podcasting voices you have that voice like when I when you when you popped up on Skype, I was like, That voice was like, wow, it was also the mic is helping and all that stuff. But you have that voice. It's very, very curated.

Stephen Beres 0:38
Well, it was we were talking to you before we started recording. I do have a podcast about vintage Landrovers which I know huge crossover to shoot you know, Mark, obviously, obviously, old cars that don't work. Yeah, check out the underpowered our, our podcasts. And yeah, and thanks for having me. And I do appreciate and genuinely appreciate that I genuinely am a fan of the show. I you know, I love the people from the pad on fellow Canadians like Oliver Stone. So it's nice that I mean that. You know, I'm sure people will be like, Oh, well, this makes total sense. This is Jason Blum to two Steve, this is makes it

Alex Ferrari 1:16
Everybody's been asking when is Steve coming on the show is

Stephen Beres 1:19
I guaranteed mostly old Land Rover owners. But so that's fine

Alex Ferrari 1:24
We'll take it, we'll take it. So we're going to talk a bit about post today. Everyone who's listened to me on the show knows that I've been in the post business for 2025 years before I retired from post a few years ago. And I love saying that out loud. Because I do escaped. I escaped post. I love posts on my own stuff. And I still do a post on my own stuff to color, grade it to edit post supervisor, all that stuff on my own stuff. But the client stuff and you and we'll talk about your history with

Stephen Beres 1:56
The post would be great if it wasn't for the clip. Which for the most part, that is what I am now. So I know. I'm awful.

Alex Ferrari 2:04
Oh, it's Oh, no, it's a terrible we'll get into that. But so first of all, how how did you get started the business?

Stephen Beres 2:10
Well, you know, I started back and I'm from Canada. I'm from from Calgary, Alberta actually from olden town.

Alex Ferrari 2:16
This is why you're so nice. This is why you said That's right.

Stephen Beres 2:20
If you stopped for gas on your way up to BAM to the National Park, you've been through Canmore that's that's where the gas station is. But so yeah, so I came from Canada I worked in the in the film industry there such as it was back in the 90s. There was a lot of this sort of early Canadian production. Television shows amazing television shows like Viper the series, sort of like Knight Rider. Why not with a viper? Yeah, transforming Viper. That was a cool one. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids the series

Alex Ferrari 2:52
Yes. Classic classic. It's on Disney plates on Disney plus right now.

Stephen Beres 2:58
It is it is a cinematic Marvel and masterpiece. I did a an under 21 wrestling show called Matt rats calm because at that time, everything had to have calm in the name, which was the nephews and sometimes sons a pair of characters, occasionally Daughters of famous wrestlers, doing sort of a wrestling reality show which is which was actually well before it's time now, you know things like you know, the WWE has a reality show product. I think it's actually pretty successful. Oh, but we were well prepared for that. So anyway, so I had, you know, I had been doing that for a while and I actually hooked up with the fine people at Apple Computer at the time. Right around the time they acquired a product called Final CAD from Macromedia, and we're looking to sort of launch into the professional market so far as it was at that time for digital video creation. FireWire had just come out was last time you heard the name firewire Hey.

Alex Ferrari 3:55
Oh, I see. I still got Firewire 800 Tear man connected to my Thunderbolt. Oh, yeah,

Stephen Beres 4:00
Yeah, you got like a thunderbolt two new Thunderbolt two USB C two. It's like nine little adapters. Three of them aren't made anymore, if any of that stops working. Yeah, no, I know. But yeah, so you know, we were we were the studio that was I was working at at the time were very involved with Apple and sort of launching some early work in Canada around that I went to you know, sort of do the what's called a key client support representative gig for a little while just helping people kind of understand this new Final Cut how to get it worked into their studios how to cut movies on it, how to cut TV shows, and after a while of doing that, I made the decision to say listen, a I need two things. I'd like to be in the United States, which for a Canadian is a pretty, you know, at that time, certainly now it's not really the case. But at that time, it was the the only way to really seriously get into a different level of film production. And, you know, I'd like to go to film school. I'd like to learn more about the industry than just the little kind of piece that I know about. I you know, I'd love to learn more about cameras, which is actually a huge part of my job now. You know, I'd like to get on that really big post kit that like we just don't have in Calgary, Alberta. We don't have we don't there was not an inferno in the city, a flame, a flame. Somebody had a smoke one place that is a sentiment.

Alex Ferrari 5:19
I remember that lane. I remember the flame was like all the rage back in the day.

Stephen Beres 5:23
I was a smoke and combustion demo artist for a little while, while my wife was going to school in Montreal. And yeah, man, like that was a different time when you had like a small refrigerator of computer that it was a million dollars, it was a million dollars. Absolutely. $1 million. And it was like it was it was the coolest thing in the world. Like eight people had it. And two people knew how to use

Alex Ferrari 5:44
And it was putting it was outputting standard depths

Stephen Beres 5:47
Standard depth. But in real time, you could do text with rippling effects and things in real time

Alex Ferrari 5:54
And comping and oh my god, I work that I did, I worked at a commercial house in the 90s. And they bought they were one of the two there was only two production companies in the country who owned their own flame and they paid a million for it out of pocket and they would just do in spots for like, you know, budget rent a car, so but it was always 3d stuff and the transitions, it was done real time. And I'm just thinking back was like that was 720 which now could be outputted on your phone.

Stephen Beres 6:23
Oh, and he said like if you're getting 720 on YouTube, you're like, what's wrong with my internet? You know, shake this thing. This is not this looks like shit.

Alex Ferrari 6:32
720p standard depths

Stephen Beres 6:36
720 line pairs. Yeah, that was it. That was like not a great a great time for us the Divi era, if you will, it was not a great

Alex Ferrari 6:45
It was it was a transition. It was a transition. It was a transition. And everyone the other things that we have in common is we both went to full sail, Full Sail. I mean, at the time, it was called Full Sail center for the Recording Arts. When I went now it's just called Full Sail. Because they they actually I think there is a giant vault where you do that you could actually swim like Scrooge McDuck in the gold coins over at Full Sail now, because they have so much money.

Stephen Beres 7:13
Yeah, it has a sense. We were there. So I was there in the late, you know, a couple few years after you. Yeah. And same thing in the film program, which I just learned now, which is which is amazing that we have that in common. How cool is that? And that? Yeah, when I went there, again, very small film program. I remember shooting my film in a was a department store that that had gone out of business or something they didn't renew the lease will sell on the land. And they're like, sure you can shoot your movie problems.

Alex Ferrari 7:40
Yeah, that's what I had the soundstages and stuff now? Yeah, that whole area, that whole area back, there's where I used to go to I used to go to class there. When it was just the only one store that didn't own the whole thing. They just owned one store.

Stephen Beres 7:50
Yeah. And they slowly sort of took off. Oh, of course, oh, my God, you know, 20 years later, there is acres of Full Sail. And like you say, I mean, there's not one widget or thing that they didn't have at the time, you know, being a little, you know, guy from from Canada, going down to Orlando, to see this place where they have a Henry and they have all of this the IQ, the whole New IQ system? Hell, they had all this sort of stuff, you're just you're drooling. The same is true, right? I mean, they have whatever is the most state of the art I was we were saying before we started recording there. They're building a volume stage, which I think is we'll probably talk about that more. But I think is is the sort of next fundamental evolution of our industry, not just because the Mandalorian, which my my brother works on, and I was just another event at Skywalker, great people, they're working on it as well. But not just because of those, but I think because of small shows, we just did a pirate show called our flag means death where we used some of the LED virtual production in it, and it's a half hour comedy. It's exceptionally funny. And it isn't about led stage. It isn't about being on some weird planet in the middle of nowhere. It's about just looking realistically, like you're at sea because most of the show takes place at sea, and we can't have 900 composite shots for our comedy we wouldn't be it wouldn't be feasible. So for shows like that to be able to put a genre comedy on a pirate ship and make it work. That's huge. I mean, so anyway, so I think that's fundamental but yeah, Full Sail is building one of those. So if in my era, it was I go and I you know, I salivate over a brand new Quantel today I guess you go and you you salivate over volume of virtual production stage.

Alex Ferrari 9:35
So I'll tell you what, just to geek out a little bit more because we're in by the way, everyone listening I apologize ahead of time, we are going to go down the rabbit hole of geek geek geeking out over old tech over new tech over workflow we're gonna get technical on stuff.

Stephen Beres 9:50
It's you don't get many people that will talk at that at that level of nerdiness. So I it's it's a special privilege for someone to indulge with.

Alex Ferrari 9:59
It's so everyone prepare themselves because it's gonna it's gonna be it's gonna be right but it'll be fun

Stephen Beres 10:03
To the next famous producer. That's I don't I don't feel offended if you do.

Alex Ferrari 10:10
So when I went I was the first class to use the Erie SR3 oh yeah oh you know I'm talking about that was only you could plug into the laptop and get down camera reports and it was like oh we cap and by the way never saw one again after that. Because everyone because it was too damn expensive. Everyone use the SRT. Oh, it was it was so over airy, overpriced. So overpriced. Oh, yeah, it was. So that's when I learned and I I had I think I had six people in my class. So I was one of six people in my in my I was class of 7:30 on Tuesday, and because they popped out so much stuff, but it was a wonderful experience. I love my expense. But I but everything I learned at Full Sail was pretty much obsolete the moment I left because it was right at the moment when nonlinear editing I edited on a montage.

Stephen Beres 10:58
Oh, cool. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 11:00
I was not cool. It was horrible. Horrible.

Stephen Beres 11:04
It's a controller is really neat, though, that people

Alex Ferrari 11:06
Yes, the controller was neat. But wouldn't you had like a refrigerator for eight gigs? And then and then you put the floppy in? Oh God, everyone's like, how old are these guys? You would put the floppy in, get the EDL take it over to the CMS 3600 And then and then try to try to assemble cut that thing in and never worked. And it no no. Never worked. No. That was my first that was my first experience with nonlinear editing that was before avid before I got an avid and then final cut and and let's talk for a second about Final Cut. Can we all bow our heads down for final cuts for Final Cut seven. I held I held bro I held. I held up until like, Yeah, four or five years ago, I was still cutting on Final Cut seven. Until I finally did a movie. I did my first feature. And I'm like, I would like to shoot raw

Stephen Beres 11:57
And yeah, I can't Yeah, I can't do it. So did you move to premiere? Did you move to resolve that

Alex Ferrari 12:03
I was I was resolved all the way I was off because I was already color because I was already a color grader. So I was already color grading and I saw well there's this edit button here. Let me click on it.

Stephen Beres 12:13
And it was all these extra buttons along the bottom right. I've never used these last three. Yeah, I was like, What is this? And

Alex Ferrari 12:18
I was like, I think I was on? I was it was resolved like 11 Okay, so it's like at the beginning of the editing. But it was it was it was good kind of it was do it justice. And I was shooting on I was shooting on a Blackmagic camera. So it's like, yeah, so so so it worked out beautifully. The work, I was all in house, there was no real reassembling, there was no offline thing. It was all I did everything online. And then the best part about doing that is I would throw my raw footage, I would cut it raw, which was great. Then, when a scene didn't match, color wise, I was like, You know what, if I edit this, I'm not gonna be able to work on color. Let me jump into color, see if I can even make this work. So jump into color, see if I can make it work. And if it didn't work, I'd record it because I'm like, I don't care if the performance is better. For whatever reason that shot just didn't light right or something happened. I have to change it now, as opposed to going through the whole process. And going we can't make that shot work. We got to bring everything back. And is this is the night? No,

Stephen Beres 13:13
I mean, I think and a lot of people I'm certainly not the first one to say this, but a lot of people are sort of like, you know, resolve is sort of final cut eight, right? I mean, it's it's there's no question. There's no question. No question Rama Final Cut eight. resolved, does it? They're getting better. I mean, now what are we at 17 or something they're, you know, getting better at the offline stuff, the databasing the finding shit, the organizing stuff, the that, you know, that definitely took time, it could always cut. I mean, it was an assembly editor for online. So for I always do that, you know, and now it's just backfilling in all of that stuff that you sort of realized like, oh, shit, yeah, I don't have a good way of, you know, tagging all of this be real. I don't have a good way of organizing my documentary interviews. And I still think a lot of people you know, aren't using it because it just doesn't quite have that you didn't think about going to Final Cut 10 ever you didn't

Alex Ferrari 14:01
I turned it on your I was I dipped my toe in it. And I was just like, What in the hell is this? And it was the and I've actually had the filmmaker who did the documentary on Final Cut. I don't know if you ever saw that documentary about the release of Final Cut Pro. Yeah, the Final Cut X. It's a whole document. It's basically a documentary it's like full geek mode about just anybody who's interested in how bad the release of Final Cut X was. And it was such a historic failure by Apple to slap everybody in the face that did Final Cut seven you can't back all your projects gone a completely they didn't win you into this. It was like a completely new like, I've been eating oranges but now you're going to eat broccoli. Like what you're not like weaning us into it. You didn't think about I still want to go back to some oranges every once in a while. Yeah, maybe they was such a horrible release, and they've never recovered and so Since then, and since then Final Cut, x has become a much more powerful editing system. I've heard nothing but great things. It's a wonderful, but it never got back its core audience it the core audience left and DaVinci took, I think DaVinci took it over,

Stephen Beres 15:14
Da Vinci premiere, really not avid a lot, no Da Vinci premiere. And it's yeah, it's, it's too bad because, you know, I think they could have done Final Cut eight and Final Cut 10. At the same time, if you remember, Mac OS nine and macOS 10 lived in parallel with each other for a year or more, really, I mean, realistically, it was several years where you could roll back to us nine quickly, you just boot back over, it wasn't I mean, you didn't want to do it, and you did it if you had to. But you could you could keep working, you could use that piece of software that just hadn't been updated yet. And as you got to a place where you felt comfortable with the, you know, whatever non Omni version of whatever, finally, they came out with a new version of it, you'd roll over and you'd start using MacOS 10 more and more and more every day until you couldn't remember the last time you booted back into iOS nine, if they had done that with Final Cut 10 made it compatible. Yeah, I like that seven, or updated Final Cut seven to a place where you get some of the features and you can kind of roll back and forth, I think it would have been combined completely agree with you. I think it was all in the launch. I don't think the tool is terrible. I just think it was in its infancy when it was released. And it didn't get a chance because the market disappeared for it everybody left,

Alex Ferrari 16:29
Everybody went over to premiere and then people who didn't want to deal with Adobe, like myself, who I just did not want to deal with a premiere because I remember when premiere was premiere, I don't know nothing against what's going on in here. It's wonderful to hear a lot of people cut on it. That's fine. It's it's, it's it's such a weird thing. It's like a Mac PC. It's like, you know, who do you edit? It's like this weird thing. Like, I don't care, dude. It's just kind of just whatever if it makes you feel better, but then I decided to jump on resolve and then resolve just turned into this massive behemoth. Yeah. And if you shoot with their cameras, oh, the work, the ecosystem is just stunning. It's

Stephen Beres 17:03
Oh, it's great. It's great. And it's been a great color tool.

Alex Ferrari 17:06
Well, it's the, it's the color tool,

Stephen Beres 17:09
I edit my podcast in Fairlight in the result, because again, I'm like, you know, I'm not an audio person at all. And so like, I wasn't gonna learn Pro Tools, because go God, and this, you know, I don't really know, logic, and I'm sort of like, well, I already have, the tool I already have is a very, very comfortable cutting in it comfortable doing a little bit of color work, and you know, the things that I need to do in it all recreational at this point in my career, but whatever. So why not, you'll give it a go. And actually, you know, just like everything else in Resolve, right little bit of a learning curve. There's some YouTube videos being done, sorry. And then next thing, you know, you're just you just sit down, and it does it. And then you deliver the same way that you deliver everything else, you render the same way you render everything, it's just you know, you only have to learn the little bit that's new in that new tab. And all the stuff that plugs on either side of it are the same. So it's so easy to just add on to what you can do with it. I think they're incredibly smart in that and then it's got nine different applications. Now, do I wish you could turn off some of the tabs so you don't accidentally click through? Yeah, that'd be nice. That'd be nice. But

Alex Ferrari 18:10
I've worked with black magic a bunch. If anyone's listening, please guys, take take stages to have just a click off the tap just just a little little Samsung,

Stephen Beres 18:19
You know, iOS let you do it with all those pages of friggin icons that you've never used, you know, it just put them in the basement. You know, you'll search for him if you need them, you know, but just put them away. Nobody cares. I'm just saying just read Kondo that interface, man just get in there.

Alex Ferrari 18:33
So um, so Alright, so you you know, you obviously opened up your own post house where you started doing a bunch of stuff in the in the infancy of when digital was really taking off in the fall. What year was that, by the way in LA?

Stephen Beres 18:44
Yeah, so that was like the early 2000s 2003 2004 So it's really early. Yeah, it's really early early. Yeah. Michael Cioni.

Alex Ferrari 18:51
I know Michael Yes. Yeah,

Stephen Beres 18:53
I guess technically Michaels at Adobe now. I guess he

Alex Ferrari 18:56
Did he did. Because I know because for him Oh, because the buyer they

Stephen Beres 19:00
He was acquired by frame by frame I O was acquired and they acquired Michael along with it. It was part he was part of the sale. I believe they created him up and shipped him up to Palo Alto. You know so so yeah, so Mike I you know, obviously those guys are thrilled to Emory also an old a good old friend and I'm absolutely thrilled for those guys because a free my oh is a fantastic tool amazingly.

Alex Ferrari 19:22
I hope I hope I hope it stays there.

Stephen Beres 19:24
I hope Adobe doesn't ruin it and I've told everybody including Adobe that like I hope they don't mess it up because it don't don't necessary to such a great tool and Michael God myself yeah, you invert evac and and a few others on Arsenal God like yo, Tony wise, we started a place called plaster city. Yeah. And the idea with that shop was basically listen, the industry is going to be mandated to go digital from analog broadcast. And so our thing was, Okay, we're gonna do you know, digital at the price of standard or analog sort of so and we think we can do this because we can can take this commodity off the shelf Apple hardware, we can take Final Cut, we can take color, what color color Apple Color, it was final touch.

Alex Ferrari 20:08
I know I understand. I remember

Stephen Beres 20:12
He's still at Apple. I can't believe he's still alive. But he's still at Apple. Rollins and like, I don't even know if he's in his 60s and 50s. They still he lives hard. But he's still there. He's still working away. And so we had this, this, this crazy idea? Well, we're going to build this. And then the FCC said, we're going to push the digital mandate, we're going to push it out a few more years, a few more years. And all of a sudden, we're like, well, oh, but what we didn't realize is that around that same time, film festivals, were starting to accept one prints from digital and to digital prints. And at that time, it wasn't really DCPS because that hadn't really been ratified yet. But the ability to exhibit a film digitally and our ability to do an output to a film print without having to have anything but the final finished version printed to film basically allowed independent filmmakers that just couldn't afford and here's here's a dated reference a laser Pacific are really my my mentor and lifelong friend Leon Silverman, and his post house laser Pacific at the time, the pinnacle, you know, fancy post production, you know, they couldn't afford to go there. You know, a documentary like Who Killed the Electric car could not afford to finish at a place like laser Pacific, it was way too expensive. They had too many mixed formats. They had too many this

Alex Ferrari 21:28
Oh, of the docks, I know, dogs are just nightmares.

Stephen Beres 21:32
Nice to hear it. He needed a little shop that had reasonable overhead so that our prices could be reasonable. And that more than anything, was willing to take the chance on some technology that wasn't just not proven yet potentially had never been tried or hadn't even been invented to do that. And and so we really gained a foothold in that market of independent filmmakers going to this new and expanding especially in the early 2000s. This real explosion of independently geared film festivals, things that we're looking for the indie drama for the indie documentary and you know, places at the time, Coincidently, like HBO, were picking up stuff out of those festivals. Especially entries, you know, right. Back then that was a big source for the you know, HBO original films, the HBO documentaries me, you know, you know, and regular decision, Miramax was big into that, obviously, you know, all these companies looking at these small indies, picking them up out of these film festivals. But the thing was just getting your show to that festival, the barrier of creating the print of doing the post house work having all this is was often what was keeping people from doing it.

Alex Ferrari 22:43
That was all before blu rays. That was all before HD ASR tapes that you could ship out and all that stuff. It's yeah, Dolby, Dolby, Dolby II and oh God, all that all that kind of outputting it's ohh God,

Stephen Beres 22:56
It's so much easier now. You know, it's like, you can now make a DCP out of result, you know, you could Yeah, the cinema down the street. You can ready to go

Alex Ferrari 23:04
You could put it on a hard drive or you could upload it to a cloud and you're out the door. And it's it's it's changed so so much. It's and I was there and I was in I was in Sundance and oh five and I would just see hBo hBo was huge. At the festival like they would just be buying and putting up docks docks. Huge dock was that was yeah, that was the big thing that they would do is they do a lot of docks that would premiere at Sundance, and I saw their posters everywhere. Funny, funny little side note, I went in and met with Michael plaster. 6500 Yes, yes, it was very, very cool. Very cool building. I had just gotten to I got to LA in Oh, eight right before the crash right before the crash. Yeah. And I was I was one of the few guys in town who understood the red workflow. Sure, yeah. No, no, wait.

Stephen Beres 23:55
Yeah, you know, eight that was there wasn't a lot of people.

Alex Ferrari 23:57
There was I mean, I walked I walked into Technicolor with a red harddrive. And they're like, what is that? You know, what are you talking about? What do you I and I got I got caught up in the music video world so then I'd started doing a lot of high end music videos because they were shooting on red because it was cheaper and all this kind of stuff. But no one could understand the workflow and they were just getting eaten alive and then when i i figured out kind of assist convoluted like add a final cut into like a program and then that kicked back out the color and then it was like this, but it worked. It worked. And I could do it and because of that I was working nonstop and I just get and I got some clients for Disney and then that clients said hey, you should go over to plaster city they're doing a lot of the stuff you're doing in color. I wasn't resolved yet because result was still resolved. There's still a million dollar deal.

Stephen Beres 24:48
Yeah, it was still exactly it was a rack full of gear in the back.

Alex Ferrari 24:51
It was a million dollars. Yeah, it was it was a million dollar situation. And and then I walked in and Mike and we talked about like what we could do and it never enough never panned out. But he was a very sweet guy never forgot him. I got him as a as a gift. I heard that he really liked nerf.

Stephen Beres 25:08
Oh, he loves and we have had battles about the plaster city. A long day long battles. He would modify them we were Michael and I'd go to like toys r us when that was still a thing on the weekend because we didn't we didn't have family we did. My wife was in Montreal. My girlfriend at the time was in Montreal. And you know, Michael, you know, we were not we were all unattached. We lived a block away from from our building. Sure. We're just there 24 hours a day and on the weekends, we would go we would get these Nerf guns, we'd go to Home Depot and get the springs bigger springs do all this sort of insane. And it would be all day. I mean, from sunup to sundown, these epic, you know, started community like, you know, nerf games, it was incredible.

Alex Ferrari 25:55
I he probably probably shot you with the gun I gave him. So the Nerf gun, I got him a loop. A badass like, you know, super powered Nerf gun or something like that, that shoots like 45 things at a time or something? Something like that. So, uh, but yeah, and I and then he went off to read afterwards. And then he did it. And he just, he just think what is the vision like Michaels out there, he's had a hell of a career, man. He's had a hell of a career. Now, so. So you. So you eventually had you finally end up over at at a little company called HBO. And they, they bring you in, and you start changing things over from film to digital at a time where, from what I understand was like 97% of anything that was shot was film. And within six years, sir. And within six years, you had flipped that 97 digital and 3% film?

