Post Magazine

February 2013

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Developing successful, efficient post workflows is essential for reality television programming. Unscripted shows often produce huge amounts of footage, and despite having a good notion of the storyline in production, shows frequently take shape in the edit room. BOSTON'S FINEST Take the new documentary-style series Boston's Finest, a dramatic journey into the lives of Boston police officers on the job and off, from Jarrett Creative and Donnie Wahlberg's Donnie D. Productions, which premieres this month on TNT. "They shot over 4,000 hours of footage for eight one-hour episodes," says Matthew Schneider, director of technology at NYC's PostWorks ( "That's astonishingly high; 600 to 800 hours would be expected, but we think over 4,000 hours sets a new record." PostWorks supports Jarrett with both editorial and finishing services for Boston's Finest. At its 100 Avenue of the Americas location, PostWorks dedicates a number of edit rooms and resources to unscripted shows in the reality, science and nature, and docu-soap genres. Jarrett Creative occupies space on PostWorks' third floor, where it has office and bullpen areas and offline edit bays. "It's all part of the machine producing reality television," says Schneider. "A company like Jarrett will offline on systems in their rented rooms, then use PostWorks' facilities for finishing." Boston's Finest shot predominantly with the Canon EOS C300 in 50mb 4:2:2 23.98fps. "It's rare to have a show shooting one format; most unscripted TV shows have a broad mixture of formats, frame rates and camera codecs. They also chose to shoot 24p, not interlaced, a phenomenon becoming more common for reality TV productions," Schneider explains. "24p, for many productions and DPs, helps the look of the show and allows for simpler conversions for PAL for European distribution." PostWorks began its association with the new series with consultations last July that established the post workflow. "They cut in an all-Avid environment, Media Composer V.6 on Mac with ISIS 5000 shared storage. Software-only Media Composer V.6 systems do the ingest and, ultimately, the conform." Jarrett uses seven full-blown edit systems and between eight and 10 software-only stations. Boston's Finest follows a process that's popular among many PostWorks clients. "All of our reality shows are editing with low-res, compressed SD proxies," Schneider says. "They shoot such extraordinary amounts of footage that it's not cost effective to have everything on the server; storage is still expensive, especially in these quantities. So this method keeps things as reasonably-sized as possible. But it requires an HD conform to match back to the raw files out of the camera; either the client does that or we provide a conform as a service." Even with low-res SD proxies, these shooting ratios threatened to require as much as 32TB of storage space for the show, so "some storage management and upgrades were required to accommodate it," he recalls. Since the show was one of the first to use Media Composer 6, client training was offered, "so they could ingest in a smart and organized way." The software does "an excellent job supporting Canon's XF codec and the various AVCHD codecs, and is better at supporting multiple formats like the security-camera footage they also use in the show," Schneider reports. PostWorks colorist Eli Friedman did the final color for Boston's Finest. "We tweaked the workflow to get the conformed HD show out of Avid and into his Assimilate Scratch system," says Schneider. "We brought the finished show into Scratch for grading, then exported it back to Avid for titling, graphics, sweetening and mastering." GRAVEYARD CARZ Based in Springfield, OR, the officially-designated home of The Simpsons, The Division ( specializes in developing reality television programming, taking shows from production through post. The company has four offline edit suites running Adobe Premiere CS6, a Premiere Pro online suite, color correction via Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve and a graphics station running the CS6 suite and Autodesk's Maya and 3DS Max. The company's flagship series is Graveyard Carz, which just began its second season on Discovery's Velocity channel; it airs internationally as well. The show follows a Springfield-based group that restores wrecked muscle cars with such The Division cuts the Canon 7D-shot Graveyard Carz in Adobe Premiere CS6. They use DaVinci Resolve for color correction. attention to detail that, "the finished car looks like it just came off the assembly line," says producer Casey Faris. The Division's CEO, Mark Worman, is the show's main character. Graveyard Carz began as a pilot half-a-dozen years ago.The pilot was shot with Canon consumer-grade cameras and then the new 5D Mark II. The Division opted to produce a self-funded first season, investing in several Canon 7D cameras, which it used on handheld rigs. Midland XTC 300 action cameras were mixed in to capture driving shots and car interiors, and Apple iPhone footage made it in when no other cameras were available. The first three episodes were cut on Apple's Final Cut Pro 7 and "looked great," Faris recalls. But when the editorial team went to NAB and saw Adobe Premiere CS6 presentation they were "so impressed with all the capabilities that we decided to switch in mid-season," he reports. After working out the transition with episode four, editing the following nine shows went smoothly. "We learned all the little tricks," says Faris. "Everyone here loves Premiere: The big thing is that it renders really fast. You can mix formats, frame rates, codecs with no interim conversions, which saves a lot of file space." Each shoot day Faris indexed footage, put markers on the timeline indicating shots he liked, copied segments into the timeline and edited them into a sequence. "We use proxies since we don't have any big shared storage yet," he explains. "We make H.264 proxies so we can send them over the Internet and edit at home in inclement weather." Once everything was laid out in offline, the show was rendered as a QuickTime file, notes were made, and the episode moved to the online suite where edits were finessed, audio was leveled out and the proxies were switched out to high definition in preparation for color correction. Post0213_016-18,20-RealityRAV4finalread.indd 17 Post • February 2013 17 1/23/13 6:52 PM

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