Post Magazine

December 2018

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Page 33 of 43 32 POST DECEMBER 2018 OUTLOOK RENDERING A lchemy Post Sound is an indepen- dent Foley sound production company. It features a passionate team of Foley specialists and unique resources for recording sound for film and television. The studio has become a Mecca for filmmakers who value well-crafted sound for its raw emotional power and usefulness as a storytelling tool. Recent credits include Villains; The Miseducation of Cameron Post; Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot; Making a Murderer and The Looming Tower. STRENGTHS Consumers are becoming tuned-in to great-sounding movies. With large screen TVs being paired with 5.1 sound systems, people are expecting to hear great sound even in their homes. They don't want to buy or rent movies with weak sound. That's great for the sound industry in general and Foley in par- ticular, because high-quality Foley is essential to a great soundtrack. WEAKNESSES Films with smaller budgets make it a challenge to complete the Foley the way we'd like to. If a film has a budget for only five days of Foley, we give them everything we can in those five days. We go after key points and try to help the filmmaker tell the story with sound. If the budget is tight, we will identify things that are essential and things that are less important. We pick our battles. OPPORTUNITIES The recording process has improved significantly over the years and that has created new opportunities to produce great Foley. We utilize our tools and our space to the maximum. We recently built a "live" Foley stage that allows us to capture sound effects with natural room tones. Better recording technol- ogy has also improved our ability to record Foley on-location. We use both techniques to add an extra level of shine and sparkle to our work. THREATS Mediocrity. Some people are willing to settle for mediocrity because it saves time and money. It's like in the music industry when MP3 arrived and vinyl and CDs were NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO CREATE GREAT FOLEY BY LESLIE BLOOME CO-FOUNDER/FOLEY ARTIST ALCHEMY POST SOUND PEEKSKILL, NY WWW.ALCHEMYPOSTSOUND. COM FOLEY S ome of the most recent and exciting changes affecting our industry today are in production rendering. Rendering technology, its efficiencies, workflow and overall accessibility, are evening out the playing field, spawning growth in creativity and overall visual quality. ENGINES If this is indeed the Golden Age of Rendering, render engines are at the heart of it all. The quality, quantity and accessibility of ray tracing engines seem to be increasing on a daily basis. If it's not one platform cutting its price, it's another adopting GPU or AI de-noising algo- rithms, or whispers of a new contender with a focus on realtime rendering. Within a few short years, light and mid-weight studios went from using a specialized engine for jobs with specific creative/cli- ent needs, to utilizing multiple production engines on any given job. These engines are easier to learn and use, cheaper, more stable and robust than ever before. And this is aside from the photorealistic imag- ery they produce. What was once a luxury is now the standard. CLOUD RENDERING Cloud rendering is nothing new, but it has always been very expensive, not the easiest to work with and generally used as a secondary or backup resource. Today that model has completely changed, as rendering in-house has become the backup resource. Studios are moving away from in- house farms and pushing more and more of their work to the cloud, either by purchas- ing a render service or creating their own virtual farm. Paying for what you use when you use it is much more cost-effective and flexible. If you need 100x more render pow- er than you did the month before, it can be as easy as flipping a switch, without the overhead of owning the resources (soft- ware licensing, hardware costs and depreci- ation, maintenance, support staff, etc.). COST & ACCESSIBILITY These new systems and workflows are absolutely changing the way we operate. Whether it's due to lower cost of hardware and software, embracing the subscription model, or utilizing the cloud, these systems are now attainable, not just for large studios, but any sized studio, which makes things particularly interesting. Today we can see freelancers driving blockbuster engines, satisfying their rendering needs in the cloud, for pennies on yesterday's dollar. GROWTH My favorite part of this new age of rendering is seeing what young artists and smaller studios are creating with access to these deep and powerful tools. Not only are artists creating more and more beautiful imagery, they are also learning more about the technical side of rendering, and interestingly, compos- iting. Some would argue that due to the quality of some of these engines, the amount of post/finishing work needed is minimal. Yet, I am joyfully finding artists pushing their composites further than ever. Growth is coming from genuine excitement, not necessity. I personally am so excited, because it reminds me why I embarked on this journey. FUN THINGS TO THINK ABOUT Will our interactive render view truly take over our working viewport? Given all that rendering resources are doing for creative and industry elevation, what would happen if a similar shake-up occurs for composit- ing? This is an area of our industry that is peak for disruption and growth. BY KRZYSZTOF PIANKO SENIOR MOTION DESIGNER LEVIATHAN CHICAGO WWW.LVTHN.COM THE GOLDEN AGE OF RENDERING

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