Stephen Beres 26:47
Well, I think yeah, I mean, I don't ever take that I flipped that you had a part of it. Yeah, yeah, certainly. I think that, you know, HBO. And really the impetus for this, the thing that that sort of sparked this conversation there was, you know, two guys, David and Dan, who had never made a television show before, pitched very successfully, this show based on a book by George RR Martin, to be shot in a part of the world that had no film labs that had no real significant film infrastructure, and no post infrastructure. To be fair, it's not even really any stages, like there had been two sort of movies made there before.

Alex Ferrari 27:31
So girls, it's the show's girls, it's girls.

Stephen Beres 27:35
I'm talking about looking. So we, you know, and so, you know, so Dave and Dan, say, Okay, we're gonna make Game of Thrones, we're going to do it in Northern Ireland in Belfast. This is where our Westeros is, it's in, it's in Belfast. And so then the natural conversations sort of came up, we can't, we can't shoot this on film. It's impossible. First of all, the amount of shooting we're looking at doing the amount of places we're physically going to be, over the course of just the first season, forget about where we got to by the time, you know, nearly 10 years of production had rolled around. You know, it wasn't feasible for us to do that. So we started looking and having conversations and around the same time, our good friends at airy, you know, approached myself and at the time, I was working at photochem I had a consulting gig there for some time setting up the next lab project with my very good friend and former plaster city person Tom vise, and Mike Brodersen and Freddy go ski and that that team at photochem doing still doing absolutely exceptional work in sort of pioneering I mean, it really, it's pretty fair to say they sort of invented on set dailies, as a business people were doing it as an ad hoc kind of thing. And you'd have somebody put something together for one show, but from a, you know, a sustainable, repeatable thing. I'm it's fair to say that those guys invented that with next lab. But anyways, they, you know, HBO approached us and said, Listen, you know, me and they said, listen, we've got the show to Northern Ireland. We don't really have expertise in shooting a big show like that digital, they had previously done the Gabriel Byrne and then the name of it escapes me now, but they had done the the sort of daily psychiatry show, they'd done that on the various a tape tape basis. So not even not even really, I mean, digital, yes, but not file based. And so, so they've done that. So listen, we don't have a lot of experiences. We need somebody to come and sort of consult Can you kind of help us understand how it said okay, sure. I guess so like the day after my birthday flew to Belfast. And, and we went through the process of vetting out. The first Alexa we literally had differently. We had serial number one, because they were still very much it was a prototype at that point. We would plug it in and it would start kind of recording and then when we were done recording, we would sort of like unplug it. That was that was There's no, there was no I was recording to a tape deck to NSR. Yeah, I remember. I remember double tape. Yeah. And so it was like the camera was just sort of like, yeah, it just couldn't come on and make pictures and go

Alex Ferrari 30:12
ENG camera back in the day almost

Stephen Beres 30:14
It was it really was and we still had a little window where one day there would be a magic SBS card. And that was sort of like duct tape din from the inside, you know, that was just sort of not there. And so we with the folks at airy rental in, you know, in London, you know, we started working through sort of how would we do this? Like, is this something you could actually do, we shot some early early tests in, you know, in sort of the summer of that year, and this was what now this was 2008 2009, some a long time ago. And we shot some early tests, we looked at them, we came back to Hollywood came back to Los Angeles, sat in the theater at HBO, this was when we were in Santa Monica sort of looked at these pictures on the big, you know, 17 foot screen, way bigger than they would ever be on TV. We looked at you know, crazy over exposures, we looked at under it, we did all of the things that you that you would do. And at the end of the day, we sort of all sitting together Mike Lombardo, who was the head of programming at that time, everybody sort of said, you know, I think we could do this, I think this looks This looks great. Like, this looks like something that speaks to that sort of you know, that that hallmark of what, you know, an HBO show should be lots of people say like, Oh, that looks like it should be on HBO. Right. But like, we'll describe that we actually thought I think everybody did that. That meant well, it was shot on film, and it's 16 days of production per episode. And it's all the things that we do that others don't. But actually, you know, it wasn't that it was one step before that. It was you know, the the DPS that we get it was the time that we did set a light is that you know, it was it was the set crew is the carpenters and and our production designers and our set dressers and giving them the time to build the best stuff and dress it the best way. And he did. It was all that and it just so happens that we thought like, we were getting a lot of free animation from film, but not really, it was just that, you know, film was accurately capturing what we had there. But that digital was starting to get to a point and and this digital is different than any digital obviously the x and the red. Were a demarcation point in space, everything that came after them. It's a different conversation. But yeah,

Alex Ferrari 32:14
I mean, like I was I was literally there when red. I was talking about red in Oh 506 when it was still just a box at an A B and I and people had paid money for this one day. A 4k camera. Can you imagine? Like everyone was like, what? A 4k? That's insane. How much no way we do that? Yeah, like it was insane. And then it was so funny because I just couldn't fight with red specifically how, how Jared and that team. They basically up ended the entire industry. And they and they literally kneecapped the biggest electronic and camera manufacturers in history, Sony, Panasonic vision, airy, they kneecapped all of them. And everyone's like, whoa, and then everyone started to try to catch up. And and there was a very distinct and of course, red has if you remember back in Oh, eight was talking about worst workflow ever, ever, ever.

Stephen Beres 33:17
Yeah. And like, if you didn't have Dean's phone number, like good luck getting anything done. Oh, like, seriously, was there a point where like, you know, Graham stayed at my house for a couple of days. You know, like it was whatever we needed to do to like, get stuff through chilewich had an office at plaster city for a little while. You know, it was like, anything we could do to get this this worked. It was yeah, it was it was it was amazing. It we did anything,

Alex Ferrari 33:40
It was a nightmare. That's why I was working so much. When I figured it out. I was able to get stuff out the door. Did I literally have films walk in the door? They're like we've we've had it in our hard drives for a year and a half. We can't get our investors paid, because we can't get the workflow to work and then I would and then I would tell them this is how much it's gonna cost and they're like, We gave the last guy that and he couldn't do it. I'm like, I'm sorry for you brother. I can't it's too much work. I can't rebuild your entire movie. For three grand I'm sorry, I just cat. But so when reds when Red showed up and there's that's it's a very distinct thing about red versus Alexa. And, and a lot of there's a lot of, you know, people that talk about the differences and things like that. But when when I was shooting red, I wasn't red fanatic. When it first came out. I was shooting all my spots on it. I was shooting my shorts on it all, you know, doing projects on it, because I loved and I knew the workflow. So it worked out but it is a very sharp, almost antiseptic image because yeah, it can be unless you got good class, unless you got vintage glasses or something to soften it. This is early days. I'm not talking about where they are not early days. But then I saw Lux I had a DP for an amount of the ACS like you need to come down and look at the Alexa. And I'm like, okay, and I remember the Alexa like, what is it? He's like, it's 10:30pm like, Wow, you guys are still sick or two kids.

Stephen Beres 35:00
It's like, yeah, it was it was essentially, it was it was a she, they could say took a little bit like,

Alex Ferrari 35:06
You could is HD so it's 1080 psi. Wow. Like, you know, we're focused on quality not case. And I'm like, and a lot of DPS jumped on board because a lot of DPS got really pissed off at red because they went to the consumer and not to them, where Alexa was talking more to the DPS. But then I saw Alexa, I was like, wow, this is pretty. It's just a, it's just a different image. It's a more filmic image, the latitude is different. It just did a whole bunch of stuff. So there was that the reason why you went with Alexa versus red, because red was a little bit more established at that point.

Stephen Beres 35:42
Yeah, I think so. For sure. I think so for sure. I think that, you know, we had, you know, some some early tests that were shot with the Alexa that we looked at. And, you know, for a variety of reasons, it at you know, in the early days of the of the show, was was sort of the way that we went, I don't know that there was ever the conversation. Is it an either or I think the conversation was sort of from the start it was it was the Alexa or it was film, it wasn't ever going to be like, well, which digital camera do we do? I think it was about, you know, the DPS at that point had sort of said, Okay, listen, I think we could consider doing it on the Alexa because of like you said, filmic image, it's a lot, it's a lot easier to have people make the jump to at that point. Again, this was during the day, you know, the 15 years ago, to make the jump to the Alexa from, you know, the expectation of film that it was maybe to think about everything that went into the red. And the funny thing is, is that we ran into that exact problem a lot. People would come in with a really deep preconception of what they thought a camera could do. The Sony can't, you know, you know, really does a great job of photographing the color blue, or Yeah, well, everybody knows RED cameras can't shoot when it's like, you know, slightly Hobbit outside or something. And you're like, well, first of all, Where'd you hear that, you know,

Alex Ferrari 37:02
On the set of chey on the set of chey when they had like the first frickin camera. Yeah, they had the ice pack, because

Stephen Beres 37:07
It was playing card that was keeping rain out of it like yeah, you know, get it. So I think a lot of that was that oh, well, you know, DP talks to another DP talks to their camera system that was on a different film talks to somebody uncle that had done whatever. And so we decided to do after the first season of Game of Thrones was go out and find the sort of state of the art for digital cinema cameras. At that point, there was an Alexa, there was a red there was, you know, obviously stuff from Sony stuff from Canon stuff from Panasonic. And we got all of that together. Even at that time, that first one, we had a five d we had a five d modded for lens meant we did that thing. And we shot what we call the HBO camera assessment series, which we're about to start shooting again in January, we decided we would do not a shootout because I don't like shoot outs. I don't think that makes any sense. Game of Thrones used literally every camera that was made, we had, in fact, I have it right over there. I have the carbon fiber red that was built specifically for the show for lightweight aerial stuff our cable cameras are so we shot a lot of game of thrones on the red. And Jared was nice enough to to let us have the ones that we shot. So they're part of the HBO archive. But the you know, the idea, you know, was not well, let's find out which cameras best because the truth is, no camera is best. Some cameras are great, great things and maybe not great at other things. Some cameras are good at more things than others. And some cameras that you would say are total crap might be so amazing at one particular thing that there simply isn't at any price range, anything that could compare to it. And I think you know, Blackmagic was the first disrupter in that space. You know, and now you look at like what DJI is doing and things and now like disruption in that space is sort of the normal thing. So we actually started doing that camera assessment series. Every other year. Now we do it every three years. And because of COVID, we've had a delay, and so we're a little delayed the last, the most recent one is 2017. So we're really in need of a new one. But it just became this thing that we use, when we sit down with a filmmaker for the first time. We sort of watch it together and we wash out all of this like, oh, well my cousin said you can't use the very cam because it doesn't, you know, whatever. We we kind of wash all that we all get on the same page. And then we start to try to develop like, well, what's the what's the visual language of the show? What are we trying to tell you? What are you trying to do here? And then we can have a little bit more informed conversation about the right way to get there. Yes, it's not always the Alexa. It's not always the one of the flavors of the red. You know, in fact, it might be the black magic in the case of the recent Duplass Brothers film. You know, we did an entire episode on an iPhone and you know, we're not by any stretch of the imagination first people do that and but that was the right thing for the show because You know, it was it spoke to the sort of frenetic energy that they were trying to produce. And so, you know, it's not about, oh, well, what's the best thing and I should always be shooting on the best thing. And if I'm not shooting on the best thing, I'm not doing the best work. No, absolutely untrue. Absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 40:17
I've shot look, I was shooting on the red one for a long time. And it's still it was good enough for che, and many and many other amazing movie, it was perfectly fine. Are there more bells and whistles with a newer one at the time? Sure, why not? But it's the works. There's I'm going to say something very controversial. In regards to cameras here, because I'm a big I'm a black magic. I love black magic. And I actually did a shootout between black magic and airy. And I wanted to test it because the closest thing I've seen to airy is black magic as far as this statics of that filmic. Yeah, filmic thought I shot both down the middle. Yeah, both down the middle same lenses. And I put them up on the on the on the on the broadcast monitor, you know, like with a calibrated monitor. And I check them both out. And I was like, I challenge anybody to tell me which is which

Stephen Beres 41:12
It is a margin. And that's the thing.

Alex Ferrari 41:15
It is this it is this big now. Yeah, with that said before everyone loses their mind listening, where you see, and then obviously the black magics a little bit more affordable than the opposite. Just a little bit.

Stephen Beres 41:28
The funny thing is they're all coming down, which is kind of

Alex Ferrari 41:30
The hafting I mean, eventually they have to get out. But still Blackmagic is like, talk about disrupter, it's insane. Yeah. So the difference is that the soon as you start pushing the the image, the Alexa shows its true colors where it's like, oh, I'm the Alexa, don't forget who I am. Oh, I get it. Yeah. And then and then you start and you start looking at the the black magic and starts falling apart on the either over or under, when you but you honestly shouldn't be shooting five stops under.

Stephen Beres 42:03
That's exactly what Well, here's the thing. And I've said this a lot that the trick is, is this, if you hit the bull's eye on both of those cameras, it is challenging to see the difference. If you were able to get right into the pocket, you know, especially if you've got the modified LPF that you can add to the magic cameras, you are the you are hard pressed for most people to tell the difference. But to your point exactly. It's when you don't hit the bullseye, it's when you know, your target gets a little bigger. And you're you know, you're spread a little bit all over the place. Yeah. Now, if you know, on my show, we're spending a lot of money every day to make sure that everything we get is usable, it's a huge effort, huge amount of money, huge amount of people huge amount of expectation to get that show on the air at a particular time. If you're a smaller filmmaker or a filmmaker, that's just starting out, you have a completely different luxury of taking the time to get the bull's eye, you know, you can spend the time on set, if you need to spend an extra half hour lighting, to get it just in there to fill in that little bit of darkness underneath the table. You know, to just rein in that little get a little cutter on whatever is blowing in through a window or something to sort of rein it in, you can get to the same place. You just spent your money on time on set. And maybe you can do that maybe you can't but you spent your money and time instead of in the 40 5060 120% more than you would spend on the camera. And for me, I can't spend another hour on set. It's too expensive. A little bit of underexposure. A little bit of overexposure. No, I just need to get it. I can't deal with time on set dicking with camera shit to make sure that you know it's going to be perfect. I know that if we get it into pretty big box, we'll get it there and post we'll get there then you've got the latitude. Yeah, colors should have it's going to be fine. And so I think that's the difference. And that's, you know, young filmmakers ask me all the time like and, you know, there was a whole season of Project Greenlight that I think it's, you know,

Alex Ferrari 44:00
Let's not let's not go there. I wasn't set I was in season two, I don't want to talk about it.

Stephen Beres 44:07
I have to shoot film, this isn't gonna be this isn't going to be my vision unless I shoot film. And so often, young filmmakers nowadays you sort of have this conversation where you say, you know, yeah, okay, it's great. It's fantastic for Jonah Nolan to shoot film on Westworld, because honestly, at the end of the day, it's a rounding error, the additional cost for him to shoot film, Joan is extraordinarily passionate about it. He comes from, you know, a very valid artistic point of view on why he wants to do that. If you are a new filmmaker, and you have a extremely limited budget, amount of time, everything else that goes with that the difference to your end product of shooting film, or shooting digital of finding a great digital camera that you can afford to maybe you can own it so you don't have to worry about rental days killing you don't have to, you can get to a place where you can make a super compelling image With a superior quality, and at the end of the day, if you make a great movie, it looks one and a half percent better on film to like 1% of the people that will critically evaluate it. It's who cares?

Alex Ferrari 45:13
No one cares. Like yeah, like when you're when you're on on the set of Game of Thrones, and you've got 500 extras, and you've got 1000 things going on. It's starting to rain. You can't dick around with oh, I'm off with a stop.

Stephen Beres 45:28
But it's not it's not gonna care.

Alex Ferrari 45:30
Yeah, but the but the but the Alexa will be able to give you that pocket. Where if you're shooting raw and you put it in post you are. You're golden. You're golden. I shot scrape it in. Listen, I always I did I did my last feature. I shot it on the Blackmagic Pocket. 1080p.

Stephen Beres 45:48
Cool. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 45:49
The super 16. Yeah,. That was one of the most beautiful cameras I've ever owned. I love that little camera. The coolest. That sensor is something that's so beautiful. And agree it's sort of statically pleasing. And it's so six it's a super six devices, a Super 16 Super 16. Yeah, it's a super 16 sensor. i It was shot at 1080 p. So I decided to shoot my entire movie on that camera with vintage glass. And with like a sigma 18 to 35 photo like lens. Yeah, yeah. And that last movie was I shot I went to Sundance and shot a whole movie at Sundance, about how filmmakers trying to sell a movie at Sundance. So I sold the whole movie at Sundance. And it was it was fantastic.

Stephen Beres 46:28
And it's the perfect camera that what other camera you're not gonna do that with an Alexa I had, like,

Alex Ferrari 46:32
I walked around with my DP walked around, it was me the DP in the sound guy and a friend. That's it. That was a crew. And my three actors, and we shot the whole thing in four days. And like literally four days of running around just grabbing stuff all over the place. And that I figured it out. I'm like, do I have a movie? I don't know. Let's see what happens. But it didn't cost me a whole bunch. So let's, let's see what happens. Yeah. And I wanted to see what I could do with that camera. And I did test and I knew I knew what I wanted. And I wanted that's kind of like super 16 Yeah, Sundance vibe from the 90s. Yeah, yeah. And I did it and I threw a little extra grain on it with a little with a filter, just to give it a little bit extra, a little extra crisp. And then I played it and everyone's like, that's it's still one of the most stunning things I've ever shot and I then I blew it up to 2k for DCP. And I world premiered it at the Chinese Theatre and I'm like, Oh, screw like, I'm like, I haven't I've never I've never seen this big projected. I don't even know if it's gonna hold like I have no idea. Dude, it looked gorgeous. I was shy blew up attensity PMH to A to K DCP. And it projected with a real projector at the Chinese Theatre. Yeah, yeah. Gorgeous. And I just did that to prove to everyone like no one cares. It has does it look good? Great. I don't care if it's an Alexa. When people and filmmakers come to me, they're like, oh, man, I shot this with this new camera. I don't care.

Stephen Beres 47:55
I don't care. It doesn't matter. Yeah. When Shaun Baker would advertise the camera. It doesn't matter.

Alex Ferrari 47:59
No, when Shaun Baker did tangerine. Nobody even knew it was an iPhone until the very end of the credits that said shot on an iPhone. Yeah. Yeah, was it because he didn't leave with

Stephen Beres 48:09
And, and the thing is, is it's also like, it's a great show. And that's really what what matters, you know, it's like it doesn't, it doesn't really matter, you know, storing, you know, our good friend, you know, Shane Hurlbut. And those kind of guys have been doing that stuff for a while and has sort of made it the hallmark of what they do. But at the end of the day, like it's also because like they shoot great stuff. You know, they have a really again, I'll say they have a really frenetic energy. There's a lot of energy.

Alex Ferrari 48:33
Shan Shan has been on the show, I say it has been on the show, I I'm aware of his energy.

Stephen Beres 48:38
He's a big guy. He's a he's got a big energy. He's got a big energy. He's he can be a terrifying dude, sometimes, but good guy, really good. Beautiful human being a very warm, very, you know, very, very gracious person, but it's got it. Yeah, you know, he's he's got a lot of energy. And it shows through in his work, the kind of stuff that he does, right, the kind of, you know, sort of every every movie feels like a battlefield a little bit, I think, you know, it gels. But you know, the thing is, is that there is a particular type of technology that lends itself to doing that, and it also to a little bit, it sort of enables that, right? You couldn't have done that. If you were dealing with you know, even an error e s t or something like that with a little mini mag or something. You just can't I mean it first of all, it's crazy heavy, but also like, you're limited by runtime, you're limited by batteries, you're limited by this, you're limited by that you're limited by exposure, you're limited, all these sorts of things. And now you can say Well, listen, I've got a D on when you have even talked about DJI, I think DJI is the new Mac Blackmagic when it comes to disruption, not because they're making the world's greatest images, but because they are completely they believe the camera archetype the form factor of a camera is completely irrelevant. We're gonna build backwards from trying to get this shot, you know, they're like, Okay, we want to get these kinds of shots. Now, go backwards into a camera from there, which isn't how you're going to shoot you know, your your three camera sitcom. It's not meant to do that. That's not what that camera is. It's not to replace the airy on, you know, production television and production drama. It's not meant to do that. It's meant to be something that nobody's ever seen before, that is totally crazy and also doesn't cost $100,000. So, you know, because nowadays, you know, we're not looking necessarily to get images on our service that are, you know, that unique from a photographic standpoint we are, but everybody's shooting on the Alexa, everybody's shooting on the red, everybody's shooting in a, you know, a pocket of lenses, admittedly a big pocket that they're shooting, they're shooting in a selection of lenses. And so we're we're really trying to differentiate, and I think store smart, you know, filmmakers are trying to differentiate is in perspective, we're trying to get shots on television that you've never seen on television, put a camera in a place where you've never seen a camera, you've never seen a point of view, the perspective from that particular vantage point on that particular action. And people remember that people remember the mayor of East town shots that come down along the river into a, you know, sitting by the body shot that everybody has seen a million times who murdered this daughter, you know, a million a million times we've seen the law and order crouched down by the body, lift up the sheet, shake your head, throw it back down. How do we introduce that scenario in a totally new way? How do we bring people into that scene in a totally new way. And everything from drones to who knows if the you know, the swan the attacks one DJI camera isn't going to be something that allows us to, you know, put a cat buddy on rollerblades or whatever, put a camera into moving vehicle into a car handed off, do these sorts of things that you don't have an opportunity to do with a full blown film package, a full blown digital package. And the greatest thing about it is that to your point earlier, were 80% of the image almost out of the box, in most cases, so is to pairing the Blackmagic camera with the Alexa which we do all the time. When it comes to pairing the super small carbon fiber Komodo with the Alexa with a Sony Venice with it, whatever we can do it and so we can get the camera not just the right camera for the show the right camera for the shot. And we have interchangeability of lenses and we have a proliferation of Super 35 or greater sensors and we have all these things are all these tool sets that like man 10 years ago if we could if we could have done the kind of the

Alex Ferrari 52:37
On the first season, the first season of Game of Thrones imagine

Stephen Beres 52:41
That's right. Imagine it imagine it and you look at where we got in season eight where we got you know the Battle of the Bastards flyover which is actually a cable camera. We didn't do drones because it always rains sideways. In Northern Ireland, we actually had a cable stretched between those two locations and that cable would run that camera at 65 miles an hour. Like we also had something called the bat which is a Dunkin barbers a camera car built onto the back of a Land Rover Defender everything comes back to lander was obviously but the you know, he has something called the bat which is a Russian arm on the back of essentially a flat deck defender. And that sucker can roll around in you know, half foot deep mud and get amazing tracking shots and things like that. So it's just like we live in a world now where we're so spoiled by the kinds of places we can put cameras, right? Like that's really I think, where people need to be thinking more than Well, I have to have the finest most cinematic esthetic. Like it's not that it's that

Alex Ferrari 53:34
Dude you know, you and a Stanley Kubrick guys calm the hell down. All right, you're not Stanley Kubrick

Stephen Beres 53:39
Stanley Kubrick already did that. Go do something else.

Alex Ferrari 53:41
Go do something like you know what I mean, don't get me started on Stanley because I'm I'll go down the rabbit hole with him forever. But, but like what he did with you know, like in 2001. And with the and with Barry Lyndon with the lenses and all that kind of stuff. And it's epic stories of him like building his own stuff. Can you imagine Stanley Kubrick today? Give him Can you imagine what him or Hitchcock would do? Yeah, in today's world with the toys that he had that we have today to play with? I mean, oh my god, it would be it would be epic.

Stephen Beres 54:13
You know, you look at what people like and maybe I'm unpopular for saying it but I you know, you look at things like what James Cameron is doing? And I know because of a variety of reasons he's not everybody's favorite person.

Alex Ferrari 54:23
I don't care. I don't care. I don't care what anyone says he's an amazing filmmaker, regardless of anything else.

