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Shapeshifter Delivers Post Services for Arrested Development


©2013 NETFLIX  CR: F. Scott Schafer

Arrested Development premiered this weekend. (Photo by: F. Scott Schafer ©2013 NETFLIX).
Arrested Development premiered this weekend. (Photo by: F. Scott Schafer ©2013 NETFLIX).

Dakota Pictures, producers of the revived television series Arrested Development, recently turned to L.A.-based post house Shapeshifter to provide comprehensive postproduction services for the show’s fourth season, which debuted on Netflix on Sunday.

Shapeshifter provided a range of finishing services, including final conforming, final color correction and visual effects for the show’s 15-episode season.

“During the editing of Arrested Development, we took full advantage of the 4K image captured in the field by our RED Epic cameras,” explained Dakota Pictures’ post supervisor Lincoln Sevier. “Show creator Mitch Hurwitz would sometimes ask for shots to be blown up as much as 300 percent. Because of this, it was important that we online the episodes using the original RED media instead of a 1920×1080 conversion. I knew the DaVinci Resolve had this ability, but needed a skilled colorist and facility that were ready to take on a project the size of Arrested Development. I reached out to Blackmagic, who put me in touch with colorist Randy Coonfield at Shapeshifter. He and his company were well versed in using a roundtrip workflow to color and online RED media.”

“Netflix’s delivery deadline is unique in the industry in that they’ll accept an entire season all at once, instead of the typical one-episode-per-week like traditional networks,” explained Russo Anastasio, co-founder, and president of Shapeshifter. “This, coupled with the fact that episodes of Arrested Development season 4 are tied together with insider gags and creative threads, meant that things needed to remain fluid till the last minute. With a regular show, most traditional post houses wouldn’t touch an episode until it was locked.”

The company was called on to combine RAW camera footage in its native 4K resolution, with other, traditional HD sources. These sources were shared facility-wide via a hi-speed SAN network, accessed by Shapeshifter’s DaVinci Resolve, Avid Symphony and VFX workstations. This workflow, coupled with proprietary in-house systems enables a change made by one system to automatically propagate to all other systems.

On Sunday, Netflix simultaneously released 15 new episodes of the cult-classic television sitcom, catering to so-called binge viewers. The show originally ran on Fox from 2003-2006.

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