Production Sound & Video

Summer 2023

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Page 48 of 67

The pipeline is the process by which all departments contribute their specific function to a main storage center, which then disseminates and organizes large volumes of information. The information being 'bits of data.' These digital files are cleaned up and sent to the visual effects house and other departments to use. In 2005, many were responsible for the development of the pipeline, including members from Local 695. Glenn Derry was a principal developer, supported by Gary Martinez and Mike Davis. Both had the creative talent, the engineering expertise, and field experience to build a pipeline that worked. Later in 2012, Ryan Champney, the Virtual Production Supervisor at Lightstorm Entertainment, continued to improve and streamline this pipeline. He was able to make rapid changes to the overall system and personalize it for different departments. For example, writing custom software for the automated publishing and metadata tagging of the audio, video, facial, and performance-capture datasets. This overwhelming task resided with these principal technicians, whose degrees in computer science, electrical, and mechanical engineering supported the groundbreaking work. I enjoyed observing and learning from skilled engineers overcoming complex challenges for this project. To walk onto the set of Avatar would be deceiving and underwhelming because of its warehouse-like appearance. This is not a traditional film set like those constructed by carpenters, painters, and set designers, to then be populated later with stylized lighting and filmed with traditional cameras. On one side of the stage are two raised platforms, which look like old-style TV phone banks. In this case, the phones and staff are replaced with computer workstations and technicians. Each station is responsible for different aspects of the show. These raised platforms, called the Brain Bar, are workstations for head rigs, QTAKE, RealTime, take assets, script, stunts, and the Editorial Department. On Stage 27, in front of the Brain Bar, was the Volume that measured 120' x Equipment system used on Avatar: The Way of Water James Cameron reviews work at the Brain Bar. Photo by Mark Fellman - 20th Century Studios Roly Arenas and Peter Joyce pose in front of the soon-to-be assembled carts to be used in New Zealand and Los Angeles

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