Los Angeles-based BlueScreen LLC specializes in live, on-set blue/greenscreen compositing and multi-cam productions for high-profile gaming companies and studios such as EA, Disney, Warner Bros. and Viacom. A core component of BlueScreen’s business involves live blue/greenscreen compositing for press events prior to the launch of major films, and for this niche market, the company has established a specialized setup comprising high-end cameras and Ultimatte hardware, combined with AJA’s Ki Pro Rack at the center of the workflow.
At each media event, company founder Bob Kertesz is given an average of seven hours to direct, live composite and record, which can include more than 60 journalist interviews. The studio typically provides him with an animated environment and characters from the film it is promoting. Kertesz then composites each reporter into the scene, so it appears as though he or she is interviewing the animated characters. At the end of the day, the journalists leave with a Compact Flash card in his or her requested format.
Kertesz shoots each interview using a range of Sony and Panasonic three-chip broadcast-style cameras, so that clients walk away with broadcast-ready video. Generally, he captures in 1080 59,94i, recording to the reporter’s requested format using Ki Pro Rack – whether in DNxHD or ProRes 422 HQ. “I love that the Ki Pro Rack makes it very easy to switch the recording format in less than a minute, and you can instantly generate files that will go directly into clients’ Avid, Final Cut or Adobe systems without a hitch, and that I can use the network connection to quickly copy the Ki Pro Rack files to a Compact Flash card in a USB writer,” said Kertesz.
With such a large volume of content under tight deadlines, Kertesz depends on Ki Pro Rack to not only record each segment, but also to playback animations provided by the studio, often more than 200 times per event. “Ki Pro Rack is a marvelous device for what I do,” he said. “It cues up, records and plays easily, and I can transfer files to it over a network connection rather than copying them over. That’s a huge bonus when I’m setting up and trying out various things with the animations to make the junket work.”
“I’ll be playing back clips a thousand times, and there’s never a hiccup,” he continued. “Everything has to work without fail, or those segments will never make it to air… I don’t like problems, and my clients definitely don’t like problems. If my equipment fails, my reputation and business are on the line, and with AJA gear that’s never a concern.”
When not working on press junkets, BlueScreen LLC also lends its composting and multi-cam production expertise to projects ranging in scope, size and market. When those projects require a quick edit, Kertesz often uses Adobe Premiere Pro with AJA Io XT or AJA KONA.