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October 2010

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Showtime’s Dexter, takes advantage of Technicolor’s DP Lights, creating looks on set that get handed over to colorist Joe Cook, pictured on the opposite page. tion tracking for monitors and computer screens. He also intercuts any visual effects shots done at Technicolor in Adobe After Effects or Autodesk Inferno. “The workflow is still tape-based and all final conforms and color DEXTER Although Showtime’s hit series Dexter has always originated digi- tally, for the first two seasons the slo-mo scenes used as plot devices were shot on film “because digital cameras couldn’t ramp,” points out co-producer Chad Tomasoski, who runs post for the show. “Starting in Season 3 we moved to the Sony F23 CineAlta camera where we’ve been able to do all our slo-mo as well.” Now in its fifth season, Dexter uses F23s as its A and B cameras and employs Sony EX1 camcorders and Canon HDSLRs in guer- rilla location units.“They make it easier on the crew, and the im- ages are great,” says Tomasoski.“We can put an operator and an EX1 in the passenger seat for driving scenes instead of using a tow unit.Any inserts are picked up with the EX1.And we’ve put a fish- eye lens on DP Romeo Tirone’s own Canon HDSLR to simulate an ATM surveillance camera.” On the set, DIT Daniel Applegate “helps keep the frame rates and codecs of the various cameras organized for us, especially when we’re using the EX1 or HDSLRs. He transcodes footage from the EX1 and HDSLRs to QuickTime ProRes files that go to the lab [at Technicolor Hol- lywood],” says Tomasoski.“Any of the ProRes files he creates on set are then laid off to HDCAM SR at Technicolor for archiving purposes.” New this season is the implementation of Tech- nicolor’s DP Lights on-location color previsualiza- tion toolset that allows looks to be created in re- altime during production and cinematographers to adjust for lighting and show subtleties while capturing the full range of the camera’s image. “It was Daniel’s suggestion, and it’s working out great,”Tomasoski reports.“When he and the DP set the look for a scene, that LUT is carried across all the dailies footage and into final tape-to-tape color correction where colorist Joe Cook brings up the LUT and sees what they had in mind. DP Lights saves us a bit more time on the back end but, more importantly, it allows Joe to spend more time fine-tuning the look of the show instead of balancing it.” Once Technicolor ( has the dailies select master on HDCAM SR it makes DVCAM dubs for offline on Avid Meridiens at 14:1 compressed at the show’s production offices. When the editors lock picture they send an Avid bin to Technicolor for the conform in HD and color correction. Technicolor online editor Ray Miller uses an Avid Symphony Ni- tris DX V.5 to perform the HD conform, including shot stabilizations, time-warp speed changes, shot clean-up and modifications, and mo- correction are done to HDCAM SR 1080p/23.98,” he reports.“We utilize the Avid for the advantage of building multilayered effects that include motion tracking, keying, security camera looks and monitor composites — all the metadata is left intact with the Avid sequence from capture to final conform, which lends to the efficiency when conforming and building effects.” Miller conforms the show to a log image, then delivers a Color Decision List (CDL) to Cook. “DP Lights is fully compliant with ASC CDL so it transfers over to the Avid project,” he explains. “I create a CDL to pass to Joe so he has all the information on a shot-by-shot basis.This gives him full control and more range of the image in color correction.” A titling pass is performed in a linear edit bay; the show is laid back to HDCAM SR as Showtime’s archive element.“We utilize all the tools,” says Miller.“Every show at Technicolor has a slightly different workflow based on the most efficient way to get the show done.” UNDERCOVERS The latest episodic venture from J.J. Abrams is NBC’s Undercov- ers in which the lives of married former spies take a turn when they’re thrust back in the world of espionage.The show’s associate producer/supervising editor, Stephen Semel, is coming off the very successful run of Lost for which he recently won an Emmy for pic- ture editing. Unlike Lost, which was shot 3-perf 35mm, Undercovers originates on Red Digital Cinema’s Red One camera.“It was either Red or film for the series,” he says.“The camera department did tests, and Red proved the more flexible way to go, the more streamlined process. NBC’s Undercoversis shot with the Red One camera. Post takes place at Level 3. Because we’re dealing with raw images, there’s a lot more leeway to blow up and reposition, a lot more freedom to manipulate the image than with film.” Working with a file-based system also “affords more flexibility in VFX, and this show has a lot of VFX,” he adds.“The couple does a lot of world travel, and we frequently have the actors in front of a greenscreen.That’s more cumbersome with non-digital acquisition.” There’s no DIT on set, but data manager Brian Udoff copies, or- October 2010 • Post 21

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