Toronto-based Pixel Underground has completed a major facility expansion that includes the addition of a cinema-style 4K grading theater. The new theater features a DaVinci Resolve color grading system, a Sony 4K DCI-compliant digital projector, a 14-foot projection screen and a Flanders 55-inch evaluation-grade monitor in a cinema environment that can accommodate groups as large as 15.
“Many feature and television productions today shoot in 4K or higher,” said company president Marc Bachli. “Pixel Underground is one of few facilities in Toronto where directors, cinematographers and producers can review their work in 4K during postproduction sessions. In our theater, they can see their work at full resolution and get a true indication of focus, sharpness, grain structure and other attributes. That is a big benefit. We’re bringing 4K to the mainstream feature and television market.”
As a part of the SIM Group, the new theater will facilitate further collaboration between Pixel Underground and other SIM Group companies, including sound specialist Tattersall Sound & Picture and workflow specialist Bling Digital. “This move represents a significant step towards our goal of creating a comprehensive, world-class, postproduction offering,” said SIM Group CTO Chris Parker. “Shows can now benefit from Tattersall, the city’s best sound post facility, Bling’s best-in-class dailies workflow and Pixel Underground’s 4K picture finishing.”
The 4K theater includes 5.1 surround sound, with acoustical design and engineering support provided by Ed Segeren, technical director of Tattersall Sound & Picture. The theater is designed to function as a stand-alone facility with its own kitchen and other client services features. “It’s a cozy environment,” said company vice president Marcus Valentin. “We want our clients to be comfortable, whether their project takes a day or several weeks.”
The new construction also includes an adjacent 4K online finishing suite featuring an Avid Symphony Nitris with Nuke and AfterEffects compositing also available. The suite shares a common network with the grading theater in order to share projects and elements.
Construction of the new facilities spanned four months. The company conducted extensive tests of the projection system to assess its ability to accurately display media from cameras made by ARRI, Sony, Canon and other manufacturers. “We are committed to staying ahead of the curve,” said Bachli. “Everything is top notch.”
Pixel Underground has recently completed projects for NBC, A&E, Scripps Network, Discovery (Canada and U.S.), National Geographic, BBC, Shaw and Corus.