Post Magazine

September 2014

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Page 5 of 51 4 POST SEPTEMBER 2014 ALASKA: THE LAST FRONTIER HOLLYWOOD — Discovery Studios (http://dis, the full-service production company within Discovery Communications, is in production of Season 4 of the popular program, Alaska: The Last Frontier. The show has been nom- inated for two Emmys under the "Unstructured Reality Program" and "Reality Cinematography" categories, and follows the Kilcher family, who live on a 600-acre homestead in Alaska. For four generations, the family has lived off the land in a subsistence lifestyle. Much of the program details the preparations the family makes to survive the brutal Alaskan winters. At press time, executive producer Daniel Soiseth and director of photography/co-EP Brian Mandle were working on delivering an increased episode count for Season 4. The fi rst season contained just three episodes. That number grew to 13 for Season 2 and 16 for Season 3. Season 4 will span 24 one-hour episodes, several of which are already completed. "When a show starts to do well, the appetite gets increased, and it puts an additional burden on the family and the crews out there," explains Soiseth. "We have to maximize our time and get it done." Mandle notes that the crews are in Alaska almost year-round. They take just four months off the whole year. "The show is defi nitely seasonal, so we do a lot of stuff in the spring, and the summer time is a little less of a load," he notes. "In the fall, that's when there's the really-big harvest — every- thing from the garden harvesting to the big game that they're hunting. It gets busy from [August] until December." For Seasons 1, 2, and 3, four cameramen spent time shooting two stories with the family each day. Season 4 will make use of six camera operators to accommodate the increased episode count. B-roll is captured all the time, and Mandle has even done some shooting himself. "I was initially the director of photography for two seasons, and eventually took on producing and co-EP. But it's not long before I get back into the fi eld," he states. The crew uses Canon XF305 cameras as their primary workhorse. For B-roll and interviews, they use the Canon C300 and XF105. Footage is cap- tured to CF cards. "It's about 80 minutes for 32GB cards," says Man- dle. "We are rolling at the highest quality. It's 50mbps and it's 4:2:2 color space, which helps out a lot. We do our color on a Baselight system and they are always amazed at how well those cameras do." A media manager in the fi eld backs up foot- age to drives and sends copies to LA for post at Discovery Studios. The studio has seven Avid bays dedicated to the show, and could have as many as 12 editors working on Season 4. A one-hour show is usually culled from 150 to 200 hours of material. Each episode then spends a day or so undergoing color work on a Baselight system. "We somewhat mute the colors a little bit in a lot of our timing," notes Mandle. "Sometimes the 305s don't perform great in super low light, but at the same time, the 300s are too bulky to take with you. Sometimes you fi nd yourself at the top of the mountain at the end of a day and you thought you'd be home. We defi nitely need fi xes to help out." The show is mixed by Matt Slivinski at Levels Audio. Tony Morales composes original music. —BY MARC LOFTUS BITS & PIECES FOR MORE 'ALASKA' COVERAGE, VISIT US AT: Alaska is primarily shot on Canon XF305 cameras and color corrected on a Baselight system.

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