An overflow crowd of producers, directors, cinematographers, DITs and other pros witnessed a spirited panel discussion on emerging workflow technologies at the recent Digital Days Conference and Expo in Vancouver. Titled “The New World of Post is P.O.D. Based ,” and hosted by Bling Digital, the panel described how film and television productions are using new, highly mobile digital tools to save time, boost productivity and reduce costs.
Ken Anderson, general manager of SIM Digital/Bling Digital, Vancouver, moderated the panel, which also featured SIM Digital/Bling Digital VP of creative services Chris Jacobson, Bling Digital, Vancouver, post services manager Mike Ogawa, cinematographer Michael Balfry and digital imaging technician Mitch Bax.
Anderson began the session by reviewing how motion picture and television workflows have changed as productions have moved from film to digital cinematography. “In the days of film, a lot of time and labor were required to get projects through post production,” Anderson told the crowd. “Today, time and costs have been considerably reduced. Productions can be much more efficient. Tools and job functions are changing, and productions who’ve adapted are reaping the benefits.”
Bling Digital’s P.O.D. systems are modular and portable toolkits that allow productions to carry out, on set or near set, a variety of tasks, such as dailies processing, editing and color correction, that formerly required complex infrastructures or outside suppliers.
Digital workflows are not only less costly and more efficient, they can be tailored to the needs of individual productions. “Film workflows were very regimented,” said Anderson. “Now, the workflow is whatever you need it to be. There isn’t just one way to do it, there are a hundred. We design workflows based on the production’s budget, timeline, personnel, what people are expecting to see at each stage of production and many other factors.”
Following Anderson’s presentation, the panelists described digital workflows used by such shows as Psych, Suits and Hell on Wheels.
Jacobson noted that having early access, through SIM, to new camera systems is a valuable asset to the company. “We’re six months ahead of the curve,” he observed. “When we test new cameras, we run the format through the whole pipeline to see how it affects each link in the chain.”
Judging by the flurry of questions, the topic of workflow management resonated with those in attendance. “It was a wonderful opportunity to educate people about solutions that are available now and others that are on the way,” said Anderson. “We are grateful to Locals 669 and 891, and the Directors Guild of Canada for letting us have this discussion. To the extent that it sparked new ideas, taught people something new or increased their technical expertise, it was a big success.”