Post Magazine

February 2011

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Dean Georgopoulos.“We shoot on set and Dino takes the R3Ds and usually does some transcoding to different formats, depending on what the editorial wants. Different post houses like to do things in different ways. Some like to have it already color corrected a little bit and put into Apple ProRes files, so Dino will do that on set. He has a Red Rocket card and knows how to do that.” Other times, post houses don’t want the footage DP Karsten “Crash” Gopinath on the set of a Busch Gardens spot. W hether you are a DP, DIT, editor, colorist or ef- fects pro working on a commercial project, the way footage is shot, stored and moved affects you — and the next person down the line. Newer digital film cameras, such as the Red, Epic, Alexa, Phantom and F23, and even lesser quality HD cameras like the 5D and 7D, are all being used to create spots these days, and all require special handling as media is moved throughout the production and post chain.This month, Post looks at commercial workflows and how pros are acquiring, saving, processing and delivering files in ways that present the least amount of hiccups for all par- ties involved, while still providing the highest quality that these cameras promise. THE DP Karsten Gopinath (IATSE 600) is an LA-based director of photography who goes by the name “Crash” ( He’s been shooting a lot on Red re- cently, and when we caught up with him, he was shooting a Lifetime promo starring Heidi Klum. He also worked on a BET awards promo recently, and commercials for both Lincoln and Toyota. “I use a lot of different cameras,” he says. “I use Red, Alexa, Phantom, film cameras…you name it, I’ve used it all.” Two years ago, Crash says 80 percent of the jobs he shot were on film, and 20 percent on Red.“Now, it’s gone the other way. It’s about 80 percent on Red and 20 per- cent on film. It’s been a big switch.” Red workflows have come a long way in that time, he Nutmeg's Gary Scarpulla used Scratch to post this greenscreen-shot Liberty Medical spot via agency Karlin-Pimsler. adds.“It used to be that people didn’t know or understand the Red workflow, and it was very complicated.You [would] bring it to a place and they would be totally confused by it. People would try to do the transcoding themselves, and they just wouldn’t understand to go back to the R3Ds to get the best picture quality when they were doing the online.They would just use the transcoded files, which are compressed.” Today, facilities are much more up to speed.“Now, Red has kind of nailed it. Everybody knows how to use Red footage. If you are editing in Final Cut, you can just take the R3Ds right in.” Crash will work with a technician on set to trou- bleshoot storage and transcoding issues. Often, it’s DIT transcoded, and in this case they’ll take the R3Ds and use them for the edit.“We used to have to take the footage and actually get it transcoded at a facility,” says Crash of early Red jobs.“There’s a place called LightIron that I use a lot. Michael Cioni is a really good guy. Now we kind of skip that step, although they are really good for archiving…he puts it down to digital tape.” On a recent Lincoln spot, promoting the automaker’s entire line, the production shot five Red cameras simulta- neously, along with an Alexa and a Canon 7D.A Canon 5D was also used for timelapse.“[There was] just an incredible amount of storage that we had to use and [Dino] was doing transcoding at the same time. So he had to take all of the footage that was coming off of all five cameras. It took him a long time to catch up. But, for the most part, the data management issues are pretty easy.” Being an independent director of photography, Crash is able to pick and choose his camera packages based on the job. “I’ve found that the Red is really good for night — for dark areas the Red is fantastic,” he notes. “The Alexa is good with highlights.” THE DIT Dean Georgopoulos ( is an indepen- dent digital imaging technician based in the LA area. His ca- reer as an in-demand DIT grew out of his experience as a producer, and more so, as the owner of Red One camera #0031, which he got his hands on back in 2007. Georgopoulos believed in the magic that Red was sell- ing, and waited on line at NAB back in 2006 to hand over his $1,000 deposit, which made him one of the first own- ers of the new camera.“That allowed me to gain an advan- tage over rental houses and other people who were get- ting their cameras,” he explains.“I just happened to know my way around set, because I was a producer, and I was a computer geek. And I had done a stint for four years as a projectionist with digital cinema projectors and playback devices, so I was well versed in the whole color side and making things look good to a DP and director. Everything came together, and it was a perfect job for me.” He’s since worked on commercials for Pepsi, Chevrolet, General Motors, Budweiser, Lexis,AT&T, LG and Coors Light, among many others. His Red One, in fact, was used on the David Fincher/Nike Fate spot two years back star- ring NFL players LaDainian Tomlinson and Troy Polamalu. His initial experience with Red workflows involved col- laboration with Plaster City Digital Post in LA, a Mac house with a renderfarm that could transcode the R3D files to a format that was palatable to the Avid or Final Cut Pro.The process wasn’t realtime however. He would also do his own transcoding, using a cart he built, configured with Red Rushes, Red Alert or Red Cine. Today, his cart features two 8-core Apple Mac Pros, each outfitted with a Red Rocket card, and G-Tech eS Pro RAIDs that run at 732MBs/sec. Performance is realtime. Six consumer-grade LCD and LED monitors provide visual February 2011 • Post 21

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