Stephen Beres 54:28
Okay, you know, and every time I've interacted with him, he's been a great guy. I realize I'm probably the minority there but look, look a slightly different angle.

Alex Ferrari 54:35
And also, but also don't forget, he has softened in in his years. He's a toddler. I've talked to people that worked with him back in in in The Terminator days. And, and Titanic. I know a lot of people who worked with them on Titanic, and then I talked to people that worked with him on Avatar and he is a completely different dude. Does he still get frustrated? Absolutely. You know, and everyone loses You know what James Cameron gets frustrated because he can do everybody's job on the set better than they can. And that's not and that's not ego that is just the reality of the the man is a genius, once in a generation, kind of intellect, and artist. And I always tell people, like there's only one human being on the planet who could make avatar. And then exactly, there's no but there's nobody else. There's not one other filmmaker who could walk into Fox Studios, back in whatever year it was, and say, I need half a billion dollars to develop new technology for an IP that doesn't exist about Blue people on a planet, and there's not going to be any really major any major star power in it. And it's gonna take me two to three years to figure it out. Who else? Not Nolan, not Spielberg, not nobody, nobody else nobody else know. Well, and

Stephen Beres 55:49
I think James Cameron has this interesting thing of like, not only does he know where his story is going, and no one else does, no one else can even conceive it. But he knows where the technology is going. And I think he's frustrated because it hasn't caught up with him yet. I think 3d The thing that he did with 3d, you know, all of that sort of stuff, although maybe not critically acclaimed, maybe not what audiences totally love, although the funny thing is, and, you know, in Canada, 3d still huge, not so much here and in Mexico, but they are the rest of their Becky huge, worldwide, still very big. But, you know, looking down the road, he's always seeing a little farther ahead than the rest of us are, and what's possible with technology that just isn't quite there yet. You know,

Alex Ferrari 56:30
I mean George started with Star Wars. I mean, he was he was frustrated with the cantina scene because he couldn't get it the way he wanted it to do. Hey, there are these these visionaries that do so? I always say that to people like don't and I know, I know a lot of people personally who have worked with him on a one on one. And you just when you're in when you're in that kind of when you I've been blessed to be able to talk to a lot of these guys on my show. And talking to them. You just man, you just there's a sense there's a thing, there's an energy there that you go, Oh, I get it. I get why they they're giving him $100 million. Yep. Like I understand. I'm sure you deal with that all the time.

Stephen Beres 57:10
Oh, yeah. No, and it is like you say it's, it's an absolute, it's a it's a it's a privilege, it's a blessing to you know, to be able to work with these people and to, you know, experience that firsthand. And yeah, it's a double edged sword. Sometimes people are with great, you know, with great power sometimes comes, you know, an awfully large ego and that, so let's bring in Hollywood, no, breaks bad. But then you know, you meet guys like Jon Favreau, who is like the nicest guy in the world and has no reason to be. It doesn't have to be that way. He can be a total asshole. He's been extraordinarily successful. But you get to talking to him about just ask him. Ask him about chef, if you ever wanted Oh, in an hour. And like he said about the film he loved. He just loves He loves the Star Wars stuff. He loves the Mandela loves the characters. He knows all about it. He does, you know, but of course Dave Filoni does, right, he does because he's a little mini George Lucas. You know, there's no, you know, there's no question about it, but Jon Favreau knows it at a level that again, he has no business knowing, you know, he's not, you don't get the sense that he goes home and collect Star Wars figures off of eBay, you know, but like, he knows that he knows the material. And he knows the world, outside of the IP outside of the fact that like, it's this thing you can buy T shirts for and everything else, like he knows it, because he's part of that world because he's helping to make that world. And like, it's just so cool to meet people that like, are as passionate about this dumb shit that's totally made up as you are. And they're the ones making it, you know, it's so great.

Alex Ferrari 58:38
And which brings me to the new technology, which I think is going to change. It has changed already. Our world, which is the volume and that kind of that kind of technology. I've worked one of my best friends did, did Mandalorian VFX and he was explaining to me he's like, Look man, I see I know you guys see that like behind the scenes stuff? And it's like all it's all on camera. It's all perfect. Nah, man. It ain't not at all. It isn't. But but it is 80% There you still got to clean up stuff you still got to do a little comp here. You got to do a little Jessup Lopate work, but overall, it's it's your 80% there I mean, you can have you can have your 12 hour sunset

Stephen Beres 59:19
Actually yeah, it's and also I mean, and I'm a big advocate for saying like and this is a Joe Bauer quote from the from the Game of Thrones series but like if you know you believe the fire believe the dragon right? If fire is real, the dragons real. There's something to being an actor in a space, looking out onto a virtual horizon, but not looking into a field of green, you know, yep, being in a space that you for a second, you forget that you're standing on a stage in the middle of Leavesden. You know, I'm surrounded by TV screens you for a second you're on Dragonstone and you're seeing the world around you and you're seeing the skyline and you're seeing the buildings and the distance and you're you're part of that world in a way that if that was a giant green curtain, which we had to do a lot on the on the, you know, on the the first series, because we just didn't have any other options. We had boats and sea battles that had to be draped in green, we didn't have an option to do anything else, there was no way to do it back then. And so we, you know, it was fine, it looked great people got through it, actors were fine. They're incredibly talented, and they can look at the tennis ball, and they can pretend it's a tennis ball in the distance and pretend that they're seeing the red key from the ocean for the first time. And they're imagining, but what if we could just give them that, you know, what if we could just be on set imagine they see something of that, right. And so it's sort of an end, you know, it's this John pravo quote of sort of saying, like on Jungle Book, they were in the headset, you know, and then there they were Mandalorian, could they just take the headset and just put it on the walls? Like, why not put everybody inside the headset together? And like, it's such a simple idea. To be fair, that there's now I think, again, like I said, the sea change for how we do stuff in our industry will come about because of these volume spaces on every level. But it's such a simple concept that has now given birth to what will be I'm not saying John Faber invented it, but he's certainly a big advocate of it and Disney getting their premier shows for Disney plus, it was

Alex Ferrari 1:01:13
It was Mandalorian. Big deal. Mandalore man Mandalorian is the is the show that brought everybody brought it to everyone's attention and it just happened to hit during a pandemic. And it was like everything just kind of hit perfectly for that because like, oh, we can't go out. We need a controlled environment. Wait a minute, the volume is controlled. We can create a bubble there all this kind of stuff. So and I was talking to a domain name drop Dean Conde Dean was on the show and and he was like, he just as passing is like, yeah, I just got back from the book boba. And, and I'm flying out tomorrow to season three of Mandalorian. I'm like, I'm sorry, what? Let's go back here for a second. Do you lit the volume? What? Because I hadn't talked to anybody who's lit it. Yeah, I've talked to post guys. What is it like working on it? And he's like, I'm like, do you get the refill? Because you get the reflections? That's what's really good about it. Because you get these reflections on on the on the especially the shiny helmets and things like that Chrome helmet, the chrome helmet you get because my VFX guys like, do you have no idea how difficult that is? To get? You never got it? Right? Never ever get that right. You never get reflections right in post.

Stephen Beres 1:02:21
I mean, you basically made your new your, your main character, an old ball, and you know, like, like, like, you know, you can tell that that's like, unfortunately, where like production designers who are absolutely gifted artists and far beyond my, you know, capability of any of that kind of thinking, but you know, where it's sort of like a little tiny bit of a disconnection between like, but you know how we make movies, right? If you make a mirror ball their head, it's gonna be real hard for us.

Alex Ferrari 1:02:49
So like, Can we can we Yeah, can we not have the mirror around his head? Like, that's just, it's like, Enter the Dragon. It's like, Enter the Dragon. But like, I have a much higher level.

Stephen Beres 1:03:02
Room of mirrors is around and somebody's wearing it. Yeah, no, it's like, no, no, I totally. So it's, it's huge. It's gonna be it's gonna change the way we do

Alex Ferrari 1:03:11
So and then he was telling me how he likes it. And like, I'm like, how do you make it? How do you get lights in there? Do you? Do you shoot outside? He goes, Yeah, we sometimes set the lights outside of the volume. Because there is holes. I mean, over the top, and then just fill in here and there. And he works with it with the with the graphics guys on how they're lighting it and it's pretty, it's insane. How was that technology affecting what you guys are doing at HBO?

Stephen Beres 1:03:36
Well, I think like I said, I think it's it's changing the way that we're thinking about not just the big show's obviously house, the dragon, you know, the New Game of Thrones series prequel based on the original series. You know, it makes sense for a show like that, right? We're in a time in our production lives, were traveling to 1000 locations in all these different countries is not practical for a number of different reasons, health and safety, you know, being a big one. But also, you know, it's difficult to have a world that's as expansive as that and, you know, try to still get it producible for television, you can't just have 900 locations in 52 different countries, that's not feasible. So the idea of being able to utilize technology like virtual volume production, it just makes it possible it makes that world more realizable we can give to creative now the ability to be in all of these different locations that otherwise we couldn't like I said at the beginning you know the be able to put pirates on a pirate ship for a half hour comedy and have that be essentially an in the box in the camera. You know, sort of thing. We couldn't do that. Like we're not we're not gonna Master and Commander a boat out in the middle of the goddamn ocean for Pirates of the Caribbean. There's no friggin way. We can't do it. It's never gonna work, right? It's never gonna work. Plus, that's really hard on people. They're not going to be funny when they're, you know? Oh, it's, you know, it's a miserable way to shoot. So yeah, the idea of like, We're in Burbank we're on a stage. You know, they get to go home to their kids at night or back to their comfortable hotel room. And you know, they show up. And you know what, looking through that camera, you're hard pressed to tell me that they're not out in the middle of the ocean for, you know, the 50 basically medium shots that have it as an out of focus background, we're not, you know, we're not doing epic boat battles and things. It's not what the show is about. And so I think it just more so than the Game of Thrones, the Mandalorians, things like that, because obviously, it makes total sense. It works there. It's great. That makes total sense. But for the little shows that, you know, maybe this idea of a virtual backlot becomes a real thing, where you can go you can shoot on a street in Chicago without going and shooting on a street in Chicago, you would have been you could make that user,

Alex Ferrari 1:05:44
You would have never dreamed they would have never greenlit that show without this technology.

Stephen Beres 1:05:48
Yeah, I don't I don't know. I mean, you know, I think it would have been a bit hard pressed to convince somebody to spend that kind of money on a comedy if you couldn't kind of fit it in the box like that. You know, is this

Alex Ferrari 1:05:58
Screen screens, green screen Calm, calm, calm, calm. You're talking about 900 shots an episode.

Stephen Beres 1:06:01
Yeah, exactly. And how do you do that. And also, like, the economy of doing that, it just makes it so what you end up doing is you're shooting with the boat as the background, the cabins, you're Yeah, awkwardly below decks a lot more than is, you know, it gives creative, the free gives creative, the freedom to be able to say, this takes place on the deck of the ship, because that's where it would take place. That's where the guys work during the day, it's dark, it's dark in the cargo hold of a ship. They don't really spend so so it you know, and admittedly, it's a comedy, it's silly, all those sort of things. Does it have to be totally realistic? No, like, no. But again, if it is, if it again, you know, it sort of becomes the office, but with pirates, the realistic nature of the show also makes it funny, but you know, like,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:44
Is that the pitch? Is was that the pitch? Was that the pitch? It's the office with pirates. It's the office why pirate,

Stephen Beres 1:06:51
our flags mean death coming up in in early next year, and I can't wait. It's gonna be hilarious. It's so funny.

Alex Ferrari 1:06:59
I cannot wait to see that.

Stephen Beres 1:07:02
So funny. But I mean, that's a perfect example. That's not something you think, Oh, well, obviously that shot in a virtual led ball you'd like but the comedy pirate show, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:07:10
It is but eventually we're going to get to that place you were talking about like, Yeah, let's go shoot on the on the streets of Chicago, but we're gonna be shooting in Burbank, and it's gonna look, it's gonna look exactly the same.

Stephen Beres 1:07:20
And for the giant shows the avatars, they'll Game of Thrones, the the, you know, the Mandalorians, we're gonna spend time on the establishing shot, we're going to get that amazing cliffside in Northern Ireland, that is not reproducible anywhere in the world. We're going to shoot there for two days. And then we're going to come in, we're going to come home to the stage, and we're going to shoot all those dumb plates of medium shots that don't have to happen on top of a hill where the wind is blowing, and the raining is coming sideways. And the mud is knee deep, and all this sort of stuff. Because you know what it's out of focus in the background, we established an amazing, amazing open, and now we're going to get the work done of getting really good scene work done, really good people talking to other people. We're going to get the dialogue great, it's going to be crisp and clean, easy to understand the performance is there going to be really outstanding, because we're not putting people through hell. And I'm not saying that like sometimes putting through pull through hell doesn't doesn't create an amazing performance. But we don't have to, we don't have to

Alex Ferrari 1:08:15
Look at the shining, look at the shining.

Stephen Beres 1:08:18
Look at all these movies that like torturing people created the greatest movies of all time. But that's not the business. We're not it is not it is not we don't have to do this. But what I think it made me my last comment on the virtual production thing is that what I hope to see is that every department just goes virtually native. And what I mean by that is that remember when it was a special person that used to do CAD drawings for the production design department, where there was like a, an outside company, there was a specific person, there was a whatever they would come in, they would do the CAD you do your traditional paper drawings, you do your whatever, and then they would do the CAD they would break it down. And we were saving all this money because we could create construction drawings and stuff, right automatically. And now it's just part of the production design team. Everybody knows how to do it. Everybody speaks native CAD, everybody has, you know, the ability to look at a SketchUp directors know how to open SketchUp look at the models do all that sort of stuff. Well, I think the next stage is that those folks are going to start understanding the build in virtual space, because we got to start now. Well, before we had ever started any of that stuff, we're gonna put it set in the digital space. Of course, if the build up a month before and start, you know, throwing up two by fours, it doesn't work like that anymore. We have to be well ahead of that we have to be in the previous conversation we have to be and so I think like the opportunity there is all these folks coming into the industry coming from places like full sail to come full circle is that you know, we have the ability to take what are digital job virtual production jobs and simply make them jobs of that department, the camera person that understands tracking on the camera, how to set that up, how to keep that moving, that doesn't need to be a special virtual production person one day that will be a second assistant or first instead they will just be part of their normal lives. Think about Wireless is right, that was something it was like super whiz bang and was a special kitten was all this. I know every first has a fist, you know? Like there's gonna be that, hey, don't get polls this day you know?

Alex Ferrari 1:10:09
Listen, listen, I used to be the Apple tech at my commercial production house, my first job and I, I used to run AppleTalk and one of the reps kick the cable and knock the entire network out for the entire buildings, I literally had to go around, clicking, you know, like, and now like people were like, what's this Wi Fi? You mean Wi Fi? Yeah, like now it's everywhere. It's just part of what we do everybody. So that's gonna eventually be the way it is with. I mean, looking at editing, digital editing, like now everybody cuts everyone cuts on their own. They could do their own stuff. I would just want I really want to ask you what is the workflow man from because I preach and yell from the top of the mountain to filmmakers, workflow, workflow workflow, you want to shoot with a 6k camera, but you're working on a laptop from seven years ago, this is not going to end well for you. So what is the workflow for let's say, the the new Game of Thrones series, like, I'd love to hear the workflow, like from camera to end

Stephen Beres 1:11:10
Yeah, and I think in general, it's probably not just the Game of Thrones, I think that we, you know, we kind of look at it holistically as what what we really preach is something we call a color managed workflow. And so that's really for us the sort of big piece of it now I'll start right all the way on set. We do have loaders on set that are downloading material, making sure that's backed up and verified on set, depending on the show, we're shooting, usually, whatever the native digital capture format on that camera is so if it's the Alexa, in a lot of cases, we're shooting quad four or E or XR progress. Occasionally, we're shooting airy, raw, you know, we found the you know, the utility and airy raw, sometimes sometimes don't, you know, it depends, right, a lot of what we need from progress. And so sometimes we're there, it would be great to have Pro Res raw, more readily realized, first of all more capable and then secondly, more realized, but you know, for shooting the red we're definitely obviously shooting red raw for shooting Sony we're shooting in one of Sony's many flavors of raw depending on the project. But that's getting backed up on set that's going into our our daily systems, which in most cases are color front, I would say for the for the most part, we're running some flavor of color prints is giving us real time daily. So we are in many cases, offset doing all of our syncing doing our primary onset. Great and that usually is it's let's lookups that were set from the colorist and the DPS in pre production, we did camera tests, we did whatever set some looks for the show, or something that maybe the the DP will spend time on set with a DI T setting in a new location, but we were not doing his coloring every single shot, you know, on set, right, we don't do that it goes back to house it gets we get dailies put up on picks for us to watch at the studio, we're on cloud era, do it, you're doing it. So it's going to the Cloud 100 100% Cloud based out and it goes down to everybody's devices, we use a combination of pics and a little bit a little bit of frame IO as well, depending on what we're doing, and then, you know, it sort of comes around to the editorial stage. To be fair, most of our shows are cut in the AVID because that's a you know, that's the industry we're in, those are the editors that we're working with, you know, so then they're handing a list over to the the post house post houses assembling from the the raw materials. So we're not, we're not cutting the raw because we have, you know, some limitations on for a variety of reasons, what we are doing is more, more remote editorial. So we're doing a cloud based avid that someone is working on a terminal, essentially, and it is nearly seamless. In some cases, you know, we're getting a really nice experience. And that was we had to do that because nobody was allowed to breathe the same air together. And now we're finding that editors are saying, I don't I don't want to go back to the edit room seven days a week for you know, 15 hours a day. I would like to be I can be at home. I can be doing this at night I can have dinner with the kids, they can go to bed I'm going to stay up until two o'clock in the morning editing but I've seen them for three hours in primetime. I'm not eating you know takeout at my edit console some awesome weird Hollywood. I was great.

Alex Ferrari 1:14:14
So to stop your second just so everyone knows like my my buddy who does a lot of the high end visual effects. He when the pandemic happened a lot of VFX studios were just always afraid of security security. That was the big thing is like security like oh my god someone's gonna get this footage. Oh my god, it's gonna get bootleg there's all this kind of stuff. But with VFX they realize that like once you know obviously they're gonna do it with trusted VFX guys and there's contract upon contract, but they're they're just doing pieces of they're doing like a piece here so 15 people so there's no there's nobody all nobody has all of it at the same time. So now that's become a norm like my via my buddy who's done every major Marvel movie every major Star Wars movie like all that stuff. Yeah, he used to have to fly to London. fly to New New Zealand. Yeah. to Toronto, fly to Vancouver, and now he's at home. And he's like, yeah, for the next year and a half all booked up is just completely terminal. So the game has changed as far as post is concerned.

Stephen Beres 1:15:11
It's huge. And I mean, and that is key because I think quality of life for those people, you do better work when you are in, you know, you're in a better place in your life, right? Like, right, again, try not to torture people, you know, like try to make people's jobs, something that they enjoy doing, because they do better work. And so, you know, once that editorial cut comes in, that will then go to a post house. And that's really where the color management piece comes in. Because we don't display reference until essentially output meaning that it becomes 709. For standard HD, it becomes, you know, whatever rec 2020 for HDR, whatever, you know, three for cinema, whatever, only when it's essentially exhibited. So you're working in and on color corrector or in an display reference space, right? So you're working in, let's say, it's area you're working in, log, see through the entire process, everything, all of the creative grading, all the scene matching, all that sort of stuff, all the visual effects, everything is being done in log c. And then when we create that linear broadcast, deliverable, streaming, deliverable, theatrical exhibition, whatever it is, that's when it's getting that display reference baked into it. So that's when it's actually becoming, you know, rec 709 HD, that's when it's becoming rec, 2020 HDR, and that allows us AV elasticity to make both of those things without doing totally separate grading sessions for them. So what we might do is we'll have a trim to get the HDR from the HD or to get the HD from the or SDR from the from the HDR will will do a pass on that but will not recover correct the whole thing. We don't use the Dolby Vision automatic trim stuff, just yet. For a variety of reasons, the majority of our customers are looking at stuff in SDR, our series stuff is still SDR. Although the Warner Brothers, you know, feature movies every month are in HDR, and more and more stuff is coming to HDR all the time. So it's really important for us to sort of archive the creative and as much of that as humanly possible, and sort of distill that down into something that we can take to new display technologies in the future. So today we're rec 2020 on an HDR OLED display at UHD. But maybe in in a year's time, two years time, 10 years time, we want to take that same asset we want to take you know house of the dragon, and we want to create a version of that that plays on an 8k Super Ultra High W or whatever. But we don't want to go back and completely restore the project like we're doing with some of the older ones, right?

Alex Ferrari 1:17:39
We want to get my my anus pucker thinking about all the files and and making sure you have all the versions in the deliverables. I can only imagine the deliverables lets you deal with man. All my audio and let's get an audio now with Atmos and all that. And it's everything it gets. And then yeah, because I was what like so how did you guys do? How did you remaster season one because as alternate?

Stephen Beres 1:18:04
Yeah, it was alternating piece. So we went back with Joe Finley and John Reed, the the colorist on the project. And we went back to camera, original material. We

Alex Ferrari 1:18:14
It was all film right. It was all that was all film. Oh, no, that was that was Eric's

Stephen Beres 1:18:18
That's our it was our tape was that's our tape. You know, so we remastered everything to you know, to digitally digital UHD up it was oppressed, the HD material had to be oppressed. So we did that on the conversion from tape to digital from on capture essentially. And then they went back from a log c which was on the tape. Now admittedly, this is log c packed onto a you know, a video cassette so not exactly or you know, 12 Bits of adulterated but, but you know, whatever. And then and then graded from there and created the US version of the show that we see. And then of course, in later seasons, we were using the codecs recorder to record a digital at least uncompressed version of that. And then we were eventually on to internal recording on the magazines. And then and then finally ended up with like this 3.2k, which is, you know, which is, you know, we can get sort of ultimately do that. And the reason that we did 3.2k is because it was it's a really nice, linear, no rounding error scale up to UHD. And so the last few seasons 3.2k, which was a version, which was a format we worked with airy to create, specifically for Game of Thrones, and now it's a very popular format. And we did that so that we could actually window we windowed a 2.8k image out of that, because we put tracking marks and things around the outside of it, so that we had, you know, all this tracking information buried in the image where we didn't have to then, you know, we didn't have to actually comp it out. We just cropped it out. It just became a part of the image region we didn't use. And so there was lots of cool and tricks.

Alex Ferrari 1:19:54
So I have to ask as well, but how many cases enough we're at 12k Now your show.

Stephen Beres 1:20:00
Yeah, I mean, I don't know, you see, I don't really, you know, maybe I don't entirely subscribe to the Aerie model of you know, KS don't matter at all. And maybe I don't entirely subscribe to the, it's the race to the most ks and when we get there ever will be it'll be the best. I think, you know, it depends on the show, it depends really on how much does that K cost you? And I don't mean money wise, like, what does it mean, you know, early days of the read workflow, right? Like, what, what, how much work do I have to put in, you know, my iPhone shoots 4k and shoots 4k All day long, and I didn't even notice it, you know, so yeah, I mean, that shooting for kids shooting it on a lens, the size of a teardrop, but, you know, it's, it's still doing it. So in that case, it doesn't cost me anything, why not. But if I'm shooting a major feature, and the difference between going, you know, UHD, or greater than UHD, and really, everything's UHD. So like, the version 8k 6k versus Shooting standard, you know, 4k, it really depends, right? If it's easy, if it's smooth, glassy, smooth, and red coach certainly makes that easy. You can shoot a gay, and you don't even really feel it, you know, like, yeah, it's big, the files are heavy, all that sort of stuff.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:05
But then but you have to think about the workflow down the line. It's kind of like the river, like if you if you start here, well, how is this gonna affect your final? And like, are you going to be able to cut or you're going to be able to cut raw, or you can't, okay, so you know, you gotta go offline, then you're gonna have to redraw, reassemble. And don't even get me started with proxies. You know, that's always a fun little process.

