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February 2014

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Page 22 of 51 Post • February 2014 21 the ability to apply a color transform in the form of a LUT to this raw material during the ingest stage. Otherwise, "there's no downside to shooting Log," Smith says. "Once you under- stand what it means and embrace the work- flow that supports it, shooting Log can ben- efit any show out there." GHOST HUNTERS TV's longest-running paranormal series, Ghost Hunters is marking its tenth anniversa- ry this year, says Craig Piligian, CEO and executive producer at Pilgrim Studios in Nor th Hollywood (www.pilgrimstudios. com). "Our 200th episode will air on Syfy in October," he notes. Over the course of a decade, the show has seen a number of technological changes, such as migrating from SD to HD video, but it remains true to the format that its loyal fan base expects: Jason Hawes and Steve Gon- salves, and their team of intrepid TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society) members, meet a client, take a tour of the premises suspect- ed of hosting paranormal activity, strategize the nighttime investigation, then get to work ghost hunting. The camera complement is a mix of tape- and file-based media and includes Sony HCR-A1U and HVR-Z7U HD cameras manned by the crew, Canon 5Ds for B roll, GoPros and specialty cameras, such as FLIR infrared units. For the first time, the new season finds Jason and Steve donning glasses containing miniature IR cameras, made by paranormal enthusiast Pete Stagman of para-, which enable viewers to see the action from the ghost hunters' perspective. TAPS also deploys its own cameras, including full-spectrum cameras that show any fluctua- tion of light in the room. "There are a lot of cameras, but Craig wants the show to be very nimble, so we use small cameras, stay out of the way of Jason and Steve, and move quickly and quietly through the dark," says executive producer Mike Nich- ols. The three TAPS teams shoot footage themselves and each team is assigned a cam- era operator from Pilgrim Studios; two teams also have sound engineers, but Jason and Steve prefer a lean crew to keep "contamination of the area" to a minimum, notes Nichols. Footage adds up fast. "Our three cameras and their cameras are rolling the entire time of the investigation," he explains. "So that's maybe eight hours times 10 cameras — you get quite a bit of footage." TAPS analyzes all the material so it can present its findings to the client, then shares the footage with Pilgrim. Assistants ingest tape- and file-based media into Avid Unity shared storage, work- ing overnight in multiple edit bays at Pilgrim's production offices. Material is grouped by timecode matching all cameras and angles to a given timecode. Then the editors watch all the footage to get a sense of the episodes. Story producers in the field take detailed notes, which they later share with the edi- tors. But stories sometimes take a different turn from what was anticipated, depending on what transpired in the investigation. "They can steer the TAPS guys at the front end in terms of what story the client is interested in pursuing," Nichols explains. "But once TAPS runs with it, you can't manipulate what hap- pens. As Craig says, 'We don't fake anything; we just embrace the reality.'" Editors cut in low-res on Avid Media Composers linked to Unity. They up-rez to finish on Avid Symphony Nitris DX in-house. Dave Broadbent performs the color session on Avid with the mandate to keep the ghost- hunting footage authentically edgy. "He makes all the green IR footage black and white so viewers can see it better," says Nichols. "We want as clean an image as possible; people like playing along with the ghost hunt." The sound mix is performed in-house by Marcus Pardo. Fans are so attuned to the show that they asked where Marcus was when a different mixer stepped in for one episode, Nichols recounts. Pilgrim delivers Ghost Hunters via FTP to the network as an Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) file. "Our biggest technical challenge is to show the audience what the crew sees — and with the new IR-camera glasses we're closer to that than ever before," Nichols says. "There are no second chances with a ghost. We have no choice but to show what hap- pens on a given night. If you embrace that, it doesn't become an obstacle; it actually makes life easier." BOSTON'S FINEST One of the first reality series to air on TNT, Boston's Finest chronicles the daily operations of the Boston Police Department (BPD) by following the day and night shifts of the gang unit, the patrol unit, the fugitive unit and a few detectives from District B2 — and their lives outside the BPD. Donnie Wahlberg executive produces and narrates the show, which is produced by Jarrett Creative Group ( in New York City. The post workflow established for the first season of Boston's Finest worked so well that it remained in place for season two, which recently finished airing, says Timothy Dixon, creative director at Jarrett Creative Group and the company's lead editor. The show is more unscripted than most reality series due to the fly-on-the-wall nature of covering the BPD units. "You can't really plan much of anything," notes Dixon. "We had a long casting process because we had to find officers who were interesting and wanted to do it, and get them approved by the network and BPD. So we knew the characters we had, but you never know day to day what's going to hap- pen with them." The main priority for the show is to "stay true to the case [shown] creatively and legally," Dixon says. "You're seeing what actu- Jim Gallagher is an editor on Ghost Hunters, which is produced and posted by Pilgrim Studios. Donnie Wahlberg narrates Boston's Finest for TNT. Posting Reality TV

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