Post Magazine

September 2013

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Posting Web Series limitless, and I was pleased with how far I was able to push things." Donnelly says the Model Wife creatives tend to be "more visually oriented than a lot of comedy writers; they're thinking visuals all the way through." Since the series followed a very tight production schedule, the colorist was sometimes challenged to nuance a shot or make small fixes. "Since it's a comedy, the take with the best performance is gonna be the one that works in the edit," he explains. "But maybe the sun just came out in that take and there's an odd reflection — I'll have to deal with situations like that." Donnelly points out that while he uses his broadcast monitor to grade Model Wife, he Siren Digital is providing grading services for Cleaners, which debuts on next month. 22 faces the added complication, with a Web series, of not knowing what kind of screen it will be viewed on. "So I keep my iPad in the grading suite so I can export a QuickTime, load it and view it immediately. Even a lot of commercial work I do is primarily destined for the Web, so I keep my iPad handy." Donnelly also makes sure he works to broadcast standards. "I'm always watching the scopes, making sure we're totally legal, in case [a network] calls and wants all 10 episodes — I won't have to do another pass!" About half the time Donnelly conformed the six-minute episodes on Final Cut, marrying the sound mix and pumping out the Web deliverables. "The uploading process with any sharing service is fairly universal. I just watch the recommended specs and stay on the high end of that. In general, that means an H.264 QuickTime, something a bit better than that if you're going to Vimeo, and whatever Google wants that week for YouTube." Plans for season two of Model Wife are already underway; it will shoot with a Blackmagic camera again, either the Cinema or new Production camera, which has 4K capabilities. Post • September 2013 RWBY Austin, TX's Rooster Teeth ( pioneered the use of Machinima to produce animated visuals. Although the content creator has also crafted liveaction comedy shorts and is headed to long-form narrative over the next year, its animated RWBY (pronounced "Ruby") has just debuted on the Web with 10, 10-minute chapters comprising the first half of season one. "As the previous season of Red vs. Blue [another animated series they were producing] wound down, Monty Oum generated a new story idea based on the team's love of Japanese animation," says Gray G. Haddock, post production supervisor, editor and VFX compositor, and post supervisor for RWBY at Rooster Teeth. The story of four girls in their freshman year at a legendar y monster-fighting academy, RWBY is a hybrid of animation influences, some from the anime culture. A team of 25-30 people works on RWBY, including animators and pipeline wranglers, two editors, a sound editor and two VFX compositors. Sound mixing is done out of house. The show's toolset boasts Smith Micro's Poser for the 2D celshading look from animation to rendering; Shotgun for pipeline tracking; Perforce for version control; and Adobe After Effects for compositing. Action sequences "resemble live-action effects," says Haddock, with "magic blasts, shield effects and energy halos. We take render passes from Poser and apply VFX tricks in After Effects, including FumeFX for smoke and explosions, and a variety of plug-ins from Red Giant and" RWBY follows "pretty traditional animation development," he reports. The first pass includes the dialogue recording session, sound effects and temp score, along with "pretty elaborate animatics" in which every scene is boarded out. "When we get workin-progress 'playblasts' from the animators, we drop them into the shots and make sure they match the timing of the animatic," says Haddock. "We can make changes based on new ideas until shots are approved. We also have the occasional opportunity to react and make tweaks based on audience reaction to the series: adding a prop, altering dialogue, switching out some background graphics to let fans know we're paying attention to them." The editorial department is standardized on the Adobe Creative Cloud suite and Avid Pro Tools for cutting the show's video and audio. With a more traditional cartoon look, RWBY doesn't require much color correction; a combination of Red Giant Magic Bullet plug-ins and Adobe SpeedGrade handle the chore. Haddock points out that, "Rooster Teeth doesn't dial down the quality of the end product because the Web might be its primary way of release. We raise the bar every year. Red vs. Blue got more complex season after season; its pipeline was never the same year to year. With RWBY, everyone from animation to sound design to score treats the show as if we're not limited to a small Web audience." Indeed, RWBY doesn't seem to be limited to a small Web audience. Fans can check out the Rooster Teeth Website archive to watch any episode; shows are posted to YouTube with a one-week delay — Rooster Teeth's channel on YouTube recently passed six million subscribers. Aficionados can also join the Rooster Teeth sponsorship program to get early access to RWBY episodes plus behindthe-scenes material. Most recently, much to Rooster Teeth's delight, the series was picked up by, the leading online anime distributor worldwide. RWBY's 10-minute episodes would also "fit nicely into the 15-minute blocks on an outlet like [Cartoon Channel's] 'Adult Swim,' " Haddock points out. "The volume is structured so we can put episodes back to back for DVD or iTunes," he adds. CLEANERS Cleaners, which premieres October 3 on, part of Crackle, Inc., Sony Pictures Entertainment's multi-platform digital network, promises to be an action-packed thriller about a pair of female contract killers who find a sedated boy in the trunk of their car and quickly become targets of everyone from their own boss to the FBI. The six 30-minute episodes from Full Clip Productions were written and directed by Paul Leyden. Hollywood's Siren Digital (www.siren6500. com), the end-to-end post services division of independent Siren Studios, designed the workflow for the show, which was shot at 5K on the Red Epic camera. The Siren Digital team worked closely with editor Michael Hofacre and assistant editor Kevin Armstrong, who cut episodes on Final Cut Pro 7, to prep shows for color correction and conforming on Digital Vision's Nucoda Look and FilmMaster platforms. continued on page 45

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