Stephen Beres 1:21:27
Hopefully, we're almost at the end of that. But I say anytime anybody says that, then there's another, there's another new hire format, and you have to do it all over again.

Alex Ferrari 1:21:35
It's just, it just keeps, it just keeps going and keeps going at a certain point, you just got to go. And then a lot of filmmakers out there listening, you know, they get caught up with the gear porn, which is what you know, it's all about the gear porn. It's all about like, what's the latest isn't the latest that dude, if you're a good storyteller, you could shoot it on an iPhone, it doesn't matter. I mean, it look, it matters to a certain extent. And yes, obviously, you need to get the the aesthetics in there. But talking to someone like you who's dealing, you know, who's working at a very high level with, you know, a company like HBO, working on some of the biggest television shows, in history, production wise, and every other way why? Dealing with that kind of workflow. It is, I mean, there's very few other TV shows probably, other than Game of Thrones that handle the kind of workflow that you add the size. And the vastness of what you guys, it was just the was, it was the biggest show. Even even even Mandalorian. Doesn't doesn't do that.

Because there, it's not as big of a show. It didn't it doesn't have the budget that you had on the show. What was the budget on those episodes? It was like, it was, it was, it was like 10 million or something.

Stephen Beres 1:22:45
It was an undisclosed lot of money. It was undisclosed. Okay. It was an undisclosed a lot of money. But But yeah, you know, and I appreciate that. And we all you know, David and myself, everyone who worked on the show, really, genuinely appreciate that, you know, not not just that people appreciate that. It's a very expensive show, but that it is a show that people loved and you know, and then it kind of made a little bit of a dent in the zeitgeist for a little while and just what an incredible amazing privilege it is to just be even adjacent to something like that. You know, and I think a lot of people you know, sort of think about it as as a great relationship maybe a relationship that for some people didn't end the way they wanted it to and never does. It never does. It never does. Nobody likes being broken up with nobody likes being broken up with so

Alex Ferrari 1:23:35
You know, I dont mean, interrupt you but I had a I had David Chase on the show. And we were talking about Sopranos. And I don't think I asked him about the ending but I did hear what he he literally was so tired of it. He's just like, the song I'm going to use I use the song because it pissed off the crew. And I just cut because like you've never the there's very few endings to a show that satisfying. I think breaking bad for me was a really great ending. Breaking Bad was a wonderfully satisfying ending to an epic, epic, epic show.

Stephen Beres 1:24:10
I love Breaking Bad. And those guys have done such a great, you know, job with that with that show that? Yeah, it's hard then. But like I agree with you, I think that you can count on one hand the number that that that satisfied everyone and I guarantee you there are people who are viscerally upset with the way that Breaking Bad ended. Oh, it's the way that any other show ended, right? Because you're always gonna find somebody.

Alex Ferrari 1:24:30
It's always love. I mean, the best ending of all time is The Bob Newhart Show. Yes, that's by far the best ending.

Stephen Beres 1:24:38
It has a problem with that. There's nobody that

Alex Ferrari 1:24:39
I mean, I can't it's like the like, what is going uh, what? It was amazing, amazing ending to a show. I'm gonna ask you a few questions. I asked all my guests sir. What advice would you give a filmmaker trying to break into the business today?

Stephen Beres 1:24:55
Well, I think you know, the number one thing that people I think overlook is You know, understanding that everybody who is working in the industry now, was somebody trying to break into the industry at one point, amen. Yep. And that a lot of people working in, you know, the kind of roles that are one or two levels away from where you will start, do not have a fan base, you know, if you're the assistant editor on a show, first of all, you're very findable, which is a little bit terrifying. But it is just the fact of the matter is that, you know, you're in IMDB. And you know, what, if I really love a show, I really liked the way that it's cut. You know, I really like the way, you know, I can call the editor and I can say, hey, it was really cool, you know, well done. And, you know, if you're in town, sometime, we should get lunch, the average film, you know, you're not going to be able to do that. But you know what, you could email the second assistant editor. And you could say, hey, I really love your show. Do you have time for coffee? Can we do that? And the funny thing is, is like I tell people to do that all the time. And some people do it. And they're successful way more often than you would ever think. Because again, the second assistant editor on the show does not have a fanclub, Walter merch, hard to approach genuinely blue, beautiful human being really nice guy, the Oracle of all filmmaking you can't call Walter, you know, but you know who his second assistant is? I'm not going to tell you, but you could find out. And I'll guarantee you, you know what, I'm not gonna say his name. But he's a he's a very nice guy, super cool guy. If you're in the Bay Area, I'll bet you, I'll bet your coffee,

Alex Ferrari 1:26:25
I bet you he'd gone for coffee or dinner or lunch or something like that. And I found out I found in my, in my years that DPS, and editors, and production designers, and those kinds of heads are much easier to get to than you might think. And if they aren't, you're right, the first assistant is, I mean, they're soup, they're much easier to get to, if you just want to have a conversation if you want a network if you want it. And it isn't, isn't it the way it goes? Like, it's It's Sunday night, you need someone for Monday morning. And you're like, do you know anybody who cut this thing, and you're like, I just met this guy. I think he's been editing for a few years, I think he's available, I'm going to give them a call.

Stephen Beres 1:27:14
More than anything, they know that you're not a crazy person. You know, like, you can go and you can make. And I always say this because you know, people drill this, like, you have to make sure you go to your networking events. No, no, it's like a, like a friggin business card. No collector Expo, you know what, don't collect a single business card, it doesn't matter. Make one meaningful connection with one person. And you've done everything you need to do that night. Like seriously, if I remember that we had a conversation and that you seemed cool. And that you seem to know what you were talking about. And that you were genuinely interested in the stuff that and nobody's interested in what I do. But you know, if you're a DP or something like that, you're genuinely interested in the work that that person does. And not just like a lot of Game of Thrones and like, Yeah, well, thank you so much. We're so happy that everybody loves Game of Thrones, and we love you for that. But I have, you know, I can't remember how many people have told me that. But I do remember the people who said, you know, how did you do those aerial shots in the Battle of the Bastards? I heard you did something with cables. And I mean, I would love to just like if you have five minutes to chat about, like how that all worked? And like, what did you Where did you even start sort of thinking about that? You remember the person that you had a little conversation about something that they were actually interested in? Something that you actually do? You know, so you can like pull the work that you do out of the big thing that is this culturally significant sort of show

Alex Ferrari 1:28:38
When it'd be funny is like now I'm going to tell everybody if you want to meet if you see Steven anywhere, just ask him what's workflows? The workflow? Like? What was the what was the post workflow? What was the post workflow? Like on on Game of Thrones, like, how did you get from the camera to if someone walked up to you? And I promise you no one you won't forget that guy. Or gal?

Stephen Beres 1:28:58
What's your favorite builder smoke? Like,

Alex Ferrari 1:29:01
What? Did you work on the Montage?

Stephen Beres 1:29:07
Like, it's yeah, that's that person. That's yeah. And that's the thing. It's like, just make one connection. A real thing. That's not just like, Hi, I'm Jim. I just got out of film school, and I want to be a camera man. Like, that's awesome. Jim, like, like, good luck, like, go shoot a bunch of stuff and put it on your Instagram and make sure that you know, you're taking photos and you're showing people what you can do with a camera. And that's kind of all the advice I can give you, you know, I'm probably not going to reach out if I if I need a camera person. You know, we wouldn't but you know, like you said, you know, if it's Sunday night and you're you've got that shoot Monday morning or like at this point, we just need a warm body. That's not weird.

Alex Ferrari 1:29:41
You know, that weird part is so important. And people don't underestimate like, can I sit on a room with this person for 12 hours and I killed them? Can I be on set with that person? That's so valuable talent is talent and experiences experience, but at a certain point. I will I will take the guy who's a little less experienced, or the guy who's doesn't who hasn't done it as much for someone who's a pro and a complete ass?

Stephen Beres 1:30:07
Yeah. Oh, for sure. And that's the thing. It's like, you got to realize, like, you know, it's the mob, right? You're with your crew more than you're with your family. And so if you hate the people that you work with, why would you ever you get to choose them, you know, you're gonna take someone who maybe is a little greener, that just needs a little bit of help every once in a while. But you know what, they're always there. They're always cool. And not just like, well, they got there and sat in their car for three hours before call time, like some kind of a psychopath, like something. And they're, they're there and they don't have to read your mind. So many people are, like, anticipate everything that could possibly happen on set and have it ready. And like, I don't need you to have friggin clothespins clipped all over your body, you know, like, I don't really need them that often. You know, it's just like, just come in, be willing to like, a solve a problem. Like, you know, if you think that you might have something that might solve the problem that we're in right now. Like, don't go up to the director and be like, I think if we relate it like this, it'll work like no, but like, talk to your department head say, hey, you know what, you know, we've been playing with this, like, I think if you maybe do join it, it's just an idea. Like, we want to give it a try, like we can, you know, I'll help you out there or something like, again, if you're cool. And you know, you sort of reach the place that you are just be you know

Alex Ferrari 1:31:17
Just be just be I always the biggest advice I always got from people like, what's the biggest advice you can give someone coming into the business? I'm like, don't be a dick. Don't be a dick. That's huge advice to you. And it's too small of a businessman. Look, you and I, we just met and we know probably a dozen people. Yeah, in common, if not more, Oh, absolutely. If not more, and we've never met, and if I screwed somebody over somewhere, or I was addicted somebody along the way, if Michael, if I would have screwed up, Michael back in the day, I'm like, stormed out and made a scene you might have seen me walking out like Who the hell's that? I'll never forget, what's that guy's last name Ferrari. I'll never forget that guy for that room. And then years later, we come to bite me up. It's just it's too small of a businessman. It's a very, it's such a small business. It's such a small business, and I'm alright, what is the lesson that took you the longest to learn whether in the film business or in life?

Stephen Beres 1:32:16
Well, I think just generally, like, just don't take it. So personally, don't invest so deeply in being upset with whatever it is right? Like, yeah, go, you know, if so many God, I love to stew on something like somebody does something. And I work in a very large, multi billion dollar, you know, media conglomerate, so there's always some guy trying to do something that's gonna, you know, I want more territory from our department or whatever else, you know,

Alex Ferrari 1:32:43
It's the office, it's the office. It's like pirates, but the office

Stephen Beres 1:32:46
It's like, exactly right. You know, and it's just sort of like, the sooner you realize, like, just let it go, man, you know, what, don't do want it. And I still I don't know that I've learned that lesson. Alex. Honestly, I think that's something I'm still trying to learn. It's like, you know, what, the amount of sleep that I leave that I lose over like, you know, somebody's trying to like, you, what do you do that, you know, it's not worth it. It's never worth it. You know, I think the you know, the easiest thing to be is just sort of like, you know, what, my fault moving on, you know, like, let's just, you know, what I don't want to argue about this is it's my fault. Okay, fine. Let's go. Let's keep going. Let's get through this. Let's get to the next thing.

Alex Ferrari 1:33:22
Will it matter in five years?

Stephen Beres 1:33:24
Yeah. Will it matter in five minutes?

Alex Ferrari 1:33:27
It's like does it will it matter in five years, just you gotta eat let it process it, let it go through you and just let it go? Because if not, you're gonna trust me. I was an angry and bitter filmmaker for quite some time. It's so

Stephen Beres 1:33:43
It's like the natural state

Alex Ferrari 1:33:45
Of the of the creature of the creature that is the filmmakers like the angry and bitter family member like how dare they talk about things that like I Why haven't they seen my genius yet? This is conversations

Stephen Beres 1:33:55
Online reviews don't it's the same thing that's an approach you can take to the entire l all of life.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:01
Don't don't get read the Ridley Scott has never read one review of his movies. And all he does is just pop out movies left and frickin right. He's like at NBC. And then he's led two or three years old. It's insane. And last questions

Stephen Beres 1:34:15
He does not give a shit. He does not give a shit about you. You know what your review that you're writing about really

Alex Ferrari 1:34:19
He didn't give a shit about you. He did not give a crap when he was 40 Do you think he gives a crap when he's 82? That's exactly right. He's every minute that passes. Every one of those filmmakers are getting a minute older and giving less of a shit about what you think.

Stephen Beres 1:34:36
Right? We should all live that way.

Alex Ferrari 1:34:38
Unfortunately, you don't have to wait till you're 80 to do it. But like I like to tell you and you as well. I am I give a lot less crap about stuff that I did when I was in my 20s

Stephen Beres 1:34:49
Yeah, it all doesn't it all doesn't matter as much as you think the great film on that topic film called brick from the 1990s. Yes, murder like a new artist.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:00
Oh God, who's the guy who did? Oh, God. Last yay. Right Ryan Johnson?

Stephen Beres 1:35:06
Ryan Johnson Yes, of course. Yeah. So and so you look at that movie. And it really is about like, these are high school kids. And admittedly something sort of dire happens. But it's like, what if the one thing that happened in your high school was the biggest thing that ever happened in the entire world, and that's sort of like the thesis of that film. And I think it's just so great, because everybody is so invested at this being like, you know, just this amazingly, life changing sort of level setting, sort of, and it's just, I think it's good. It's like, well, in our own, like, I talked to my daughter who's seven. And he talks about the things that she does in school and like, there is important to her Oh, my as the thing that I did today on a show that 9 million people are going to watch. So we get to like, her. That's her world. That's everything she knows. And so it is just important to her. And you have to sort of just take yourself out. Remember how big the planet Earth is in our galaxy. And give yourself a little perspective, every once in a while? I Oh, nothing we do matters.

Alex Ferrari 1:35:56
Nothing we do matters. And I know way more than I need to know about my daughter's social circles, and all the drama and all the drama that happens in the daily basis. The meetings that are happening, oh my god, it's Oh, God. It's just it's like he said this to me. He did this. She did that to me. Can you believe that? This is happening? I'm like, I don't, I don't. My I don't need my brain. I don't need that to fill my brain. It's kind of like my it's kind of like my wife, who will be watching a show or someone said something about Star Wars. And she's like, No, that's a Padawan. Why do I know that? This is your fault, Alex, I don't need that in my head. Why do I know?

Stephen Beres 1:36:33
I'm sure my wife feels the same way about vintage Landrover ownership. She's like, No, why do I know? I don't know. I don't even want to know that. But I do. And it makes me angry. Yeah, she knows what the people we love.

Alex Ferrari 1:36:43
She knows what a green screen is and what a bad comp is now.

Stephen Beres 1:36:48
And you're the same way, I'm sure but like, none of our family members can watch anything with us because we're just like, ooh, that's an unmotivated light. Like, oh, where's the light coming from the floor guys? Like, how did we not kind of watch the show? Shut up?

Alex Ferrari 1:37:02
Well, that is the best lit interior car in the middle of nowhere. Like where's this like coming from?

Stephen Beres 1:37:07
Where's that coming from? Bad Matt line there. Got a little bit of a power window. There's still a boy.

Alex Ferrari 1:37:13
Oh, I've seen that. I've seen that all God. I've seen that on big shows. I've seen that power window just like fly by. And I'm like, Oh, how did that? How did that pass? You see? Oh, Jesus. Stop it. I'm just trying to watch the show. And last question three of your favorite films of all time.

Stephen Beres 1:37:30
Three of my favorite films of all time. Number one favorite film is Ghostbusters. Not for the reason you think but because it's because a bunch of nerdy scientists saved the world. And I think that, you know, that, that at a time in my life where the idea of being very deeply into technology and gadgets and making things was not exactly the most popular thing is pre

Alex Ferrari 1:37:50
Big Bang, it was pre Big Bang, Big Bang Theory, no

Stephen Beres 1:37:54
Nerds were not cool. And all of a sudden you have three deeply nerdy and not for the same reason not everybody was Egon not everybody is the glasses pushing nerd. But Bill Murray deeply on popular antisocial person, you know, and you have all these amazing characters. And you know, they end up you know, saving the world. And I think that that is that was a pivotal that was a pivotal film in, you know, you know, for me, and I still watch it a lot. Oh, so much. So, you know, and so yeah, and I'll pick up non non traditional films, what dreams may come, which is a amazing film, a runway. And so I think if it was from a visual when I use the word visual language a lot because I'm an artsy studio executive that uses fluffy dumb words, but the visual language of what dreams may come it established that concept for me. That picture told such a deeply sad, such a rich, textured story by just looking at it. You could look at stills 20 stills from that movie almost pulled from anywhere, and it tells an incredible story. cinematography was beautiful acting was haunting

Alex Ferrari 1:39:05
The visual effects they won they won they won the VFX obviously

Stephen Beres 1:39:09
They did the walking through a painting the paint being

Alex Ferrari 1:39:13
Sticking onto like what do they call it when it's a little it was it was a little film too it's not a film that's like talked about a lot and it should be it's one of my favorites Robin Williams films. It's It's I mean obviously postmortem it's even more amazing to watch now and more tragic to watch a film like that. But the visuals of that film are Yeah, oh, god the story gets me it gets me every time.

Stephen Beres 1:39:37
It's an amazing story and I think you know and again I you know and of course we'll just check all the film school kid boxes of like of course Curacao, of course, all of that. I think probably probably close encounters was the me the last. You know, if I had to pick three movies that that really matter to me. Close Encounters when I watched all the time. I watched it a time in my life where it was awe inspiring and amazing. And the visual effects were incredible. But they were subtle, and it felt like this could really happen. And they blended into the story in a way where, you know, you're not even sure if it is this guy just crazy. Is this real? Is this happening? And then later in life, you know, I went to see it. And, you know, I see it all the time. And I sort of realized it's actually like a story about Richard Dreyfus losing his mind and his family, and you know, and turning away from

Alex Ferrari 1:40:29
You literally leaves his family he leaves, leaves his family

Stephen Beres 1:40:33
And that scene is tough to watch. Now, I mean, having kids obviously having a family, seeing Richard Dreyfuss, overcome by this sort of mania, this manic state where, you know, his wife and child leave in a panic because he's shoveling dirt through the window of their home, like all of this sort of stuff. It's just, it's a great film. And, and it's a perfect, you know, sort of exploration of that genre of, you know, the, you know, the the 70s 80s adventure movie, what's happening, it's, um, but then also, you know, it's funny because my wife and I went and saw a, the, the remastered version of it. It just recently, and, you know, I'd sort of said, Hey, have you you know, I didn't get to see this movie in the theaters. This is so cool. You know, that like, you know, that we get to go see it in this big I've seen several times with this remaster was fantastic. And, and I said, you know, sort of what's your, you know, what's your favorite part of close encounters? And she said, um, you know, I think that it's a you know, it's it's probably the, you know, the tentacle part the water tentacle thing, and it becomes a people's faces like, that was pretty cool. And it's, oh, well,

Alex Ferrari 1:41:40
That's the that's the Abyss

Stephen Beres 1:41:45
Had seen close encounters. He said, Oh, what's it about him? So alien? So they're communicating with people in this this thing? And they're making this mountain? And if you remember that, no, I don't think I've ever seen that. And, and it was sort of like, and I realized, like, Oh my God, you're about to see Close Encounters of the Third guy

Alex Ferrari 1:42:00
For the first time. And you're gonna see it on the big screen,

Stephen Beres 1:42:04
Like a 40 foot bed right now. Like, seriously, the hairs are standing up on my neck. Like, you're gonna see the most amazing version anybody's ever seen of this movie. That is like, absolutely transformative. And you're to see the first time and like, Oh, my God, that's gonna be so great for you. And it wasn't she loves it is an amazing an amazing movie. And it was a great screening. We had a wonderful time and and yeah, so I think that you know, anyways, those those three can't wait for the new Ghostbusters. Jason Reitman is exactly the right person. Yes, carrying on it looks good. See? So happy can't wait, you know. And so yeah, looking looking very forward to strapping on my proton pack and heading to the theater for for Ghostbusters,

Alex Ferrari 1:42:42
My friend I appreciate you coming on the show. This has been an epic conversation of geeking out. It's been it's been a lot of it has been a lot of geek if anyone's still with us. Thank you. We appreciate it. We appreciate you hanging in there. I told you at the beginning. This is what you were gonna get and you got it. So hopefully it inspired a few people to look over. If you're looking for a job I think HBO is taking people so you never know

Stephen Beres 1:43:08
They're always taking people we and that's again we want to radicalize you to the HBO way of doing we want the best people doing the best work here with us so so please, you know if if you are a if you are a filmmaker, if you are interested in getting into the industry, you know, don't don't overlook us we want the best people doing the best work

Alex Ferrari 1:43:29
And mentioned that you heard about it on the indie film hustle podcast that that's a really quick way to get the job. I'm just throwing that out there really quickly

Stephen Beres 1:43:36
Alex gets a yeah, you can use his offer code when you apply for a job,indie film hustle 21 applying for a job

Alex Ferrari 1:43:49
To get fast tracked into into a position.

Stephen Beres 1:43:53
Alright brother way I appreciate your time. Thank you. This is immensely entertaining. Super fun. I love it and happy to come back talk about anything anytime.

Alex Ferrari 1:44:02
Thank you

 

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Color Correction vs Color Grading Process for Filmmakers

color grading, color correction, post production, colorists, post supervisor

So, what is color correction and what is color grading? How do they differ? What are the best practices and tips for each? We’ll go over the different types of color correction and grading tools available to you, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each.

What Is Color Grading?

Color grading is a process of stylizing the color and tones of your footage, so that you get to see all of the creative decisions that your digital colorist has made. The colorist will use color grading software, like the industry standard Davinci Resolve, to stylize the footage, emphasizing the visual tone and atmosphere of a movie, and making it look more cinematic.

What Is Color Correction?

Color correction is a term that encompasses all the processes of correcting colors, saturation, brightness, exposure, contrast, white balance, and other visual adjustments in post-production.

A film colorist works closely with a film’s director and cinematographer to ensure that the finished film looks exactly how the director wanted it to. It’s purpose to to match real world lighting conditions and looks.

What is Color Hue?

The hue is the color itself. It is the difference between blue and red. We’ll cover saturation and brightness when we give you a few paragraphs about hue. The basic color concerns of any video image are known as “HSB”.

Sometimes a hue doesn’t have to be a primary color. A fair skin tone is a brown hue that has little saturation and a lot of brightness.

A white hue, on the other hand, is very bright and has almost no saturation. A hue can be “warm” or “cool.” Warm hues have a yellowish cast, while cool hues have a bluish cast. The difference between warm and cool hues is the color temperature of the light source used to create an image. Hue is the color itself. It is the difference between blue and red.

What is Color Temperature?

Color temperature is a measure of the physical color of a light source, measured in degrees Kelvin (K). The term is used to describe the color of incandescent lighting, fluorescent lights, and other types of lamps.”

In general, the higher the temperature of a color, the more red it will appear, while the lower the temperature, the more blue it will appear.

Color temperature is measured on a scale that ranges from 2500K to 10000K. In general, colors with a color temperature of 5000K to 6000K are considered warm and are associated with creativity and relaxation, while colors with a color temperature of 3500K or below are considered cold and are associated with being logical and efficient.

When we look at a light source, it looks like a light bulb. But the actual light bulb emits a range of colors of varying intensities. For example, a red light will appear brighter than a blue light of the same intensity.

A white light is the sum of all the colors of the spectrum, which is the light emitted by the sun. This white light is called “white” because it’s perceived as “whiter” by our eyes than a pure red or blue light of the same intensity.

What is Color Saturation?

