Post Magazine

February 2014

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 51

20 Post • February 2014 DEADLINE: CRIME The new investigative news program, Deadline: Crime with Tamron Hall, from NBC News' Peacock Productions, debuted on Investigation Discovery last fall with the MSNBC anchor leading a team of correspon- dents who go beyond the headlines to report on what caused people to turn to crime and whether justice was ultimately served. Technicolor-PostWorks New York (www. handles post produc- tion for a number of series and specials from Peacock Productions. But Deadline: Crime has "a very unique workflow for this type of programming — a much more feature film- style color grading process," says senior fin- ishing editor and colorist Sean R. Smith. "Creative editorial occurs in HD on Avid Media Composer 6.5 in the Peacock Produc- tion offices at 30 Rock, and I receive a con- formed XDCAM 50 HD sequence," he says. "We open that sequence in Symphony, cre- ate a textless mixdown, and then import the mixdown into the [Digital Vision] Nucoda FilmMaster for color grading. Titling, blurs, compositing and outputs to HDCAM SR happen back in Symphony after the comple- tion of color." Deadline: Crime is entirely file-based, with the Canon C300 as the primary camera and Canon 5D Mark III and Mark II as the B and C cameras. "They shoot the C300 in Canon C-log mode for a filmic image response," Smith explains. "Within FilmMas- ter, we start by applying our own C-Log to Rec 709 transform. We then process the color essentially as we would for a feature digital intermediate." The show aims for a natural film look. "All options are available when star ting with a flat image, so we try to take it in a different direction than the standard video look of most news magazine programs," he says. "The C300 and Mark III do a very good job emulating natural grain in most low-light conditions, but when shooting conditions are extreme, I use the FilmMaster's DVO Clarity to pull back on noise. When you're grading on a higher-end system, you also have more sophisticated tools for isolating colors. It's faster and easier to highlight eyes in an interview or draw out details to con- vey a cer tain mood." Smith also integrates archival stills provid- ed by family and news clips from high-profile crimes, which have been upconverted and captured in the Avid timeline. "The NBC News archives are on Beta SP, even some of their recent clips, so I do a little restoration on that material," he notes. "We never want to make it look like that footage was shot yesterday; we just wanted to clean up the artifacts a bit." Since Deadline: Crime employs "a new workflow for this type of content, there were some elements we needed to streamline during the first couple of episodes," Smith reports. "By the second or third episode, we hit a good stride in knowing how to best direct Peacock to prep the sequence and split out certain plug-in effects from their mixdown. It became a very seamless pro- cess. We have since implemented that same workflow on the second season of another Peacock Productions show, Dead of Night." Matthew Schneider, director of technolo- gy at Technicolor-PostWorks New York, notes that, "with more cameras shooting Log in light-weight HD formats, a lot of reality TV clients are asking, 'Is it worth it?'" He believes that more will opt to shoot Log in an effort to differentiate their shows from the compe- tition. "Most clients who ask about shooting Log — the cost, the workflow, the artistic advantage — are asking because they want their show to have a unique look and feel." Smith points out that one minor caveat of shooting Log is that "if you're offlining in Avid V.6.5 or below, until you apply a custom color effect, you're looking at very flat mate- rial. This is challenging for anyone that is unaccustomed to seeing footage this way, including network executives. To get around this I developed a quick one-light color effect, used like a LUT, to drop on top of the entire show to bring back some of the con- trast while they're in the rough cut stage," he explains. Smith adds that looking ahead, Avid Media Composer V.7 now offers these clients Deadline: Crime posts at Technicolor-PostWorks in NYC. The studio's (L) Schneider and (R) Smith are pictured above. Posting Reality TV

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - February 2014