American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 76

Post Focus

The werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello) joins Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin, above right) and vampire Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer, right) for True Blood’s third season, which has transitioned to an all-data-based online/mastering workflow.

I

True Blood Workflow Becomes File-Based By Michael Goldman

When the producers of HBO’s True Blood told Technicolor Hollywood they were interested in transitioning to an all-data-based online/mastering workflow, the Technicolor team suggested that the hit series could become, in the words of co-producer Bruce Dunn, “a major test case” for an all-file-based workflow for an episodic TV series originating on film. HBO decided to take Technicolor up on the offer for the current season, the show’s third. The challenge, as Technicolor colorist Scott Klein puts it, was “how to convert a workflow and stay creative.” Well into production when they spoke with AC, those involved say the conversion went off smoothly and has enabled greater creativity. They suggest that True Blood’s overall production methodology seamlessly weaves a traditional film-acquisition approach with the latest all-data post techniques. Dunn enthuses that True Blood can now “spread out many fingers from one hand” in the form of easily accessible data once its imagery enters Technicolor’s SAN, allowing all post units to simultaneously work off the same core files safely. “It gives us incredible flexibility to multitask,” says Dunn. “We can do dirt-fixing while we’re doing assembly, color correction and visual effects. By going to a tapeless, nonlinear post workflow, there are huge benefits for picture conforms. Now we can often make picture changes after we lock the edit.” Using its data-based infrastructure in partnership with its film
76 August 2010

lab, Technicolor handles True Blood’s negative processing, dailies, assembly, color correction, titling, audio mixing, layback and final mastering. By entering the file-based universe, the team is now able to have pieces of as many as nine episodes in various stages of production at Technicolor simultaneously. Currently, only the dailies process and the delivery of a final master continue to involve tape or other physical media. Cinematographers Matthew Jensen, Romeo Tirone and Steven St. John typically shoot True Blood on Kodak Vision3 250D 5207 and Vision3 500T 5219. (Most of the show is shot in 3-perf Super 35mm.) The post pipeline’s engine revs up when the film comes from stages on the Warner Bros. lot or from locations in Louisiana; Technicolor develops the film and telecines it on a Spirit 2K system to HDCam-SR at 4:2:2. Dailies colorist Peter Ritter distributes two passes of that material: a basic color pass for dailies viewing and editorial, and a flat pass, which is digitized to Technicolor’s SAN for final assembly and final color. As each episode is cut together, a pull list of shots is created, and those shots are digitized from the flat pass and assembled by online editor Ray Miller in an Avid HD Symphony (v. 4.05). From that point on, everything lives on Technicolor’s SAN. After an episode is conformed, colored and approved, an air master is created from 1080p/23.98 fps files and delivered to HBO at 1080i/59.94 on HDCam-SR tape. Of course, the transition to the file-based approach did pose some challenges. For instance, a new approach to dubbing tapes

American Cinematographer

True Blood photos by John P. Johnson, courtesy of HBO. Technicolor photos by Robert Hoffman, courtesy of Technicolor.



American Cinematographer - August 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - August 2010

The International Journal of Motion Imaging - August 2010 Vol. 91 No. 8
Features
Cat and Mouse (Salt)
Girl Trouble (Pilgrim vs. the World)
A Magical Manhattan (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
True Colors (Get Low)
Departments
Editor’s Note
President’s Desk
Short Takes: Quiksilver ad campaign
Production Slate: Best-Shot Films of 1998-2008 • The Kids Are All Right
Post Focus: True Blood Workflow
Filmmakers’ Forum: Steven Fierberg, ASC
New Products & Services
International Marketplace
Classified Ads
Ad Index
Clubhouse News
ASC Close-Up: Charles Minsky
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - The International Journal of Motion Imaging - August 2010 Vol. 91 No. 8
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 1
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 2
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 3
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 4
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 5
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 6
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 7
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Editor’s Note
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 9
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - President’s Desk
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 11
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Short Takes: Quiksilver ad campaign
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 13
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 14
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 15
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Production Slate: Best-Shot Films of 1998-2008 • The Kids Are All Right
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 17
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 18
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 19
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 20
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 21
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 22
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 23
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 24
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 25
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 26
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 27
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Cat and Mouse (Salt)
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 29
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 30
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 31
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 32
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 33
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 34
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 35
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 36
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 37
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 38
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 39
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 40
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 41
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Girl Trouble (Pilgrim vs. the World)
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 43
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 44
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 45
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 46
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 47
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 48
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 49
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 50
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 51
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 52
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 53
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 54
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 55
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - A Magical Manhattan (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice)
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 57
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 58
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 59
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 60
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 61
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 62
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 63
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 64
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 65
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 66
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 67
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - True Colors (Get Low)
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 69
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 70
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 71
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 72
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 73
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 74
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 75
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Post Focus: True Blood Workflow
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 77
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 78
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 79
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Filmmakers’ Forum: Steven Fierberg, ASC
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 81
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - New Products & Services
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 83
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 84
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 85
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 86
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 87
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 88
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 89
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - International Marketplace
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Classified Ads
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Ad Index
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 93
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Clubhouse News
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - 95
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - ASC Close-Up: Charles Minsky
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - August 2010 - Cover4
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