When we talk about color saturation, we are referring to the intensity or the amount of color that exists within a given area of a digital image or graphic design. The color saturation can vary based on the level of contrast or the type of imagery used.

High saturation images often contain many different shades of gray. A high saturation image will be very bright because there is a high contrast between light and dark areas.

In general, if your scene has a high saturation, it’s a pretty good indication that it has a high contrast. If you see a very saturated image, the photo probably has a lot of detail in the shadows and highlights. The opposite of saturation is value. Value refers to the darkness or lightness of an area.

Darker values will have less light and lighter values will have more light. Contrast refers to the difference between the lightest and darkest areas. In a high contrast image, the difference between the lightest and darkest parts of the image is large.

What is Color Brightness?

Color brightness is the amount of light that is in the image. It is measured in terms of how much light is in the space of a certain color. The color of a scene is determined by the light in the scene, so brighter colors are usually from a lighter area of the scene.

As the camera records footage of the scene, it converts the light into electronic signals. These signals are translated to computer files, which are used to make digital images on a computer monitor. The images can be viewed and manipulated by the user using software.

How to Color Grade a Film Like a Pro

The tool of choice by colorists around the world is DaVinci Resolve. It is the grand daddy of color grading systems. DaVinci Resolve is a powerful non-linear color grading and editing application for macOS, Windows, and Linux. Originally developed by DaVinci Systems, it was acquired by Blackmagic Design in 2009.

Let’s go over the basics of working not only on Resolve but any major color grading systems.

Choose a Picture Profile

Your camera has pre-determined picture profiles that help you create footage that is consistent in look, like color, saturation, and tone. A picture profile is a set of parameters for your footage that sets the baseline characteristics of your video, so it is easier to make it look consistently like every other footage from that type of camera.


White Balance

Color correction is a process of defining the color of the white balance. It also involves establishing the correct level of the white balance. Defining the white color is another part of the basic color correction process.White balance is based on the Kelvin temperature scale. There are 3 types of white balance definition: Kelvin, RGB and HSL.

The Kelvin white balance definition uses the Kelvin temperature scale and is very similar to the RGB definition. The RGB white balance definition uses the red, green and blue color channels.


What are Curves?

Curves are an essential tool when it comes to color grading. They can be used for precise color correction and color grading, and they will allow you to make subtle changes to shadows, midtones, and highlights with more precision.

You can control the entire color channel shift with any movement of the drag points, and you can also zoom in and make small adjustments as needed. The change isn’t isolated; it’s dependent on the entire color channel shift. It’s a gradual change rather than a big extreme change. You can always zoom in and add another drag point.


Three-Way Corrector

The most basic and essential tool for every colorist is the three-way corrector. It’s the first and most important step in almost every edit. It allows you to easily see and correct a variety of mistakes, such as clipping, blacking out areas, and adding or removing information from the timeline.

The corrector also helps you correct any issues that crop up during the post-production process, such as color, audio levels, and exposure.


Color Qualifiers

Color qualifiers are used to improve the quality of a digital color image by automatically adjusting one or more characteristics of a digital image, such as sharpness, brightness, contrast, saturation, hue and/or gamma. This article will cover the three main areas of color qualifiers – red, blue and green – and show how each of these can be used to improve your film post production.



Adjust Your Tones

Capturing great footage means balancing the dark tones (like black levels and shadows), highlights (the brightest light), and midtones (the mid-range between black and white) in your camera. All these elements are important in determining how much light your image needs.


Scopes are Your Friend

Scopes are useful color-monitoring tools that provide extra-detailed color information. For example, the vectorscopes in color correction software measure chrominance values like hue and saturation—your reds, greens, and blues (RGB). This is especially helpful for colorists when trying to color balance natural skin tones, as this color tool measures hue levels more precisely than the human eye.There are two types of scopes: RGB and HSL. The difference between the two is that RGB scopes display only one color at a time, while HSL scopes allow you to view all three colors at once.

HSL scopes are more useful for color grading images and video, since it’s easier to see how a particular color is affecting the overall look of the picture.


The Magic of Power Windows

Power windows are a form of vignetting and are also called Color Masks. They can be used to create a very specific look or to just make a scene a little more interesting.There are different ways to apply power windows. The most obvious is to cut a hole out of the window frame in a scene that you want to be brighter than the rest of the picture. That hole can be either on the top or bottom of the window. It can be a great way to add character or depth to your images.


Color Matching

Color Match allows you to overlay a virtual color chart of your choice on top of your source footage. Simply choose your color chart and camera settings, and then turn on the Color Chart in your viewer by navigating the drop down menu on the bottom left of the window.


Using LUTs

The lookup table (LUT) is an essential tool for any colorist working on digital video. It allows them to quickly apply pre-set color settings to the footage after it has already been shot.The tools that are part of Match Color will not only give you access to presets, but they’ll help you work faster by adapting the colors to match your original reference frame.


Secondary Color Correction

Before you take the next step in editing your images, it’s important to do a quick color correction. This step will give you a starting point from which to make your edits.

After the color correction, you should use a secondary correction to remove any areas that are too bright, too dark, or out of place.


Final Changes

The final step of the color grading process is to make any final color adjustments to the video, including making changes to the brightness and hue of the picture.You can do this using additive color options, which gives you greater control over the color of the final image.

In conclusion, Color Correction is basically the process of making adjustments to color balance, contrast, exposure and tinting on images from video footage to produce the best-possible look for the finished product.

Color Grading, on the other hand, involves using a combination of color grading software, along with a variety of tools, including the use of various filters, adjustment layers, and effects to create a more specific look for the finished product. T

his article covers the basics of the two processes and helps filmmakers understand the differences between the two and when one might be used instead of the other.

What is VFX? Ultimate Beginner’s Guide: Definitions & Examples

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In Hollywood movies, visual effects (or “VFX” for short) are a huge part of the storytelling. A lot of the time, it doesn’t matter how well written the script is, if the special effects are not convincing enough, the audience won’t believe it.

There’s even a special Oscar® category just for them. But what about those visual effects shots—how do they work?

If you’re a fan of movies, chances are you’ve seen some really awesome visual effects. These are the special effects and computer-generated imagery that make movies like Star Wars, Avatar, and Titanic so great. Now, there’s a whole new wave of tools that allow for even more exciting and engaging storytelling.

As we all know, VFX is an expensive process and takes years to create. It’s also incredibly hard work. There are over a thousand different VFX artists and engineers working on each Hollywood blockbuster movie.

VFX (Visual Effects) 101

Visual effects are an essential element in movie production, especially Hollywood blockbusters. They  are a key part of today’s films, whether it’s for a Hollywood blockbuster or a television series.

They can give viewers a better understanding of the story being told and allow filmmakers to add a sense of scale to the experience. Visual effects are a key part of today’s films, whether it’s for a Hollywood blockbuster or a television series.

While visual effects have been used in film since its inception, the recent explosion in popularity and development of computer-generated imagery (CGI) has revolutionized how visual effects are created.

As a result, many visual effects artists now specialize in creating visual effects using CGI rather than traditional techniques such as stop motion, puppetry, claymation, etc.

The most common use of visual effects is in the creation of special effects such as explosions, fire, creature creation and the destruction of objects to name a few. If the director can think it up in his or her mind, VFX artists can bring it into reality.

History of Visual Effects in movies

The history of visual effects in film can be traced back to a French inventor named Louis Le Prince. His invention, an automated stage for motion pictures, was the first ever movie camera.

In 1902, Georges Méliès, a French inventor, began the first known use of stop-motion animation. In 1908, he introduced the first known use of a “double exposure” technique in film. In 1927, the process was further refined with the introduction of the first practical optical printer, which allowed for the creation of three-dimensional images.

The 1930s saw the introduction of a new technology, optical compositing, which allowed for the production of the illusion of depth in a two-dimensional image.

This became the standard for all visual effects in Hollywood films until the 1950s, when computer technology made it possible to create special effects that were previously impossible or impractical.

By the 1960s, these techniques became commonplace, and visual effects began to play a major role in the production of feature films. The 1970s ushered in a new era of visual effects. The advent of digital technology allowed for the creation of more realistic special effects.

This led to the development of computer graphics, or CGI, which is now a significant part of the visual effects industry. The 1980s brought with it another technological revolution: the introduction of the digital camera.

This gave rise to an entirely new genre of visual effects, known as “digital compositing,” which combined digital image manipulation with traditional visual effects. In the 1990s, the “look” of visual effects was greatly refined through the use of digital technology.

This resulted in the development of photorealistic visual effects (or PFX) which, in turn, inspired a new generation of visual effects artists. The new wave of visual effects artists came from backgrounds in film, animation, television, video games, and digital media.

The 2000s have seen a new round of technological advances. Digital photography has advanced to the point that real-time digital compositing is possible, making it possible to integrate live-action footage into CG-generated images.

What is a VFX Pipeline?

The VFX pipeline involves every stage of a movie’s production and post-production. Let’s go down the rabbit-hole as we explain the steps of the VFX pipeline in more detail.

Storyboarding and Animatics

Storyboarding and Animatics in movies is a process where the script is broken down into individual scenes and each scene is then animated. This process allows vfx artsits and animators to see how each element of the scene will look and move onscreen, before all of it is assembled and put together in the final cut of the movie.

The same method can be used to help you visualize the various sections of your content.

What is Pre-Vis?

Pre-vis is a process where visual artists will begin to draw out storyboards of scenes before a movie is even shot. This serves to help directors visualize what they want to achieve visually.

This process helps the director stay focused on the overall story while giving him or her a chance to refine it. Pre-vis is a very important step because it allows the director to see what the finished movie is going to look like before they shoot the actual movie.

This helps the director keep his or her eye on the big picture while the visual artist keeps his or her eye on the details.

Film director Alfred Hitchcock famously loved to storyboard ever single frame of his films. He has so much confidence in the pre-vis process that he rarely ever looked through the camera, he would just have his cinematographer follow his storyboards to frame the scenes.

Concept and Design Process

Concept art and design are two different aspects of the process, and sometimes they’re used interchangeably. When we think about concept art, we imagine images from movies, video games, or comics.

In fact, a concept art piece can be something as simple as a sketch on a napkin, to an elaborate rendering on paper or canvas. While concept art is typically not directly tied to the final design, it’s a crucial component of the entire creative process.

The movie director or designer may use a concept artist to help guide them in their artistic vision. The designer’s job is to bring those images to life. This is an important stage of the process because it often takes a few iterations to get to the final design.

Ralph McQuarrie was a famous concept artist for the Star Wars franchise who created a number of highly-recognized concept images, including the Death Star, Yoda’s home, and Darth Vader’s helmet.

His style can be seen in many of the most recognizable images of the original Star Wars trilogy. In addition, his work can be found throughout Disney history as well, including a lot of concept art from the Indiana Jones and James Bond films.

What the Heck is Matchmove and Camera Tracking?

Matchmove is an important tool in the VFX artists toolkit. While it was initially designed to match the movements of actors against a green screen background, its use has expanded greatly and can be used to create all sorts of amazing effects in post-production.

Matchmove is a software tool that matches the movements of an actor with a background image. It’s most commonly used for green screen effects, but it can be used in many other ways.

Matchmove works by using the information from a green screen tracking camera and combining it with the image from the source footage (usually a video or photo). The software will try to figure out where the actor is in relation to the background and create a composite image with their movements.

As for Camera Tracking, it’s a process of creating a virtual camera that follows a real camera around while capturing video or photographs. It’s often used to create the effect where the camera is actually moving inside a scene.

Layout and Production Design

One of the key aspects of film production is the art of layout and production design. With such a large amount of information being presented to the audience, the director, editor, producers and other staff must ensure that all elements are aligned and fit together in a way that is pleasing to the eye.

The process begins with the production design of the overall look and feel of the movie, which should be inspired by the director’s vision. After the design is completed, it’s time to lay out the script and the scene in terms of visual elements: camera angles, lighting, set dressing, etc.

The layout stage continues with the development of each shot, including editing, color correction, compositing, and any special effects required for the film.

What is Asset Creation and Modeling?

“Modeling” refers to the creation of a digital version of your real-world object that will be used to replace that object in the final product. The digital version of the object needs to be very realistic and detailed.

For example, if you’re creating a car in a movie and you need to model the body of the car in order to replace the real-world body in the final product, the body of the car needs to be 100% accurate. The same applies to modeling any other physical object in the movie.

If you’re making a video game or animated movie, the more accurate your models are, the better the final product will look. In addition to modeling, you also need to create digital versions of all the elements that go into your real-world objects.

For example, you need to create digital versions of the wheels, tires, lights, engine, etc. These items are called “assets” and they need to be created with the same level of detail as your models. You can have assets of any type: 2D images, 3D models, textures, sounds, animations, etc.

In the film industry, R&D refers to the process of development and production of visual effects and motion picture animation. Most often used in the context of feature films, the term “visual effects” includes the processes of creating the final composite of a set piece such as the background or foreground of a shot, the 3D models and animation for a set, matte paintings, special effects, optical effects, and more.

Motion picture animation involves creating the visual effects and motion for a motion picture.

R&D is not restricted to film; it can also include computer animation. The process of motion picture animation begins with a storyboard. Storyboards are the preliminary drawings that visualize a scene from start to finish, showing all of the actions and camera angles for a sequence of scenes.

The storyboard is then used as a guide for the design and creation of a three-dimensional model or animated figure. A director, producer, and other members of the creative team use these tools to come up with the visual style and theme of a motion picture.

A common problem in visual effects is called “rigging”. A “rig” is a complicated device that controls, moves, rotates, or otherwise manipulates a character or object in the virtual world of a movie, video game, etc.

This is usually done using a computer program. To the untrained eye, the end result might look as though it was created by magic. However, many animators and artists spend weeks, months, or even years learning how to rig a character or object.

So why does a rigger do what they do? If you have ever watched a movie where there are visual effects and you noticed how unrealistic something looked, that’s because it was rigged.

When a character walks, you notice how their legs are moving in a way that doesn’t make sense, but a rigging expert can do that for you.

What is Animation?

When we animate things in movies, it’s usually a sign of something special going on in the movie. For example, when someone flies off the roof of a building and falls to his death, that’s a pretty dramatic moment.

If you think about it, when a character flies off the roof of a building and falls to his or her death, it’s actually quite realistic because we don’t see it very often. And yet when it happens, it’s an incredibly dramatic moment and makes people stop and watch.

It’s similar to how many of us are affected by a sudden burst of laughter or a funny story. It’s an instant response that draws us in.

That’s what animation is all about: drawing us into your story. We’re interested in how a character responds to something, and it’s fun to see how things develop. Animation is the art of drawing pictures to make a story happen. It’s not limited to movies or TV shows, but it’s probably the most well-known form of animation.

It’s also one of the oldest forms of animation. It’s been around for more than 100 years. In the 1920s, animation was very different than it is today. There were no computers, no special effects, and no special characters. In fact, when animation began, it was pretty crude.

It looked like this: Nowadays, we can do so much more with animation. We can have special effects, 3D environments, and animated characters.

FX and Simulation

What’s the difference between simulation and FX? While both are used to create the look of the movie world, they are slightly different in how they are used. FX is used to create a realistic look to the scenes.

You see, the things that you see on film, such as explosions, fires, etc., were all simulated, which means they were created digitally in the computer. Simulation, on the other hand, can be used to create almost anything.

It can be used to create an environment, a landscape, or even an object. If you have ever seen the movie Avatar, you know exactly what I’m talking about. The movie’s environment was simulated because it was so realistic that it was actually real.

There are so many uses for FX and simulation, but one of the main ones is to create the look of a scene. You’ll see movies like Avatar where the environment is completely simulated and you never question the reality of world of Pandora.

Lighting and Rendering a Scene

You’ve heard of lighting, right? The “flickering light bulbs” on the ceiling in your living room? Well, lighting is the light source in a shot. And when you add a light source to a shot, you need to render the scene.

Rendering is the process of taking images and objects from a computer screen into the 3D space of a virtual reality world. Lighting and rendering in visual effects are used to make objects look more realistic.

Lighting and rendering in visual effects are also used to add depth to images and create special effects such as glowing faces and eyes.

The first step is lighting. If you don’t have an accurate model of the environment, it’s impossible to render a realistic image.

The second is rendering, which involves applying shadows, colors, and textures. In the third step, the rendered image is sent back to the camera and then put into the scene for the final product.

So how do they get that? They use software called RenderMan. RenderMan is a collection of programs that allow artists to create a digital model of a scene, then tweak the model with lighting and other effects, and render that into a movie file.

Digital Compositing: The Unsung Heroes of VFX

Digital compositing is a process used in visual effects for special effects in movies. It is often seen in scenes where there is some action or special effects happening.

This is done by combining various images together in a seamless way. A lot of work has gone into making these seamless transitions. The key is to make sure the images are aligned properly and also making sure that they don’t move, which can be tricky at times.

Compositing involves using software and hardware to combine images together.

It can be done manually or with automation. The software is used to blend two images together to make them look as if they were one. The hardware is the part that actually makes the image transition possible.

This hardware can include a green screen or a studio backdrop. This allows the image to be blended seamlessly. This is usually done with an array of lights that are used to project light onto the backdrop.

This makes it easier for the software to blend the image together and make it seamless. There are many different ways to composite images together.

Green Screen vs Blue Screen?

Green screen refers to the part of a movie set where a background is used, usually for visual effects. In live-action movies, the green screen background is often painted on a special stage, while in animation, computer graphics or 3D movies, the image can be projected onto a blue screen.

Blue screen refers to the black backdrop that is used to hide anything that would be distracting, such as people, lights, or other objects. It’s used in both live-action and animated movies, but its function is much more important in live action.

The blue screen can be built into a set or used as a portable screen that fits over existing sets or actors’ faces.

Down the Rabbit Hole

I hope you have enjoyed your journey down the rabbit hole of visual effects. In conclusion, for VFX movies, the entire look of the movie is created using computers. Special effects are used to create a virtual image of what is happening in a scene in a movie.

The goal is to create a new image that was not possible before the development of VFX techniques/ When a filmmaker makes a movie, they have to tell a story in a limited amount of time.

It’s not always possible for a director or cinematographer to tell a story without using some sort of visual effects. VFX can include things like creating a new setting, changing an object, or removing something.

Up next: What is Rotoscoping Animation?

What is CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery)? Definitions & Examples

It’s a technology that involves the creation of realistic-looking images, which are usually for movies, television or other forms of visual media. If you’ve ever watched a movie, then you’ve probably seen computer animation. It’s the process that creates animated images. Static images are also created using this method. Computer animation only refers to moving images.

It is also used in computer games and virtual reality. While the term “virtual reality” has been around for decades, it is only recently that it has started to gain traction in mainstream culture. So what does CGI stand for?

What is CGI technology?

The year CGI (computer generated imagery) was invented is difficult to pinpoint because of the evolution of computer graphics. It was most likely around the 1960s when various inventors and companies played with the new and evolving world of computer animation.

Most of this was 2D in scope, but all of it was being used in disciplines ranging from science to engineering and medicine. As CGI technology evolved, so did the ways filmmakers sought to use it in their films. This includes 3D models of people, monsters, buildings, cars, explosions, and so much more.

The best way to describe CGI is as an industry of visual effects (VE) and visual effects artists. This means the people and companies that create VFX work for film and television, and it includes not only the big names but smaller studios and individuals who specialize in one type of VFX. CGI can be seen in movies like, Avatar, Star Wars: A New Hope, and Avengers: End Game. It can also be used to fill in details in environments and create realistic scenarios.

For example, CGI can be used to show a car getting blown up by an explosion. CGI is one of the best methods to create realistic looking images. If a lot of the images look believable, it is because the creators used good CGI techniques.

This includes using high-quality software, and choosing models that are similar to the objects they are representing. CGI is a big part of the industry today, and the more it is used, the more demand there will be for those who use it. As this industry continues to grow, so does the need for new jobs. A number of VFX companies have started hiring for their own projects and for freelance jobs.

Some VFX companies are very large, and others are small. The size of the company is important, because it determines the number of VFX artists they employ. There are many ways to get into the business. For example, you can become a student, work for another company, or start your own. The most popular way is to find work as a freelancer. The internet is a great place to find work.

Companies and individuals can hire you directly. However, it is also possible to find freelance work on sites like Upwork.com. When working for other companies, you must be careful to keep all of the details about the project and client confidential. It is best to create an account on Upwork that only lists your name, email address, and website. When searching for work, it is important to have a portfolio that shows off your work.

This will help the artists get more work. You can show a lot of examples of your work, but make sure to include more than just your best work. In fact, it is best to include examples from your entire career. Another thing to remember when searching for work is to keep your portfolio up-to-date. This will help you stay in touch with what is going on in the industry.

What is CGI Animation?

As we all know, computer graphics have come a long way in the last decade. Today, you can find 3D CGI animations, which are just as realistic and engaging as traditional 2D animated films. Even though these productions are more expensive to make, they can compete with even the highest-grossing animated films of the last twenty years.

And while it’s not as fun as being able to see the actors moving, the audience can still enjoy these productions. Animation is the most exciting development in the movie industry right now, as it’s moving away from 2D (traditional animation) and 3D (imported), to using advanced computer animation and artificial intelligence.

How does CGI work?   When you watch a CGI film, you are seeing the final product that has been rendered by a computer. The computer takes the original 2D drawing, and then manipulates the image into 3D form.

It uses software to create a virtual camera, which looks at the model and creates a digital representation of it on the screen. Then, the computer can manipulate the images and animations in the model to make them look like they are moving in real life.

For example, if the model is a person walking, the computer will manipulate the head, legs, arms, and body to make it appear as though the person is walking. This is how CGI works. What are the benefits of CGI animation?

The biggest benefit of CGI animation is that it’s very cost-effective. When you see an animated film, you know that the people who created it made thousands of drawings before creating the final film.

Pixar Animation and Toy Story

There’s no cinematic style that has embraced this new technology more than fully animated CGI movies. Stop motion animation has been a popular style for years, even while many movies were still hand-drawn. It was the closest filmmaking got to true three-dimensional animation, but it takes a lot of work and it takes time.

The computer graphics used in movies today are completely new, far more advanced than what was available ten years ago, and the tools that make these advancements possible can be used by anyone to make their own movies. Pixar were among the first to experiment with fully computer generated animation, and Toy Story (1995), which became known as the first CGI movie.

It’s not quite accurate to say that it is fully computer animated. It was a combination of hand-drawn and computer animation. In the film, there were a number of scenes where the characters were fully animated by a computer, but other parts of the movie were drawn on paper and then scanned into the computer, and then modified in the computer.

The scene where Buzz Lightyear is launched into space was done entirely by computer. There were also a number of effects that were created entirely in the computer, like the fireworks. But the main animation was all done on paper.

It’s difficult to overstate how much has changed since the release of Toy Story. It’s not just that we’ve gone from hand-drawn to fully computer generated animation. In the last decade, computers have become incredibly powerful.

They have become fast enough to render the images needed for animation, and they have become inexpensive enough that many people can afford to buy one. That means it is now possible for anyone to make their own movies. All it takes is a computer and a few hours of time. And the tools to make movies are easy to use.

The movie was critically acclaimed and a financial hit. It is known as one of the best animated movies of all time and inspired beloved sequels.

Other studios decided to try their hand at CGI animation, like Dreamworks, who first put out Antz (1998) with positive results. However, if any movie put them on the map for good, it was Shrek (2001), which was a massive success and has a major influence on children’s animation.

With the rise of CGI, more kids were interested in watching cartoons, and since the 90s, there was also a new generation of computer games that made it easy to create 3D graphics. This lead to many popular franchises coming to life, like The Incredibles, Ice Age, and most recently, Toy Story sequels.

The 80s and 90s also saw the rise of 3D technology, which allowed us to see things in a new way. Today, we live in a world where people are constantly being exposed to visuals in all forms of media, from film to video games and even our social lives.

