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December 2015

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Page 44 of 51 43 POST DECEMBER 2015 OUTLOOK 4K/HDR O elevision consumption across mobile viewing platforms is increasing annually, with fierce compe- tition for audience attention. Now that streaming is commonplace, providers are capitalizing on the advanced technology built into digital devices by increasingly posting beyond HD SDR (high-defini- tion standard dynamic range). Premium formats, like 4K or HDR (high dynamic range), help programming stand out in a sea of viewing options crowded with everything from live TV to subscription video on-demand (SVOD) and ad-sup- ported VOD (AOVD), to name just a few. 4K production is quite prevalent in tele- vision now, so it's not that far a leap to post in 4K as well, even if just for archival purposes. On the other hand, HDR shows are just beginning to crop up. One misconception I encounter in the post industry is the notion that to post in HDR, shows must be shot in HDR, and that's not necessarily the case. While many newer cameras are capable of shooting in an HDR mode, the combi- nation of cinematographer skill, color science and colorist skill will achieve beautiful HDR results. HDR can be done during the original post production process, known as in-process HDR, or as a trim after SDR post has been complet- ed. Both approaches lend themselves to enhancing a project's final color, though working in-process provides creatives more flexibility in seeing what the HDR and SDR end results will look like during the color grade so that they can inter- weave the two. Optimizing post workflows for 4K and HDR or even 4K/HDR share a similar set of challenges. Accurate monitoring is crucial for both, though 4K displays are becoming more widely accessible. Additionally, 4K and HDR formats are data-intensive, requiring beefed up storage and GPU power to efficiently manage files and throughput. And, when projects are delivered in multiple formats — as most are — storage needs increase even further. As a company, Encore has run 4K workflows since the end of 2013, with both Encore New York and Encore Hollywood regularly posting 4K projects. At Encore Vancouver, we began working in 4K this spring with a major TV episod- ic project that also required in-process HDR. Whereas 4K provides sharper picture clarity — thanks to greater pixel density — HDR widens the available color space and provides more perceptual detail in a scene than SDR. Each impres- sive in their own right, the two formats complement one another, working hand- in-hand to deliver an enhanced viewing experience for the consumer. To post in 4K/HDR, we consolidat- ed our workflow to a single pipeline for color and editorial. We conformed, graded, titled and managed delivera- bles by devising a solution that allowed both editor and colorist to work on the same media and metadata concurrently. This was a great creative environment — both disciplines being able to utilize the tools at hand and bringing them to- gether onto one timeline. Our HDR-spe- cific color pipeline was developed with help from color scientists internally and from Efilm, one of our sister companies in the Deluxe Creative Services family. Backed by an added SAN, this con- figuration allowed us to deliver both SDR, as Rec709, as well as HDR, and execute changes quickly and efficiently throughout. GPU-accelerated worksta- tions provided the necessary rendering power; HDR timelines contain several LUTs so the computing requirements are significant. Since viewers will be able to access the HDR content for this particu- lar project via streaming, we also had to render out an additional high bandwidth deliverables needed for efficient encod- ing and archiving. Working within a single solution throughout a project definitely proved to be an interesting learning experience. Grading in HDR was seamless; quickly switching between SDR and HDR on the same timeline was a huge advantage. Until recently, software has been somewhat specialized. Each has distinct advantages but not one single offering checks all the boxes. As we move into 2016, I think we'll see further consolida- tion of toolsets, which would encourage more widespread adoption of single platform workflows. And soon, consum- ers will be hard pressed to find a new TV set that isn't HDR-capable. POSTING IN 4K/HDR T BY JAMES COWAN DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS SUPERVISING EDITOR ENCORE VANCOUVER VANCOUVER, CANADA WWW.ENCOREPOST.COM ant to keep the core ideas in check. This is where all of us as directors, designers and artists take off the proverbial gloves and get creative. Take a paradigm shift and turn it even just a few degrees and a new angle of approach becomes apparent. With the connected approach to mod- ern day digital production, every custom- er is an evangelist and a brand is much more than a single idea. It's a cultural icon created by the people and technology has become the catalyst for many of our modern narratives. Simply starting a brand conversation on Twitter has the ability to make or break a small company in a matter of minutes. That's an incred- ible prospect. How we communicate as a society dictates the content we create and when it's our passion to entertain and inspire conversation, it's not enough to air a :30 video. That spot now needs to be rooted in a connected campaign that shares its goals with digital online media, Websites, applications, physical events and more. Digital experiences are at the heart of this connected approach. How are we telling stories that embrace these new platforms for storytelling? How does screen agnosticism affect those same ideas? These questions seem like they are derived from today's latest trends, but they are, in fact, timeless and will be with us through the next technological evolution. It's now at this point where our decisions on how to proceed can elevate the culture or push it back down into business as usual. Yet, where we stand, there's no such thing as business as usual. We've seen a huge shift in projects just in the last year and simply being open to this allows everyone to participate in a new creative culture. Adapting to a new paradigm in communication and techno- logical creativity will leave some people in the past, but in order to accept what's about to come next, we must not be afraid to have fun and evolve with it.

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