Online Edit/Conform, 2D VFX/Cleanup

(2005 - 2006)

Halfway through it's season, the production switched from 35mm to Sony F950 HD video cameras.  To help preserve the established look of the show, Derek treated all of the F950 episodes with a custom 'film look'.

"The challenge was to make the video look more like film, not with a cheesy 'film grain layer' keyed over it - we knew we were going to have to render in something much better - but we had to figure out a way to do it without adding time or expense to our process, since there was no budget for it."
The solution involved changing the overnight conform process.

"We broke the episode into three chunks, and conformed each chunk separately.  The first 10 minutes of the show was completed, then we applied a custom film-look treatment using a combination of software plug-ins that had to be rendered.  The render took a long time, and we sent the entire chunk to a dedicated rendering machine as a background process while we conformed the next 10 minutes, which also was sent to the render system.  The final 25 minutes of the episode was then conformed and the film-look was applied and rendered directly on the faster conform/composite system."
By the time Derek arrived in the morning to finish up the show with post production supervisor Allyson Nevil, the systems had finished processing all the material and everything played in real time.  The process neatly folded about 12 hours of rendering into about 6 hours of time that was normally unused after the overnight shift left.

"We still had to do fixes and paint work in the morning sessions, and for that we had to re-render the film look on frames that we changed, but it was totally manageable.  I think everyone breathed a big sigh of relief when we were able to get it all done without adding anything to the bill!"
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