We have access to a wealth of information at the touch of a button, and this has lead to an increased interest in learning.

Children’s television is now used as a teaching tool for everything from reading to math. Even though there are other types of media, like movies, that can also be educational, children’s television has an advantage because it’s usually tailored specifically to children.

How to Create Realistic CGI in Movies

In order to make the image appear realistic, it is necessary to make it a photo- realistic image. The final image is created by the artist using the computer’s drawing and painting tools to create a virtual camera, background, foreground, etc. A number of elements are added to the virtual world that make up the image, such as buildings, people, vehicles and so on. The virtual world is rendered by the artist in order to make it look real.

Depending on the complexity of the image, this process can take a long while. In some cases, the process is done by other artists in another location. The basic idea for an animated image will be the same as for a static image. The same techniques may be used for the static image as they are for the static image. There are some differences in the way the images are animated.

In order to animate an image, a number of different elements must be created and added to the image. These include:

  • A camera
  • A background
  • An object (such as a car)
  • A character (such as a person or animal)

There is a wide variety of techniques that can be used to create the virtual world and the elements that are part of the image. Some of these techniques have been mentioned earlier. In this section, we will discuss more specific techniques that can be used to create animated images.

Camera animation The camera is an important element of any animation. If the camera is not realistic enough, it will look like it is moving around the scene instead of being stationary. If it moves too quickly, it will appear as if the image is moving and not static. There are a number of different ways to move a camera.

For example, you can use a panning method. In this technique, the camera moves in a straight line from one side of the image to the other. This method is used to create the impression that the camera is moving through the scene.

Another method is called dolly-pan. This technique involves the camera moving back and forth on a track. This creates the illusion of the camera moving closer or further away from the subject.

Camera animation is used for the majority of animated images. Camera animation is used for the majority of animated images. The main advantage of camera animation is that it is simple to do.

Camera animation is used for creating the basic impression of movement in an image. It is used for the most important part of the image. It is the first thing that people see and it must appear realistic.

When the camera animation is done correctly, it gives the viewer the impression that the image is moving. Background animation A background can be used to create the impression that there are people or objects moving around the image. The background can be animated using either a flat animation or a 3D animation.

Flat animations can be created using a photo-realistic image or a cartoon-like image. 3D animations are used for creating a more realistic image. In this type of animation, the background is animated using a 3D modeling program. It is possible to create a realistic background using this method. For example, you can make a model of a building and place it in the virtual world.

You can then move the model around and add elements to it to create the impression that there is an object in the scene. You can also use a 3D modeling program to create characters.

The program will automatically render the 3D model of the character. This creates the impression that there are objects moving in the scene. Background animation is used to create the impression that there are people or objects moving around the image. Background animation is used to create the impression that there are people or objects moving around the image.

A background can also be animated using a flat animation or a 3D animation. If you are creating a cartoon-like image, you can use a flat animation.

In this case, you can animate objects that are not part of the main character. You can also create a flat animation of the background. For example, you can make a photo-realistic background and then animate it using the 3D modeling program.

Object animation The camera is only one of the elements in the image. There are a number of other elements that must be animated in order for the image to appear realistic.

Some of these elements include:

  • Background objects
  • People
  • Characters
  • Animals
  • Creatures
  • Vehicles
  • Object animation is used to animate the background
  • Foreground and the objects in the scene

Object animation is used to animate the background, the foreground and the objects in the scene. It is possible to create objects using a variety of different methods.

The Future of CGI

There are still innovations to be made, and Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic are at the head of this innovation with a technology called StageCraft. It’s used on the hit Disney+ show The Mandalorian.

It’s an immersive, interactive experience that’s more than just a way for people to watch TV. “This is a brand new approach to storytelling,” says executive producer Dave Filoni. “This isn’t just about taking something and putting it in front of you.

StageCraft brings together the most powerful of computer and video technology. It’s an outstanding product that incorporates several well-known companies: Epic Games, whose Unreal Engine has been behind the VFX for other productions over the last few years; (and video games, of course).

The system is built to handle any size of project. But it’s designed to make the most of the power of your computer. It offers a full range of tools to help you create your project, from compositing to rigging to animation. The system comes in two versions: a PC-based version, and a Mac-based version.

Inside the Mandalorean

We’re creating a world that is so real, you can almost feel it.” Filoni is talking about the Mandalorian’s opening scene, which takes place in a space port on the planet Jakku. He’s describing what StageCraft allows his team to do: to create an entire living, breathing universe with a believable cast of characters.

“Imagine being able to step inside that world and have a conversation with one of those characters,” says Filoni. “You could even go inside their mind. You could even go into the cockpit and feel what it was like to be there.

“That’s a level of immersion you’ve never seen before.” This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

The Mandalorian isn’t the only show using StageCraft. It’s also been used for Star Wars Rebels, and it’s been used for the new Netflix show Lost in Space. And if you want to see how StageCraft works, I suggest watching The Mandalorian. It’s the best introduction to the technology. StageCraft is a platform developed by ILM and Disney Research.

It’s a software-based tool that allows for a much more immersive experience than just sitting in front of a TV screen. Imagine that you’re inside a building. There’s a set that you can walk around, a costume that you can wear, and a character that you can interact with. It sounds amazing, but there are some challenges.

“We have to make sure that there’s enough space to move,” says Filoni. “We have to make sure there’s enough light to be able to see the environment. We have to make sure that it feels believable.” There’s another challenge too.

When you’re using StageCraft, you’re not just walking through a set. You’re interacting with it. That means that if something goes wrong, you’re in the middle of the scene, and you might not be able to get out.

This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

“You’ll see a lot of people have this fear of it because it’s such a new thing,” says Filoni. “But once you actually do it, you realize that the danger is minimal.” The fear that many have had about StageCraft is based on the fact that it hasn’t been used before. “It’s a new technology. It’s never been used before,” says Filoni.

“We’re trying to build a system that’s safe. We’re trying to make sure that when people do it, they’re going to have a good experience.”

A big part of that is making sure that people know what’s going on. The creators of The Mandalorian and Lost in Space wanted to make sure that people knew that they were walking around in a set. “It’s a little bit like walking into a movie theater,” says Filoni.

“When you walk into the theater, you know that you’re walking into a set. You don’t have to worry about being in a real environment. You know that you’re going to be safe.

Stagecraft isn’t quite ready for prime time yet, but there are already some impressive results. And since StageCraft is a technology that Lucasfilm has access to, it’s safe to say that it will find its way into other projects at some point, if not in the next few months, then in the coming months and years. The new Disney+ Show The Book of Boba Fett will take the technology to the next level.

Down the VFX Rabbit-Hole

We’ve covered the basics of computer-generated imagery, but now it’s time to go down the rabbit-hole and see how it’s used in a number of different types of visual effects in movies. Up next what is VFX?

What is Rotoscope Animation? (Definition and Examples)

Rotoscoping, What is Rotoscoping, A Scanner Darkly, A Waking Life

Rotoscope is the term used to describe a type of animation process, which involves tracing over a still photo or moving footage. It’s an old technique that has come back into vogue in the past few years, with animators turning to it for a variety of reasons, including to speed up the production process.

A rotoscoped shot is a special effect that uses an animated version of a photograph or video, instead of using actors and live-action footage.

What is Rotoscoping?

Rotoscoping is an old-school process used to create animation from live action footage. The technique involves drawing over the live-action footage with a series of still images, which are then placed onto a background track of movement to form a finished animated scene. Rotoscoping is most commonly associated with the early silent film era, when artists would work by hand, creating scenes that were later composited together.

A digital copy of the main actor’s face is created by using a computer software to duplicate the motion of the original actor’s face, which is then composited onto the original live action footage. While the process of rotoscoping requires lots of manual labor, it can be quite expensive, time consuming, and difficult to achieve a high quality result.

This is because the main actor’s face needs to be precisely duplicated on the computer, which can be difficult to accomplish even for an experienced operator.

The History of Rotoscoping

Rotoscoping in film began in the early 20th century, when the advent of cinematography created the need for a way to paint over live-action shots of actors to create a more stylized look. Rotoscoping in this case means using special equipment and a paintbrush to replace or modify specific areas of a scene. The idea behind rotoscoping was to have the artist use their creative skills to make an area of the shot look more interesting or dramatic.

A popular animation technique from the 1930s. The rotoscope technique was invented by animator Max Fleischer in 1915, and was used in his groundbreaking Out of the Inkwell animated series. It was known simply as the “Fleischer Process” on the early screen credits, and was essentially exclusive to Fleischer for several years.

Rotoscoping was a very labor intensive process, which led to it becoming a job for people with artistic skills who could not be hired as animators. In later years, rotoscoping became a much simpler process due to the introduction of computer graphics.

The live-movie reference for the character Koko was performed by his brother (Dave Fleischer) dressed in a clown costume. In other words, there is one word in each paragraph that can be swapped out with another word. The same word should be replaced in both paragraphs to preserve their meaning.

Rotoscoping is used to create the animation, which allows for the removal of the background and the placement of an actor against the original background. A projectionist is used for the project, and the tracings are then used as a guide on the animation disc to rework the roto tracings.

Hollywood Studios Take Notice

Fleischer’s patent expired by 1934, and other producers could then use rotoscoping freely. Walt Disney and his animators used the technique in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs during 1937. The only thing I love more than a great pair of shoes is a great pair of shoes that are well-loved. I’d love to see myself wearing a great pair of shoes that were well-loved. Rotoscoping was first used extensively in China’s first animated feature film, Princess Iron Fan (1941).

Most of the movies produced with it were adaptations of folk tales or poems—for example, The Night Before Christmas or The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish. It wasn’t until the early 1960s that animators started to explore very different aesthetics.

Another example is Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Animator Ub Iwerks created the bird scenes in Hitchcock’s thriller, “The Birds,” which earned him a nomination for an Academy Award. He used rotoscoping to animate the birds’ terrifying movement.

Filmmaker and animator Ralph Bakshi used rotoscoping to animate his films Wizards, The Lord of the Rings, American Pop, Fire and Ice, and Cool World. He first used the technique because he couldn’t get enough money to finish Wizards after he requested a $50,000 budget increase in finish his opus.

Next Generation Rotoscope Animation Software

During the mid-1990s, Bob Sabiston, an animator and computer scientist veteran of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, developed a computer-assisted “interpolated rotoscoping” process, which he used to make his award-winning short movie “Snack and Drink”.

Director Richard Linklater subsequently employed Sabiston and his proprietary Rotoshop software in the full-length feature movies Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. Linklater licensed the same proprietary rotoscoping process for the look of both movies and was the first filmmaker to make an entire feature film using the process.

As rotoscoping gained acceptance, Sabiston’s company, The Rotoscope, Inc., was awarded the contract to develop a commercial version of the technology.  The software was subsequently licensed to major studios such as DreamWorks and Warner Brothers, which used it in many successful animated films.

Notable Rotoscope Movies

  • Loving Vincent
  • Waking Life
  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Fantasia
  • TRON
  • Cinderella
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • A Scanner Darkly
  • The Beatles Yellow Submarine
  • Cool World
  • Sin City
  • Heavy Metal

IFH 517: Editing for Directors with Gael Chandler

Television editor and author Gael Chandler is on the hot mic today. 

Most of you may know by now that I started out in post as an editor. Anytime I have another editor on it’s like sailors recalling old battle stories, which are always very entertaining. It is a whole other world when a director says, ‘CUT!’ to the final scene and the elves of film production, EDITORS, get to work. 

While I am curious to hear Geal’s stories from behind the scenes, I would like to focus first on her new book, Editing for Directors: A Guide for Creative Collaboration which was released in August of 2021. 

This is her fifth publication which shares tools and lessons from her expert experience in film production/editing. Gael has been nominated twice for the Cable Emmy award for comedy editing and has taught editing practices and history at Loyola Marymount University and California State Universities at Long Beach, Los Angeles, and Northridge.

Editing for Directors: A Guide for Creative Collaboration focuses on how directors should be working with editors. It guides directors through postproduction, starting with planning for editing during the shoot and ending with the completion of their film. This thorough, well-illustrated book:

Describes the artistic, organizational, and technical skills editors bring to the party; with tools on what directors should look for when hiring an editor and the best ways to work with an editor; It further explains how and why directors should plan for editing before they shoot a frame. An entire chapter is devoted to relating the history of editing and cutting tools and how they have affected the language of cinema and present-day editing while defining and discussing cutting-room terms, practices, and workflows.

Gael filmography credits her editing on wonderful 90s television shows like Max Headroom, Deep Dark Secrets, A Mom for Christmas, Family Matters, and The Very Retail Christmas. Some of her other books include Film Editing: Great Cuts Every Filmmaker and Movie Lover Must Know and Cut by Cut: Editing Your Film or Video.

It’s always fun to hear unique stories from seasoned technicians and the huge technological revolution or evolution their line of work has had to face as well as their adaptation processes.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:19
I like to welcome the show. Gael Chandler. How you doing, Gael?

Gael Chandler 0:22
Good. Good to be here.

Alex Ferrari 0:24
Thank you so much for being on the show. Like we were talking about earlier, anytime I get an editor on. It's like a couple of salty dogs like sailors talking about the olden battle days in, which are always very entertaining. I'm sure you have some amazing stories of what happens when the door closes in the Edit room, which is always and we'll talk a little bit about that about the conversations that happen in there and with the producers and directors, but really wanted to focus this episode on your new book, editing for directors, and focusing on how directors should be working with editors and it's something I've been trying to teach. Every time I every time an editor walked into my suite, I tried to teach them to work with me. But before we jump in, how did you get into the business?

Gael Chandler 1:10
Um, I was a projectionist in Northern California. And I got into the AIA, and when they wouldn't let women in. And then I, it was a mixed local, which meant you could work on movies. And since it was Northern California, a lot of La films came up here. And so I started doing location work as a grip and lighting. And again, I was the only female and I was discouraged. But I did and, and I was also then at Sonoma State University taking communications courses and I took a film history course thinking that was sort of frivolous, but the teacher was fabulous. He ended up founding Tribeca, and being the director there of the festival and and I just really got it it sort of all came together. I had been a box office cashier then projectionist. And so in 79, I left for LA and and somebody said, you, you probably editing would be the right fit for you. And it was,

Alex Ferrari 2:25
yeah, editing is I fell into Editing by not wanting to be a PA. I said, Hey, that sucks. I don't want to wake up at three o'clock in the morning, I'd rather sit in an air conditioned room all day, and maybe get carpal tunnel.

Gael Chandler 2:39
Well, it was funny because one of the location guys said, Why do you want to go to LA and sit in a dark room behind a movie all day? And it wasn't good? It was? It was a fair question. But it was obviously more than that.

Alex Ferrari 2:51
And when did you start you actually started cutting on film?

Gael Chandler 2:55
Yes, 16 and 35. And then I was working at Alan Landsberg productions as an assistant editor on 16. And a we would what I had what we call the sinky pool, we just would think the dailies and then eventually you could be as assisting an editor and they went video, three quarter inch, and we were on lining on two inch. And and any rate it this these technical terms, you know, there were two processes then it's very interesting that online has gone away. And but you know, what eventually of course happened was that it was the film people were doing features the video, people were doing TV, which was what I was in, and they all came together with the digital evolution in the early 90s. And everybody finally was on we're on the same systems and and the systems could talk to film and video and that's what's evolved from there. But basically, it was a huge revolution and I I was lucky that I got in fairly early. When I got in I was I was taught the opposite way. I was taught nonlinear editing first, then online editing then film, so by the time I got to film on a flatbed, I was like, You mean to tell me you want me to take a razor blade?

Alex Ferrari 4:18
Cut this and tape it what are we the Flintstones What is this Barbera? It was completely beyond me, because they already taught me a computer which was so much quicker and online even was online. You know, we're gonna see mX 3600 or Grass Valley or a Sony, a Sony editing system. All those were so much faster. But I did get to cut the was it. That episode of Gunsmoke is it is the episode of Gunsmoke. Everyone, everyone, everyone cut on that right if that's that, that's the one thing everyone

Gael Chandler 4:52
Yeah. And and, you know, I know where my book is about is for directors and there may be some directors That all of this online and splicers and all of that, like, it's before your time and why should you be interested in really what I want to say the takeaway to people that are young, that are directing and editing from all this is that is the word change. Because I personally trained hundreds of professionals and students on digital editing equipment. And the students, you know, they kind of came of age with the computer, but that editors and assistants did not. And, and change is going to happen in your career. And it was very interesting witnessing how people reacted to it, some people were film forever, and I can't cut unless I can feel it in my hands. And that may sound crazy to somebody who's never been on film doesn't want to be on it, we'll never have to be on it. But the point here is change. You really edit and you direct the well let's just talk editing, you edit with your heart and your head. And whatever medium comes down the pike Next, you're gonna jump to that whatever new technology with cameras and all that, as Lucas said, you know, artists 50% technology, and, you know, oil painting, change things, watercolors, you know,

Alex Ferrari 6:32
chart and

Gael Chandler 6:33
technical evolution set out, and I've been talking about, you know, our, our stuff that we happen to live through, you will be living through different ones. And just and just know, you're going to have to learn new software and new words and new terms. Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 6:50
I mean, right now we're talking about things like, you know, you know, people are editing editing on Final Cut and DaVinci and premiere and those kinds of editing software's, and we're still calling it, you know, we're still looking at it from a screen perspective, meaning that it's a two dimensional seat at screen. in our lifetime, you know, there's very good possibility that there could be an editing of a holodeck scene, Ito, and it's all holograms, and there's going to be editing systems to edit that there's going to be things that are beyond our comprehension. Now that this generation who's young now like, Oh, we came up with the avatar, we came up with Final Cut, and now they're like, well, now have you used the holodeck is system, that's insane. It's gonna change, it's gonna change.

Gael Chandler 7:35
Yeah, and the tools are something you want to learn and see what they can do and see what you can do with them. But the principles of how you tell a story and reached an audience are always there. And and they're evolving to know without question,

Alex Ferrari 7:51
so in your opinion, what is the most misunderstood part of the editing process from a director and producers point of view?

Gael Chandler 8:01
Um, I think people think editors just make cuts, it's kind of like thinking a dressmaker, just make stitches, you know, you're making a whole costume, or, you know, in the terms of editing, you really are the person that is telling the story. In the end, whatever you conceived in the script, or the documentary outline, or whatever you shot on location for the documentary, or the scripted piece. Even, you know, I work primarily in sitcoms, stuff would still change in the editing room. And that's where you have to make performances work, and locations work. And as you know, you are a, you're a colorist, or Alex, or you have been and you have to balance the color, and make make the looks work. And I think the tools today, you know, allow you to do so much more. But anyway, to get back to the question, I think the conception that I think the real takeaway is that the editor is the is a storyteller as much as the person who wrote the story and scripted it.

Alex Ferrari 9:12
Yeah, and it's funny, because actors really should give bonuses to the editor at the end of the film, because it's them who cut together their performance. I've been in the Edit room where I've had to cut a performance and you're cutting the best of the best and like literally shaping someone's performance and saving them sometimes, like when they're, their performance is not that good. Maybe you cut away to something else and then come back or cut to reaction all in the in the service of the movie, but also in the service of the performance. And without the editor you know, it's just a bunch of takes and some texts are good, some takes aren't so you got a bad editor involved. They could choose the wrong takes, and make that performance horrible, and I'm sure you know, looking through all that old looking through For a Jew, there's a lot of stuff that you have to kind of cut through just find that, that one second that one frame that makes that scene work.

Gael Chandler 10:09
Yeah, and, and that's what, why my book, the publisher, actually, Michael weezy, came up with the idea to really help directors because they may be, you know, you've gone through as a director, you've gone through, maybe months, maybe years of pre production in planning, and then you've finally gotten to film your baby, and now you're trusting it to this person who you may know or may not know, and are they going to get your film the way you want it and, and make it work in areas that you may have? Know, are problematic. So as a director, you know that where you're finishing is editing. And so you really want to think about that from the beginning. And, and, and, you know, I talked a lot about how, you know, I talked about how you pick an editor, how you, you know, how you want to develop trust? And

Alex Ferrari 11:10
how do you how do you pick an editor? How's it what's a good some good points for a director to pick an editor to collaborate with?

Gael Chandler 11:18
I mean, I think I think you talked to people, you know, you obviously interview people, you, you know, look at their resume, you look at what they've done. And I mean, it's kind of it's a short term marriage, or a good affair, I always like to say, you know, you want somebody that will get your intent as a director, you want to look for that in a person. And you but you also want somebody that hopefully, you will help develop a relationship where you can hear their feedback and hear from them. This isn't working, or, I mean, directors love to be problem solvers, they love to fix performances, I mean, I've been kissed in editing rooms, because, you know, by directors, because they were like, Oh, my God, I was so worried about the scene. And we hadn't talked about it. And you know, and you love it, when you can make something work. And and you, you know, the other thing I wanted to say was, the the editor is really receiving your raw material, no matter, it's really, it's a blueprint until it gets turned into something in the editing room. And it's what the audience is going to see. They don't care if you spent 10 days working in the snow. You know, sledging through tunnels to get a shot of the shot doesn't advance the story, or say what your film is about or do something, it's not just a gorgeous shot, or, you know, or a hard, a hard earned shot, the editor is very objective. The editor is, you know, detached from the set, most of the time, and a lot enters like to go to the set, a lot of us don't, because we want to keep that objective eye. And so I would say all of that is what you're looking for an editor.

Alex Ferrari 13:09
Now, how does the director shoot for the cut?

Gael Chandler 13:14
how an editor? I mean, I've been a director. Yeah, how a director would shoot for the cut is to first of all, well, not First of all, a major thing would be to think about sound people don't think about sound. And you know, poor sound can harm you more than poor picture, really, people can't understand stuff. You know, go and listen to locations, think about how you want your movie to sound. The other things are, you know, work on screen direction, don't cross the line. Or if you do cross the line, understand what it is and why you're crossing it. Um, Maintain eye lines. If Alex is looking down while I'm talking or looking at the ceiling, the audience might think he's bored with me, or doesn't like me, or is this interested? In if we're looking right eye to eye, you know, we're connecting. We may be fighting we may be whatever. But um, you know, eye lines are very important to maintain when you're doing drama. That's an another thing that you need to think about.

Alex Ferrari 14:31
Yeah, I mean, and also just those, I think the biggest piece of advice I always give young directors is cutaways to shoot cutaways. For God's sakes, shoot cutaways just shoot like Robert Rodriguez with El Mariachi. He just shoot the dog. And anytime he got in trouble, he just cut to the dog or he cut to a turtle or we cut to a vase or, you know, obviously if you can choose cutaways that mean something even better, but just safe The shoot cutaway, a hand hands moving, you know, reactions, hair flipping, those little things are what we love as editors, because then you can really sculpt the scene. Because if you've got to stay with that performance and you have nowhere to go, I'm sure you've run into that wall, you're just like, oh god, I need just something that cutaway to

Gael Chandler 15:22
thank you for bringing that up. That's another major thing that you want to think about as a director, when you're shooting, um, you know, coverage, if you have a scene that's not working and you don't have any where to go, then you're stuck with a boring bit in a scene, unless you can cut away to something. And, you know, cutaways can be really interesting, you know, a treasure map, people want to see what, what everybody's talking about a close up of that, you know, and I always say, a close up of Meryl Streep's pace is worth 1000 lines of dialogue. Um, you know, film is a very, you know, faces say a lot. Um, but get those close ups Get, get those over the shoulders, get different angles and shots, because it gives you more options in the cutting room.

