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SIM Digital Provides Post-on-Demand for Covert Affairs


Covert Affairs. (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/USA Network).
Covert Affairs. (Photo by: Ben Mark Holzberg/USA Network).
USA Network’s spy drama, Covert Affairs, gives audiences high-speed chase scenes, complicated love triangles and explosive visual effects. Shot in 4K with postproduction by SIM Digital subsidiary, Bling Digital, the show offers an HD viewing experience.

The series shoots in various locations across the globe, for which SIM Digital’s new post-on-demand (P.O.D.) workflow comes into play. Leveraging a portable pipeline that includes industry-standard finishing equipment with Facilis TerraBlock Shared Storage at the crux, SIM Digital is able to complete creative finishing all around the world.

“We travel all over for this show, but no matter where we go, we can quickly set up an office and run post from a remote location,” said Dave French, director of post engineering, SIM Digital. “The TerraBlock is so easy to assemble and can seamlessly handle the high volume of data we’re pushing through our systems, that it’s an ideal fit for this workflow.”

SIM's on-site setup.
SIM’s on-site setup.
For each episode of the show, SIM Digital’s team receives 4K RAW files from production via G-RAID drives and ingests those files into TerraBlock. Using Avid editing software and Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve color correction software, the SIM Digital team then conforms and color grades each episode. Once complete, uncompressed files are brought back into Avid for formatting, and then output in the required digital deliverable.

To improve color fidelity, and allow room for manipulation and resizing, the SIM Digital team works with 4K RAW material throughout the postproduction process. With a quick shared storage system like TerraBlock, the team is easily able to manage the high-resolution data that the job requires. “We pride ourselves on working with RAW camera materials in color correction without transcoding, so it’s important to have a really thick data pipe, and TerraBlock’s got our back,” SIM Digital VP of creative services, Chris Jacobson said. “Real-time playback is crucial, and if you don’t have it, you’re really missing the essence of color correction. TerraBlock’s high bandwidth and throughput allow us to work with 4K RAW material in real-time with ease – something we couldn’t do with other systems.”

TerraBlock’s intuitive user interface also simplifies the learning curve so that SIM Digital operators don’t have to go into terminal command to load or offload files. “TerraBlock is easy for anyone to understand,” Jacobson said. “It’s a tool that people feel comfortable using and it’s essential to all that we do for this show.”

Other recent projects that SIM Digital and Bling Digital have worked on include postproduction for Guillermo Del Toro’s feature film Pacific Rim, in addition to television series including Hell on Wheels, Suits, Warehouse 13 and Revolution.

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