Warner Horizon Televisions’ reboot of the nighttime drama Dallas has become the first production to take advantage of MTI Film’s Remote Control Dailies service to ensure secure, high-quality dailies while shooting on location in Dallas. Remote Control Dailies offers the same complete feature set that MTI Film’s Control Dailies provides in a facility setting, but configured in a portable unit for use on set or near set.
Installation of Remote Control Dailies in Dallas was overseen by MTI Film’s David McClure. “Basically, our technician arrived Saturday morning and had a post facility set up inside their production office by that afternoon,” said McClure.
Remote Control Dailies allowed the Dallas production team to reduce costs and operate more efficiently. “We prefer to keep our dailies and finishing at the same facility and it was always our intention to do the color for the series at MTI,” explains Bryan J. Raber, the show’s associate producer. “Shooting on location and shipping the drives back and forth to Los Angeles presented a number of the usual issues – the time lost to shipping, the costs, the uncertainty of canceled or delayed flights and security risks.”
Remote Control Dailies offered the solution to all of these concerns. Because the dailies are processed near location the production doesn’t experience any of the typical delays. iPad and editorial deliverables are ready for pickup in both Dallas and Los Angeles by 8 a.m. the following day. The cost for both the equipment and staff is actually less than the cost of shipping would have been. Most importantly, Raber points out, “The footage never leaves my hands. I have complete control over where it goes and when.”
Processing the dailies near set makes it fast and easy to drop in additional shots or re-takes. Additionally, MTI partnered with T-VIPS to provide a video-over-IP solution using JPEG 2000 compression that allowed the DP to sit in on every coloring session. In a flip of the usual remote color session, both MTI’s dailies colorist Troy Davis and final colorist Steve Porter can work directly on the footage stored within the Remote Control Dailies system in Dallas from the Hollywood location at any time.
Dallas is shot on ARRI Alexa, with Remote Control Dailies processing up to six hours of footage each day, including ingest, audio-image synchronization, metadata collection, coloring and creating the file-based deliverables. While the footage is synched in Dallas and colored remotely from Los Angeles, Remote Control Dailies automatically encodes several outputs in the background – a ProRes proxy for editorial, fully-authored DVDs for the studio, and two H.264 files, one uploaded to dax|D3 for production and a 720P chaptered file for the iPads on set. The editorial media is sent to L.A. electronically so it’s available to the editors first thing in the morning.
“It’s been a really great experience,” said Raber. “I’ve really enjoyed it!”