Alex Ferrari 16:14
Yeah, I was in the cutting room once. And we had the scene that it was just long. And it was like an emotional breakdown. But it was just so long. And it was we'd like this cut that like, we wanted to cut two ticks together. And we could actually like, Oh, my God, we didn't shoot any cutaways. And the camera was in the room of the Edit room, and the dog of the director was in the room. So we just put the dog on the couch, I threw a light up, I lit it, and she shot it with the camera. That was the same camera she shot the movie with. And then we literally just took the card out, inserted it I'm like, okay, we're good, though. Can you imagine that in the early days?

Gael Chandler 16:54
Well, it I was on a show where a little boy goes to a construction site with his friends and they're playing around. And they, they somehow get one of the big machines going and it's going downhill. And you know, it's very exciting and upsetting and all that. And of course, he lives and he's fine. But what and they shot like 15 angles, and this was a half hour sitcom. So this was a big scene. And it was very unusual in a single camera. So it was unusual to get that many angles. And what they didn't shoot was the boy, they didn't shoot close up of the boy. And the editor just said, You, we need this, we got to have this. And I was very lucky to work with a very famous editor who actually couldn't understand the system. So I ended up having to operate it for him and anticipate where it was going to go in this scene in many other scenes. So it really advanced my editing. But at any rate, the director said I can't do that we're off the location, we're back, you know, on the studio, and he's the director, the editors said put them in a chair. So they literally took you know, a set chair and put the kid in and raised them up and and shot him and it made all the difference in the scene.

Alex Ferrari 18:16
Yeah, it's it's, it's, it's pretty remarkable what you you can get away with today's.

Gael Chandler 18:23
Yeah, I mean, you know, puing your, your characters and people's reactions is cueing your audience on how to feel it's really important.

Alex Ferrari 18:31
Yeah, I mean, it's something as simple as a glass being put on the on the table, things like that, those little things that when you're in the heat of battle, it's hard to think about and that's something as directors, we're in the middle of, you know, 1000 things are coming at us. And we're like, Okay, everyone, stop, I need a shot of the glass. And like that's a hard like, you got to be as a director, you got to be comfortable with yourself. Like, we're getting into ot or we're about to hit lunch. I'm like, Guys, I need the glass hitting the table. And at the moment people are like this, this prima donna like, but it that one little move saves the scene.

Gael Chandler 19:09
Well, and, and you know that the B roll is is just as important. David Watkins famous and photographer who got the Academy Award for out of Africa, in his accent, and I put this in the book actually, because it always stuck with me and it never fit in any other book that I wrote. But this one it did because he he was so complimented on out of Africa because the shots of the animals and you know, they did stuff from literally from helicopters, they didn't have drones, and that's it. And, you know, they're gorgeous. And so people would come up to and say, Oh, he you know, he did such a great job and he said, that was second unit that was B roll. And then they can Oh, you know, he shot the principles he shot Redford and st you know, and so, you think about of Africa without those shots and it's a different movie. No, absolutely.

Alex Ferrari 20:03
I, I love that example that Hitchcock. I saw, I saw a documentary with him once about the editing process. And he's like, this is how powerful editing is he goes, let's say I shoot a shot of me. Then the next shot we shoot show is a baby playing. And then you see cut back to me smiling. Now, the emotion that you that the audience gets is like, Oh, isn't that cute? Now all you could do is replace them center shot instead of a baby, a beautiful woman in a bikini, a young woman in a bikini, same thing all of a sudden, oh, what a creep. That is the power of editing. And that's something directors really need to understand. If you really, I mean, you should absolutely if you're a director, study Hitchcock. I mean, it's math every one of his films. There's a masterclass in editing. But it's so so powerful a cut a shot an angle, can change the entire perception of the scene. Do you agree? Yes. And have you heard of the cooler shop? In fact? The Which one? Oh, yes. Yes. From? Oh, God. Yeah. Yeah. From the Russian from the one. That's the famous picture of the guy going crazy. Hold the frame. Yes. Right. And Hitchcock, we didn't come up with it. It was him actually, if I'm not mistaken. Yeah.

Gael Chandler 21:22
And, you know, one of the things that I did in this book is it's very practical, you know, from pre planning and direct and editing, as editors are being brought in more with pre planning, especially a pre Pro, with previous with animation editors. I really cover that what a director needs to think about from you know, pre production through archiving, you want your film to last, you want to think about archiving and more wrote, you know, how can you reach future audiences? How can you create revenue streams, even though you know, you're just lucky if you're doing a doc low budget or anything low budget, you know, you're just thinking about getting the movie may not alone archive, and but I go through that. But at any rate, one of the chapters that is one of the chapters I love the most, in the longest is, on the other side, broke up a little more, is on the history of editing. And I put that in there because I want people to understand that editing really is the language of the film, and editing you really like no other art, you see how people think and how they feel from second to second in a flash cut of three frames or a long dissolve it you play with time you play with people's emotions the way no other medium, I think really does. And so part of that chapter I I talk about the Russians, and their they had their revolution. And so all the filmmakers were tasked with, you know, teaching the proletariat what was what the rules of communism have. So they started the first film school and mascot, which still goes on to today. And they did they had short dance, they didn't have film so they they didn't couldn't do long masters like Americans could and they chopped up a Citizen Kane, they chopped up a lot of they looked at a lot. And that sense of Cain hadn't been shot and but they looked at a lot of American films. And one of them cool shot, I forget his first name. They had some leftover footage from a White Russian actor who was very well known. And he had left the country with the revolution. And so they took, I'm afraid a few, some frames of him and intercut them with a young girl picking a flower. And people thought he was smiling. And then they cut to him again. And they well, but first I cut to the girl, then they cut to him, people thought he was smiling. Then they cut to a woman in a coffin, a young child and a cough. And they then they cut to him, people thought he was sad. Then they cut to a woman on a chaise lounge and they thought he was amorous. And it was the same shot each time. And so the whole This is relates to what you said about Hitchcock, and the smiling and the creepiness it you know, is that in the Russian theory, but you can use whatever you work, you want it they juxtapose Shots, shots affect each other, and people take meaning out of shots that were shot at different times, different days, different places, etc. Humans just our brains want to do that.

Alex Ferrari 24:45
And it's so funny because sometimes I'll see a movie because there's so much content being created today. Watch a movie that's you know, off off brand, let's say it's not a big movie, you know, it's an independent or, or something along those lines and or it has to star in it and, and I watched it and and then the director and the editor make a mistake. And you see like, Oh, they cut to that and like that's not the meaning like, wait a minute that feels weird. That person shouldn't be feeling the way they are. And it's, and it's obviously a mistake. It's not like, you know, the woman shouldn't be feeling, you know, jilted, she should be fielding something else. And it was a look, it's a, it was an energy and because it were the way it was juxtaposed to what they were cutting, it just feel it just you just get taken out of the of the of the piece. It's pretty, it's pretty powerful stuff. And Hitchcock again talked about it's so so so much where he wanted to like literally play the audience's emotions on a piano, eventually, to get to that point, which he pretty closely did with his editing. But it's pretty powerful. And to go down the Hitchcock rabbit hole, just for a minute, arguably one of the greatest, most talked about scene edited scenes ever is the shower scene, they did a whole documentary, just a shot are seen. As an editor looking at that, can you kind of talk a little bit about that? So directors listening, can understand that they've never seen it? Or they've heard about or maybe they watched it, what value it would be to go back to what he did and what the editor did, in that. That what is it? forgot how many frames it is, but how many seconds is 48 seconds or 56 seconds? Or whatever it is? how powerful that was?

Gael Chandler 26:28
Yeah, I've read a lot of Hitchcock, and I admire him and a lot of ways to and I highly recommend Truffaut on Yes.

Alex Ferrari 26:36
What a great book and movie.

Gael Chandler 26:39
it you know, as a director, you know, truphone, the French loved Hitchcock and Truffaut interviewed him, and they went through every movie. And Truffaut really asked him a lot of questions. And it's really, you know, and I do quote, from Hitchcock, in the book, you know, about the birds and, and, and, and part of how we conceive the birds musically and, and, and their thoughts and now they're this and now they're that, but the shower scene, I I honestly forget now how many cuts and how short it is. But, you know, it was flash cuts and and you you saw a woman being chopped up and attacked and it was, you know, we it's stuck with everybody who's ever seen it and it still works and amuse. It's the music, the music. And he always got Bernard Herman to to compose his film. And I mean, vertigo, I talked about vertigo in the book, actually, I didn't get into psycho so much, but in vertigo, he has very, he has like, carousel music. Everything's twirling and the beginning the vertical, I put in the shots, Thurman doll is coming out of people's eyes. So everything is very circular. And it supports his, you know, the idea of vertigo. But yeah, the shaft we're seeing is we're seeing you know, Buster Keaton's train chase in general, is incredible. And, you know, but there are a lot of fantastic. I mean, I mean, the fugitive, I remember with Harrison Ford, you know, with the editors guild that we screen that that they had a screening in the 80s. And people just, this was an Indian industry audience and people just stood up and clapped.

Alex Ferrari 28:32
Right if you can break through the Indian industry audience you know, you've got something now I remember watching the fugitive as well. It's remarkable then you go by the way that just just to finish off on Hitchcock that shower scene, what's so brilliant about it for me is you never see the knife go in. You never see the knife touch her skin ever because it wasn't allowed at the time I think or something his koco was going around the the sensors but that's the brilliant part but your mind connected at all because of the cuts in the music that you were like this woman is But you just said this woman was getting chopped up. She really was. There's no there's no there's no graphic hit of it. Yes, there's blood there's flashes there's this and that the eyes and the motion, but there's no actual, you know, skin knife penetration in the scene, which is that's the brilliant part about one of the many brilliant parts about that sequence. But the one thing you were saying about action sequences is now I think sometimes you go the other direction like there was a scene and I think taken two or taken three one of those that had Liam Neeson running and no Liam is not 21 and he's running he's jumping affect offense. They counted how many cuts just from him jumping offense was like 15 cuts. And you're like you're basically cutting making you're forcing the action by the head. The Edit is kind of keeping pace because they actually see a 60 year old man, jump offense. not that exciting. But with the music and the cut, but it was just so much you just you don't let anything sit. And sometimes the most powerful cut is not cutting, is that fair?

Gael Chandler 30:18
Yes, in some times the most powerful kind of silent. Like after you've had a big action scene, it's like music, you can have staccato and go cut, cut, cut. And then, you know, let's just the obvious war is a very obvious example, after the battle, and then you just need, you know, the dead people on the battlefield or people collecting themselves, the audience to collect themselves. It's editing is very rhythmic. And I think you know, you and your editor, as a director, you want to pick somebody that that's going to go on the journey with you. Because you may have directed a lot of pictures, or you may be new. But each thing you do is, you know, is going to be new, even if it's part of a series or it's a routine show, you're going to bring what you bring to it, your eyes and your talent. And you just in editing, the app continues.

Alex Ferrari 31:16
The The one thing I've always had a problem with, with younger directors or just inexperienced directors is when they walk in the suite, they really truly don't understand the responsibilities of an editor. And a lot of times, you know, I always I always I go there, there's two camps of editors, there's creative editors who have I've dealt with, and there's online editors, and not online in the traditional sense. But the online is in like putting in the final visual effects, cleaning things up, tightening up technically getting ready for the export that stuff because a lot of creative directors I've worked with are clueless when it comes to any of that stuff. They're there just for the creative. And if you go Can you insert a vo effects like I need an assistant for that? I can't, that's not what I do. Can you talk a little bit about what the responsibility of an editor is, traditionally, and what so many editors are nowadays, like myself, when someone would come into and I would edit a feature, I would edit the feature, I will put in the visual effects, I would attempt visual effects, I would do a color grade, I would prep it for final I would prep it for a sound, I became a post supervisor at that point. Essentially, I was doing everything I was doing creative, and I was doing online. So there are those kind of hybrid versions. But traditionally, what are the responsibilities of a creative editor? Let's say?

Gael Chandler 32:36
I think traditionally, the responsibility is, as I've mentioned, to tell the story, and to see what characters work, what characters possibly need to be dropped or cut down or shifted what scenes need to be shifted? how, you know, how does the the conception hold up in the editing room and, and a lot of directors feel for the first cut, that they need to represent you the director's vision, they they you know, you need to see it the way you thought it was going to work. And then the two of you can go together and tinker with that or drastically change it or do whatever you're going to do. You know, when when editing started, in modern times of say, the 50s you were editing on film, and you had one or two tracks in one picture. Now, with with the system, you know Alex and other people, that editor work that editors work on, there are an infinite amount of tracks, you can have tracks within tracks within tracks, and not just audio tracks, but video tracks. So you can do you know very simple effects fades and dissolves and you can do green screen, you can do very complex video effects. Now those really complex ones, you're probably not going to do on the system, because they're going to take up too many system resources. And you're going to drop them in and you know, on a big Video Effects show you're going to have a video effects editor and a whole department and, you know, probably a post House of some kind behind you. So you know, in answer to your question, the editor can be simply the you know, the storyteller making things work, or they can be you know, they can be doing everything like you did Alex they can be doing all the effects, they can be doing the video, you know, all the sound they can mix right on the system. You can put in Scratch track right on the system, which is really handy when you're working along and seeing if things are working and maybe you have to add a video that you didn't anticipate or you have one and you want to see how it lays up against your picture. So there's no real answer to that any

Alex Ferrari 34:54
any more before would be just the one thing it

Gael Chandler 34:57
just depends on your budget and You know, is it a commercial? Is it a feature? Is it a doc is that you know,

Alex Ferrari 35:05
but I do think that the director should be very clear with the editor on what their capabilities are, because they might walk in thinking that they can online the whole thing. And they're like, I really can't. And the editor should be honest, too. Like, I'm a creative editor, I maybe be able to get you a little bit closer to the finish line, but I can't do everything that you need me to do. So that did both parties really need to be clear about that. Which is something early on that that wasn't even a question, who's the editor just cut and then someone else the online editor would take over and, and take it there was there was more division of duties, where now it's just all, everybody, even the director like myself, I direct and I edit. So I come in, and I'll do my own post, and I'll do my own color, and I'll own everything.

Gael Chandler 35:51
Yeah, I mean, you know, where you're starting. And that's why, you know, I wrote this book, you you want to know where you're finishing? Who's doing what? And? Yes.

Alex Ferrari 36:03
Now, can you talk a little bit about what the assemble cut is, because the difference between the assemble cut, and the my definition, at least, maybe yours is different, but the assemble cut, then there's the the first draft of the first cut, basically, the first draft cut, then the final cut, and then that's it. But the assemble, cut, my definition of the assemble, cut is always like, you literally look at the script. And whatever scene is there, you just cut it together, and you put it all there, regardless if it works or not, is that an assemble cut in your definition as well.

Gael Chandler 36:38
And not, you know, to me, a first cut is where you're putting everything together as scripted as outlined, an assembly to me is more, you're sort of putting the shots together within a scene. And it you know, it all depends on whether you're fine cutting or rough cutting, I mean, a lot of people like to know, some editors work by, you know, they sort of get things going and get things in order, and then they go back and fine tune it. And to me, that would be more of an assembly sort of know the shots you're going to use and you put them together. Others of us and I find cut from the beginning, I cannot I mean, either I can't find enough, I want my timing from the beginning. You know, you will, you will find, you know, if you're a director and you're sitting with an editor cut and you're working together, that you Your mind is always going five shots ahead and and sort of a little behind where did I come from? And where am I going? And well, if we go here, then this is going to be we're going to have to do this and if we you know, you know, it's very intense, it's it, you know, it really uses you come out and you're kind of exhausted. If you haven't been editing for a while, it's a very intense, you know, seeing what works and then and then it is like, like music you want to drop back you want to go away for an hour or a day or a night an evening and then come back and see you know, what was that thing we've got really high on yesterday that really was like the greatest thing we ever did or does that hold up overnight? It's a lot you want you want it in editing you you may there may be a lot of trial and error and and and and that's just the nature of the game.

Alex Ferrari 38:42
I think that I wanted to kind of touch on something you just said as the because sometimes in the Edit room you you are in this delusion, this 12 hour oh my god we just cut the greatest scene of all time and then you go home you sleep on it you come in, you're watching like yeah, that doesn't work what happened you really need to give yourself that pace and not only with a scene or a cut, but with the film you need to go away from it for a while because once you're in it for so long, you lose perspective and sometimes you do you need to just put it you know turn off the computer for a week walk away do something else then come back to it's got like writers, writers who are writing and writing and writing at a certain point they just got to stop when they're done. Put it away for a few weeks come back and reread it to see if it's truly the genius that they thought it was in the first place.

Gael Chandler 39:31
Yeah, you know it because I it's a great analogy because you know when I've done a lot of script writing also and you know when you write you want to get the the script the best that you can and then in the same as editing you want to get the cut as best you can. And then at a certain point you will you need feedback. I mean you are creating this for an audience and so you need to get people you know, a loyal focus group. Have some kind to come in and say, I don't get this main character or I don't like that scene or that's really hard. And and then he then you decide what you're going to do from there.

Alex Ferrari 40:13
Fair enough. Fair enough. Now, can we talk about the holy place that is the final cut or locked cut? The I call it holy, it's sacred. Because as an editor, when the cut is locked, many directors and producers think that's fluid. No, it's locked. If it's locked, that means that audio is working on it, visual effects are working on it. Score is working on it, if you change a frame, the whole thing comes crashing down, can you just talk a little bit about that?

Gael Chandler 40:48
Yeah, I know, I totally get your point, when you lock a cut, it means you're not going to change another picture frame. And so that it will not get shorter by your frame, it will not get longer by a frame, it will stay exactly the same length. And this is incredibly critical for the the sound editors. Because if you you know, on a feature, you're going to have, you know, Foley, you're going to have effects. And then you're gonna have dialogue editors, and they are all dependent on this cut. And if you change it by one frame, their timing and your sound is off, the music doesn't start right that, you know, and so then the same goes for music. So they do what's called conformed to the to the latest, the the locked cut. And that's what you mix to, you don't want to be having the bombs fall and you've taken out half a scene in oops,

Alex Ferrari 41:49
oh four frame or frame, one frame will knock the entire thing out of whack.

Gael Chandler 41:54
So it's not efficient of the studio's time, or money. And your job is going to be on the line if you if you unlock the cut, and, you know, past a, you know past time when when people are really mixing. Having said that sound editors call it becomes it becomes unlocked or it slips a little. And you kind of can get away with certain things and everyone knows it. Like if there was a cut between Alex and me. And let's say it was a dissolve. And it was 10 frames long. But let's say we want to wait it so we see more of Alex now, instead of me, there's still gonna be 10 frames, but we're gonna we can Yeah, we you can slip you can slip a little. But again, you know, if you've got something that has very precise timing, and you've got all these people that you're paying, you're going to be paying them more and it is going to take longer. If you are frame I don't want to use the word

Alex Ferrari 43:03
No, I know the word your I know exactly the word you're gonna say frame frame effing my drift here.

Gael Chandler 43:11
Yes, till the till the last minute. And you know, the truth is with today's digital editing systems, people change stuff after they've been on air Lucas went back and changed All Star Wars and re colored them and, and redid some of the effects. So nothing really is fixed anymore. I mean, I'm being honest here. I mean, in terms of getting your movie made and staying employed, you want to stick with the lock, cut and hit the deadline. And all that. But the truth is stuck. You know, people do go back into shows. And if it's your movie, you can do what you want till the cows come home if you're paying the bills, but just know that it's going to it's going to cost you time and money and and you may lose some people along the way because they get other jobs or they get too frustrated. The frustration is a very good

Alex Ferrari 44:05
word to use. And since you were up north in Northern California, you must have heard of the lore of Star Wars, the first Star Wars in Juba, Georgia that the first cut of Star Wars was an absolute dismal mess and it was horrible and because the thing the studio stuck in with an editor that he didn't want and the first cut looked horrible. And then he had to go in with his wife and I forgot who the Academy Award editor Thank you went in and some of those two wasn't there was two there was there was Marcia Lucas and Paul and I honestly forget the third and but there was but there was another one and then everybody went back in and and made it into what we are today but it was completely it was destroyed and then saved in the cut same footage, same footage, but just put together differently. And that's the power and look what look at the power of the editor did for for that film and all the things have come afterwards.

Gael Chandler 45:09
Yeah, I mean, Paul Hirsch actually wrote a book about his career.

Alex Ferrari 45:13
Yeah, I saw I saw that one recently. Yeah.

Gael Chandler 45:15
Yeah. And I actually put it in the book. So I do talk about the Star Wars and, and how they introduce Luke at a at a different point and how they cut stuff down and, and and just how, exactly how they crafted it and rearrange the scene with Obi Wan Kenobi and Princess Leia and, and Luke, where Luke says, No, I can't help you and leaves and he appeared callous in the first cut. And they just rearrange things. And so that's in the book actually to,

Alex Ferrari 45:51
to analyze, to analyze something like that, because that's a great learning tool of like, you know, Luke, if you cut them at the wrong time, it looks callous the other time It looks a row it's editing is powerful stuff, guys, it's extremely powerful stuff is is a weapon, in the creative battle that can be wielded. And you got to be very careful with it.

Gael Chandler 46:14
And just, you know, just know that the great Lucas, you know, made mistakes, I mean, everybody all the greats have, they've done all kinds of stuff. And and and, and you're gonna learn and and do your great make your great imprint. And the faster you The faster you make these mistakes, the faster you learn, so you have to make as many mistakes as fast as possible and continue making them throughout your career because

Alex Ferrari 46:37
everyone does. There's very few directors who have a perfect filmography. Very few, if any, that have an absolute perfect, you know, some artists are, it's hard to hit the home run and what is a home run? What's the definition of a home run and in art, you know? Now I want to ask you a few questions. Ask all my guests. I normally ask what's your three of your favorite films of all time, but I'd love to ask you what are the three of the best edited films of all time, in your opinion that the editing really took a kind of a front seat?

Gael Chandler 47:12
Well, Raging Bull is is one that come to a lot of people's mind. And to be honest, before I wrote this book, I never paid attention to sorry about the phone. So Oh, just the violent nature of the relationship. And I and the woman being brutalized when it came out in the 80s. I, I wanted no part of the film. But in writing the history chapter, I actually ended up ended up reading and writing a lot about and researching a lot about the film. And I think I'm there as an example of that film school maker and Marty Scorsese Scorsese, you know, an editor, Director pair that have, you know, that are bonded for life, and that I've done incredible stuff since Woodstock when he was an assistant director, and she won the Academy Award for a documentary, which is really unusual for Best Film, anyway. So I would definitely say Raging Bull, because it just takes things to a different level. And it was planned a lot of those slow mo shots and the sweat flying across. I mean, it's, and I would not only look at it, I would read about it, because that will help your directing and you're thinking about editing. For that, definitely one

Alex Ferrari 48:40
of the couple of things you can think of or just two of your other favorite films that you just love watching. Um,

Gael Chandler 48:48
you know, there was a movie that came out in the 70s when I was a projection it was it was called from noon till three. And it was jus Ireland and Charles. What was the action star her husband? Charles Bronson. Yeah, Charles Bronson. And I would like to see it again because you just don't know how things hold up. It was basically the story and that that he's, he's comes into town and they have a noon to three they have a romance. And then he's arrested and goes to prison. And she's like, a stereotypical, like a schoolmarm or something. So this was like the greatest, you know, one of the the big thing that happened in her life. So the whole town becomes about this robbery and they recreate him and her and all of them. And you know, they romanticize the romance. And then he comes back from prison. And he wasn't really a robber. He was a snake oil salesman. I think that got caught up and she sees him and it's just Like, there's nothing there. It's like she has gone into the fantasy. So I guess it wasn't the editing in that one so much is just the story. And then the other my other favorite film is is prime of Miss Jean Brodie original and I think that I realized is it's because it's the whole teacher student relationship, and that we all have teachers in our lives that eventually we outgrow. And, and I've watched that film since I was in my 20s. And my views of that have really changed. So, I don't know those. The one really spoke more to editing in his famous for it, but the other two are just some of my, you know, film segments.

Alex Ferrari 50:51
Hey, that's a good answer. And where can people find your books and in the work that you do?

Gael Chandler 50:58
Um, my books are on Amazon, you can just put my name in ga e, l. and Chandler and they're also available from my ever loving film publisher Michael weezy. productions style.

Alex Ferrari 51:12
Fair. Good. Gail, thank you so much for being on the show. I it was it was fun talking shop with another editor and I appreciate all the work you're doing and helping educate directors and editors around the world. So I appreciate you. Thank you so much. Thank you.

LINKS

  • Gael Chandler – IMDB
  • Editing for Directors: A Guide for Creative Collaboration: Amazon

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Understanding Movie Credits (with Template)

In the early 1900s, there were hardly any movie credits. Some movies had just opening credits, while some had just the end credits. Nonetheless, just the title was enough to start the movie. However, once the ’70s came, the statement ‘give honor to whom it is due’ begun to apply to both opening and closing credits in Hollywood.

At first, closing credits were not so long, just like in the 1964 movie, Fail Safe. Over the years, the length of end credits has increased with some even as long as fifteen minutes. Time-consuming end credits have caused a lot of movie fans around the world to ask several questions. Who decides these names? Why do we even need to know their names? These are all relevant questions that will be answered as you read on.

Why are the movie credits so important?

There was a time when fans could not identify their beloved actors. However, with time, that changed. Not only could fans now identify them, but they can also now put a name to those faces. This made actors more famous, and it made other producers contact them for new productions.

The statement, ‘it takes a village’ is not a farce. The actors are not the only ones who make the film. There are other important people who make it possible. As these people do not feature on-screen, it is important to acknowledge them in another unique way.

Therefore, the introduction of the closing credits was made as an avenue to acknowledge the members of the film crew it took to create the movie. The length of the end credits depends on the number of people on the production team. The length of some end credits will make you wonder, who are all these people and what do they do?

Who is in the end credits and in what order do they appear?

Most end credits are typed in white characters on a black background, and it can be displayed in different orders. Some display the movie characters and production team in no particular order, some in order of appearance and according to their popularity.

However, in most cases, end credit begins with ‘above-the-line’ (ATL) individuals. These individuals most times have their names standing alone before the lengthy credits start. Either way, the actors and production team members are acknowledged in their different disciplines.

This is how a standard above-the-line (ATL) closing credit order is arranged;

Several movies follow this order. However, the order is tweaked in some other movies. Other movies might even have the credits displayed at the beginning and also at the end of the movie. Whichever way, the closing credits have come to stay.

Also, the genre of the movie affects the order. Some movies are dance-based, and the choreographer or dance company involved is also credited. Some movies with stunts also add the stuntmen or stunt company to their credits and so on.

Although these credits are significant, there are still a series of steps to be taken to draft one. Several people have to decide how the credits are displayed and whose name comes up in the end credit.


Credit: Filmmaker IQ

Who decides on the names displayed in movie credits?

The opening credits are strictly done decided by the film unions. Some of these unions are the Writers Guild of America, Screen Actors Guild of America, Producers Guild of America, and a few more. However, closing credits are mostly decided upon by the producer or the production company in support of the unions.

Aside from the producer, several actors have it stated in their contract, how and where they want their names to appear in the credit. This is also considered, so as not to breach the contract. After all, these are considered, the closing credit is decided, and the order and template to be used are also considered.

At times, some people do not have their names on credit even with how long it could be. Some of these uncredited people appear in the movie database IMDB.com, and they always have attached to their names in bracket ‘uncredited.’ This happens once in a while and there are several complaints passed. However, these conflicts are settled privately.

How do producers get people to sit through the end credit?

Opening credits are very easy to watch, as they make you anticipate the movie, especially when they have captivating soundtracks. Fans hardly sit through the end credits because they have already enjoyed the movie and they know the key players. However, Hollywood producers have discovered different ways to get fans glued to their seats for the end credits.

Some movie credits feature some fun animation which keeps fan eyes on the screen waiting for more. A great example is the Marvel Action’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2. The animation was also quite hilarious, and it makes you want to even go through the end credit more than once. The soundtrack played along with the credit is also captivating and still, connects fans to the movie.

The most interesting credits are the ones that include out-plays. These out-plays are edited into the credits as partying scenes which are most times very humorous or sometimes a scene from a follow-up movie. Another Marvel Action Movie with an out-play is the ‘Ant-Man’ movie. The scene in the middle of the credit gave fans an idea of an upcoming Marvel movie and fans are still anticipating.

Out-plays, animation, music, and humorous scenes are the tricks producers adapt to make end credits appealing, and these tricks work. More fans are beginning to anticipate closing credits. Although they are cumbersome, closing credits are necessary to the movie crew, and now they are now important to fans.

DCP: What the HECK is a Digital Cinema Package?

In its simplest form, Digital Cinema Package or more commonly known as a DCP could be seen as the digital version of a 35mm film print. Its main advantage is that you can present it to theaters to enable them to project it via a digital projector. A digital cinema Package is recognized and accepted all over the world

The digital cinema package comes in a briefcase. The case is either yellow or orange in color. The package includes an instruction manual, a drive, a power brick, a power cord, and a USB cable. There are few steps involved in ingesting the file into the DCP server.

The first step is to open the case and confirm if all the accessories are complete. Each of the items above must be there. If it is not, you should find a replacement for the missing item as every one of them will be used.

When everything is complete, the second step is to make sure you have enough space. The size of the file is usually under either the DCP size label or the Content size label. The size of a show is usually between 750GB and 1TB. After checking and finding out that you have enough space you can move on to the next step.

The next step is to plug in your DCP to your server. Plug the power brick into an outlet through the power cord and plug the other end of it into your DCP drive. Then connect the drive to the server through the USB cord.

Since there are different servers, check the particular server manual that is specifically for your server. Go through the instruction on how to ingest film.

The final step is to ingest the content of the drive into the DCP server. This could take between 20 minutes and 2 hours depending on the length of the show. There is a little precaution here. It is advisable to do other things and come back later but you should be coming back to check if there is any problem every 20 minutes.

You don’t want to come back after 2 hours to find out the ingestion stopped after 20 minutes. Do you? Having given a brief introduction to the digital cinema package and outlined the steps involved in ingesting it, the discussion should shift to the more technical aspect of the package.

The main reason for the popularity of this technology is that D-cinema theaters can play it all over the world. So you can move about with your movie and show it anywhere in the world. You just need to negotiate with the D-Cinema theaters in the city in which you want to show it.

The DCP is made of several types of media files like audio, video and even subtitles. It also comes with instructions on how to play them. A lot of studios deliver their films to local theaters through this form.

Some people believe that the DCP has come to replace the traditional 35mm film print. Yes, they are right. This is because DCP has several advantages over the traditional 35mm film print.

Unfortunately, 35mm film print is dead. The movie and theater industry killed it. It vanished gradually. Many theaters no longer have 35mm equipment so even if you produce your movie with it, you won’t be able to show it.

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What is the point of creating what you can’t use?

In fact, all new theaters are digital-only. The disappearance of 35mm film print began between 2010 and 2011 when the DCP emerged. Well, you won’t blame filmmakers when you realize the huge difference in the cost of making 35mm and DCP.

In fact, it costs about 90 percent less to use DCP technology.

Look at the cost. Then, if you shoot on videotape, you would have to transfer it to 35mm film print and the transfer process is known as “Filmout”. This will cost at least $40,000. That is not all.

You still need to make a print of the film and send it to each of the theaters where you intend to show it. This costs about $1,500 for each of them. If you are sending the movie to 4000 screens, it will cost about $6 million.

With the emergence of the digital cinema package, all you have to do is to send movies to hard drives and the hard drives can be reused hundreds of times. So, the whole cost has virtually disappeared.

Thinking that the quality of the movie may be less? Don’t even go there. Believe it or not, the quality of both of them are the same. With such a huge difference in cost, why won’t the shift from 35mm to DCP be very fast? $6 million is a large sum in whatever terms you want to put it.

That is not all. There is another huge advantage that DCP has over 35mm. 35mm is subject to wear and tear. Its value reduces with each screening. You can’t compare the first screening to the 100th one. 35mm can be broken or scratched. DCP is not like that. it is in digital form so it does not wear out.

The quality of the first screening is just the same as the quality of the 10,000th screening. Considering the two big and irresistible advantages DCP has over 35mm, why won’t 35mm technology die a quick and natural death?

Now, at this stage, the next question on people’s minds will be

“What do DCPs cost to make?”

A feature-length DCP usually costs between $1000 and $3000. The variance in cost depends on the runtime of the film and special options such as editing, encryption, 3D, 4K just to mention a few.

This cost covers all the steps in the production like quality control, mastering and even the production of master DCP hard drive. You may also need additional copies. Additional copies will cost you about $160 to $350. It depends on whether you prefer a CRU or USB drives.

While the typical turnaround time for the production of a DCP is 7 business days, it can be done in about 2-5 days but you have to pay for express service. It is better to plan ahead and leave enough time to avoid express service. If you give the lab enough time, there will be a correction of many mistakes like glitches in any of the files.

However, some labs do not render express service. They will tell you how early they can finish at no extra cost.

You either take it or leave it. It is worthy of note that different labs offer different charges. So, for the purpose of comparison, you should know all that should be included in your quote.

Mastering

This is the process of converting audio and video files into the format that D-cinema systems will recognize.

Quality Control

Quality check is as crucial as mastering. There are so many kinds of mistakes that can occur at this stage. It could be sync problems, dropouts or even glitches just to mention a few. The film will be watched on big 30-foot screens so every little error becomes overly conspicuous on the screens.

According to Murphy’s Law, whatever can go wrong will go wrong. So, experienced technicians will make all the corrections. To avoid embarrassing surprises you should ensure that a thorough quality check is done on your project.

Transfer to either CRU or USB drive

This is the process of converting the mastered files to an EXT 2/3 formatted Linux hard drive. Depending on your preference, the drive could be a standard portable USB drive or a professional DX115 drive carrier, called a CRU.

Both of them will deliver the same quality film. The only difference lies in their costs. USB drives are much cheaper than CRUs. However, a few theaters may demand only a CRU.

Turnaround time

The quote should include guaranteed turnaround time. If the turnaround time will be too late for you, you can specify what you want and the quote will be adjusted. It is very important to bear in mind that the quicker the turnaround time, the higher your charges will be.

Since last minute changes occur all the time, you can’t be too sure that you won’t edit a couple of scenes later. While a lot of labs charge a full encoding fee to re-encode, a few charge a discounted rate.

It is even better to use this as one of the criteria to select your lab. That means you should go for a lab that offers a discounted rate to re-encode your movie.

There are several factors that should determine the frame rates of your DCP. If you want a DCP that is compatible with all kinds of D-cinema systems, you should shot and edit at 24p. Then you make 24 frames per second (fps) DCP. If your main aim is winning an Academy Award, it is compulsory to make a 24fps DCP.

24fps is also the best if you intend to sell the movie to foreign buyers. This is because most of them will demand a 24fps. 24fps seems to be the established standard all over the world.

Otherwise, you can go for DCPs that runs at 48, 30 or 25 frames per second. It is also good to note that DCPs play in whole figure frame rates. If your video runs at 29.9fps it will be converted to 30fps for theaters

You can make a DCP yourself but there are a few things to consider. You can get free DCP software like Google DCP software but many of them are poorly tested. Most of them are not reliable. Quality is not cheap. If you want the best, go for the expensive ones.

If you want the best, go for the expensive ones. The cost to make a professional DCP is normally between $1,000 on the low end to over $8,000 (never pay this) on the “really” high end but we found that many company’s can do it for between $500-$1000.

Some of the reliable software packages are Clipster, QubeMaster Pro, and Davinci Resolve though I would stay away from EasyDCP. EasyDCP is infamous for not working correctly in theatrical projections. If you want to make real money with it, you have to invest in the expensive DCP software. Most importantly, you need a real theater to test your job.

The best MAC or PC can only simulate a theater, they can never be like the real theater. This should not be a problem because some theaters will allow you to test your DCP for free if it is a documentary or if you run a non-profit organization.

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences accept DCPs for Academy Awards but the DCPs must meet certain specifications. To boost the success rate of your film, you should consider the tips outlined below.

Helpful tips

Do thorough research and ask as many questions as possible. Post-production can be easy and smooth and it can be tough. It all depends on your choices. Once you start on the wrong foot, it will be a difficult journey all through.

But if you get it right from the beginning, you will smile all through. This is why you need the contribution of experts.

To be on the safe side, shoot and edit in 23.976fps that can easily be converted to 24fps during mastering. This is because it is the standard. The Academy, as well as distributors, will only accept 24fps.

Never make the mistake if shooting in 30p. You will most likely regret it except if you thrive on complications.

Poor sound quality mars a film much more than poor picture quality. So, you should take the time with sound. It pays so much to invest in an experienced sound designer. When it comes to DCPs, there are no shortcuts.

If you want quality, you have to start and end with quality materials and then you also need the assistance of professionals.

If you really want to go into it, it is advisable to take a proper course on it. You will be well prepared for it. You should also give your lab enough time. If you want to express service, you will get it but it can’t be compared to the service they took enough time to deliver.

YouTube Audio Library – Get Royalty-Free Tracks for Your Films

“Royalty-Free” doesn’t mean it’s free music for you to download and do with it as you please. It just means you don’t pay any royalty fees. Let me explain, once you purchase the track of music, you can use it in a Vimeo or YouTube video, usually once, and you don’t have to pay anything else regardless on how many times the video is seen, 10 times or 1,000,000 times, it doesn’t matter. You pay a one-time flat fee and you are good.

Today you have so many choices for free royalty-free music. The YouTube Audio Library has thousands of songs (provided as 320 Kbps MP3 files) you can use in your videos, films, shorts, and productions at no charge.

These tracks can also be used in commercial video productions, films, and shorts. For some more details on that click here:

  • Attributing your video: If you see an attribution-required icon next to a track, make sure to credit the original artist in your video description. Learn more about attribution on the Creative Commons website.
  • Monetizing your video: You can monetize your video since free music isn’t claimed through Content ID. If you’re prompted to show that you have commercial use rights to the music, just make sure to include the music’s exact title and that you downloaded it from the YouTube Audio Library. Learn more about supplying documentation to claim rights.

To gain access to the YouTube Audio Library, head on over to the YouTube Audio Library.

SHORTCODE - SOUND FX

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Here are some other amazing resources for royalty-free music:

Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads directed by WFMU, the most renowned freeform radio station in America. Radio has always offered the public free access to new music. The Free Music Archive is a continuation of that purpose, designed for the age of the internet. It was launched in 2009.

Every MP3 you discover on The Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era. These uses vary and are determined by the rights-holders themselves (please see our FAQ) who feel that allowing a degree of free cultural access is beneficial not only to their own pursuits but to our society as a whole. The Free Music Archive is a resource for audiophiles of all stripes, and unlike other websites, all of the audio has been hand-picked by one of our established audio curators.

http://freemusicarchive.org


Moby Gratis

This site is a resource for independent and non-profit filmmakers, film students, and anyone in need of free music for their independent, non-profit film, video, or short.

Moby has made a selection of over 150 tracks from his huge catalog of music available to license for free, via a simple online application system.

http://www.mobygratis.com

Confessions of a Post Production Supervisor

There’s humor in filmmaking. To wit …

What’s the difference between a DP and God? God doesn’t think he’s a DP.

Why is thunder after lightning? Even God has to wait for sound.

How many grips does it take to change a light bulb? “Not my department”

How do you know if a filmmaker is at a party? Don’t worry, he’ll tell you.

But if you don’t hire a post-production supervisor to manage the most critical aspect of your film – it’s completion? Well, that’s not funny …

“Post-Production Supervisor are too often an afterthought or totally overlooked,” says Indie Film Hustle maestro Alex Ferrari in a serious tone. “But failure to engage one – the right one – and your film will suffer. And everyone will notice.”

Can you get along without a Post Production Supervisor? “Sure, as long as you’re fluent in every aspect of post – from final edit mix and assembly and color correction to visual effects and deliverables,” Alex shrugs. “But odds are your name isn’t Robert Rodriguez.”

And Alex Ferrari should know. Although he’s an award-winning director, Alex has spent a good portion of his two decades in the film industry off the set … and in the miasma known as Post.

As a filmmaker myself, who coincidentally engaged Alex’s Numb Robot production house to handle post, my main goal was to make a good film and hopefully make money. I achieved the first one because of a great script, crew, post production supervisor and team. At the end of the day my wife didn’t murder me or file for divorce (yet) because I did out what I set to do – and hopefully, the film will set me up for other opportunities. So, without further ado, here’s Alex’s insights for you:

1)  What does a Post Production Supervisor do, and why do I need him?

(Alex refrains from slapping me and, with much restraint, proceeds to answer the question…)

ALEX: The Post Production Supervisor is responsible for the workflow for your film. Once you get to picture lock, they ensure a smooth process and align the right resources so everything moves smoothly and cohesively. Just as your editor syncs the right clips and scenes, so to does the Post Production Supervisor synch the final assembly with sound and music, then adds visual effects and color correction and organizes everything – labeling files, splitting tracks – to satisfy distribution deliverable requests.

This person is not only essential in Post, but if you bring them in during pre-production they can help by looking at the script and assisting the Line Producer in creating a more accurate budget for the film. I mean, normally Line Producers do the budget; yeah, I get that. But most Line Producers stick in a number without knowing the true cost – or even a cheaper or alternative way to do something. If you’re on a tight budget, getting the Post Production Supervisor involved early can help assure an efficient production and avoid those back-breaking “fix it in post” expenses down the road.

2) Okay, so I contact the Post Production Supervisor once I lock picture, right?

(Alex takes a deep breath, balls his fists and speaks slowly …)

ALEX: Most people wait until then – but that’s not what a filmmaker should do. At the very least, a filmmaker – particularly a newbie – should hire a Post Production Supervisor, like myself, for a few hours of consulting to review the script and make recommendations about how to save money and stretch resources in the planning stages. 98% of people don’t do that – but only 2% of the population are highly intelligent so go figure.

But the right answer about when to engage a Post Production Supervisor is when the money is in place. That’s when you should build your core team, which should include your entertainment lawyer, producer, director, DP, line producer, and post-production supervisor. Or if you have some money and need to build a budget and smart workflow, that’s when you might want to start thinking about your Post-Production Supervisor.

3) What types of Post Production Supervisor are there, and where do I find one?

(Alex relaxes, as evidently, I’ve hit on a good question. Either that or he likes the word “Supe”…)

ALEX: There are basically two types: Type 1 is the afore-mentioned Robert Rodriguez type that can do almost everything. They’re hard to find. Type 2 is more of a general contractor who knows what needs to be done and gets the right people to do it. Kind of like a director who builds a crew to execute his vision. There’s also a Type 3, which is a production house – but they can be more expensive, may not specialize in every aspect of post-production and, if they are large and your budget is small, probably won’t give you the level of attention a direct-hire would.

As for where to find one, there are a few ways:

  • Do a Google search
  • Look on IMDB for films similar to yours
  • Visit your state’s film office online and search for post-producer supervisors in their production handbook
  • Or, when you are interviewing line producers, ask who they recommend

But here’s the important thing – find someone who is comfortable and experienced working on your budget level. There are phenomenal Post-Production Supervisors on blockbusters, but they won’t know how to cut corners or manage the tight parameters of micro-budget movies.

4) How much should a filmmaker budget for a Post-Production Supervisor?

ALEX: It varies on how well prepared or inept the filmmaker is because there are invariably complications in post-production. But a good range is 15-20% of your budget, which might seem like a lot until you realize a good chunk of your film’s life is spent in post-production and it is the most important time in terms of delivering a final, polished and professional product.

5) How much time should a film be in post?

ALEX: See the first sentence in the answer above – it depends on how well the filmmaker has their act together in delivering the picture lock. And is it really the final picture lock – I can’t tell you how many films I’ve worked on where a mistake is discovered and BANG! – it’s a do-over. Even adding a frame can knock the whole process out of synch and cause costs to mount.

6) You’re serious … a frame?

ALEX: Absolutely, even one frame – not a scene, mind you – can cost a lot of money because now the entire timing is off. You have to look at it like a train leaving the station and heading toward its final destination. To stop the train and return it to the original station because something was not right, and then to start the journey all over again – well, imagine the cost and delay.

Put this in bold: Once a picture is locked, all dollars go to post production. It has to stay locked.

7) Okay, so at picture lock (in bold) what should be delivered to a Post-Production Supervisor?

ALEX: The filmmaker (or editor) should deliver a QuickTime reference file (with time code and shot reference), the EDL (“Edit Decision List”), and any raw footage on a hard drive. Then the “Supe” rebuilds the film in an online suite and sends out the mix for sound, music and color correction.  Some Post-Production Supervisors can do color correction and visual effects themselves, but usually, you want a specialist to do the sound mix and music score. Sound is the most important thing in a movie – people might forgive bad picture, but bad sound? That’s a death knell.

8) Wait a minute – visual effects? Why would I need visual effects for a low budget film?

ALEX: If you plan to get your film broadcast or even on platforms that require E&O (“Errors & Omissions”) insurance, there’s a chance you’ll need to blur out logos, license plates, faces, etc. Maybe not, but it happens more than you might think. Other films might not want to deal with the insurance hassles if guns are used – so visual effects would insert flares for realistic rubber guns. That’s just one example.

9) How long should the process take?

(At this point Alex asks me how long my film was in post-production, we both roll our eyes, and banish the thought.)

ALEX: Ideally, if all the stars are aligned, a Post-Production Supervisor should be able to hand off deliverables within 6 weeks or so. That’s how long THIS IS MEG took. But often you’re waiting for someone – like music. I’m always waiting on the music. Or even visual effects, depending on how much work is involved. If it’s taking more than two months then there’s a problem. But unless you up against a deadline to submit for Sundance, take the time to get your film right. I’ve even had to re-edit some films in post, then re-assemble, and get the music and sound synched. Color correction is also critical – it’s the makeover your film needs to make it attractive to everyone who lays eyes on it.

10) What are the things a filmmaker should have “in the can” for festivals and distributors?

ALEX: A QuickTime master and compressed Vimeo link, Blu-ray (5.1 and stereo), and a DVD for screeners (not to screen at a festival!) – if a festival is screening DVDs, run away. You might also consider burning into the bottom of the DVD screeners “for screening purposes only”. Also, a Vimeo Plus or Vimeo Pro membership is essential to upload your QuickTime master, compressed master, and teaser/trailer.

11) Lastly, any “horror stories” you’d like to share?

ALEX: Too many brother. Filmmaking is an inexact science and it’s the human element that makes it frustrating and fantastic. Here’s a quick one purely as an example of how inexperience and ego can get in the way. I was working on a (hypothetical) film with two well-known stars and a first-time director.

Let’s call him “FTD”. So FTD thought he was Steven Spielberg and he hired a DP who thought he was Roger Deakins. So FTD and DP shot on 3 different cameras; none of them calibrated, one with a dead pixel and the piece de resistance? The third had a dirty lens … for the entire movie. And oh yeah, attitude the entire way – everything was someone else’s fault. Basically what they delivered had to be re-edited. A ton of work, at a pretty high cost. In the end, it did get distribution because it was (mostly) saved in post-production and because of the name recognition of the two stars. But that train left the station and came back several times!

Also check out this podcast episode: How a Post-Production Supervisor Can Save Your Butt! It could save you a ton of cash!

Thank you Alex. See you in Post!

If you need help with understanding post-production workflow or need to consult a professional post supervisor click here.

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