- Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012
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The move to digital acquisition has transformed many film and television sets into something akin to the control center for a moon launch as they have taken on a hoard of high-tech equipment for capturing, storing, processing and backing-up digital camera data. Not so with "Cuban Fury", StudioCanal's new romantic comedy, which was among the first film productions to use The Vault, Codex's new on-set digital laboratory solution that reduces the technology required to manage camera data to a single box the size of a small suitcase.
Released for production use earlier this year, The Vault provides a standardized, standalone workflow for digital productions, including those using multiple camera systems. It can be deployed on-set or near-set and offers a simple and efficient way to process dailies for review, editorial, post production and archive.
"Cuban Fury", directed by James Griffiths and lensed by cinematographer Dick Pope, was shot with two ARRI Alexa cameras with ARRIRAW camera data captured by Codex Onboard M recorders. When the recorders' data-packs were full, they were ported to an on-set Vault and it was used to off-load the data and make back-ups. The ARRIRAW data was then transferred to a second Vault, located near-set, for dailies processing. This second Vault produced media for review, editorial, visual effects and archival purposes. All of the Codex gear was supplied by Movietech.
"The Vault was perfect for this production, because it allowed us to remain small scale," observes Peter Marsden, the production's Digital Imaging Technician. "Normally on a digital feature, you have lots of equipment that adds lots of weight to the camera truck, but here all that was reduced to a single, compact machine."
The Vault is not only small, it's highly efficient. Marsden notes that the speed with which the system was able to off-load camera data allowed him to employ a minimum number of recorder datapacks, six between two cameras. Production was never slowed by the need to process camera data, he says, and, in fact, The Vault could have easily accommodated a more complicated workflow. "The system had plenty of capacity," he says. "I could have added a third camera and still kept everything 100 percent backed up."
Significantly, this workflow eliminated the need for an external laboratory infrastructure. "We didn't have the risk of sending original camera media off-set for processing," he says. "It was all done within the confines of the location. It clones the media very quickly and provided the assurance that it was correct and secure."
"The Vault workflow is more like a traditional film workflow," Marsden adds. "On a film shoot, you don't send the magazines off to a lab; you unload them on the set. It kept everything simple and small scale."
The second Vault was set up in the film's production office. "We used it to generate files for editorial," Marsden notes. "It allowed us to create Avid files with a customized burn-in including timecode and slate data, as well as a standard ARRI 3D LUT. It also allowed us to create 10-bit DPX frames as & when required for use by the visual effects company."
In addition to reducing costs and providing a more efficient means for processing camera data, The Vault allowed the whole production team to be less focused on technology. Cinematographer Dick Pope, Marsden notes, never had to worry about how his imagery was being processed.
The Vault also made Marsden's job easier simply by occupying a smaller footprint. "Someone on the set looked at The Vault and said to me, 'Is that it?'" he recalls. "The system occupied one end of the top tray of my magliner. That's how compact it is. I'm carrying less equipment than I ever have before."
Codex, who are based in London, England design and manufacture high-end digital equipment for motion picture and television production, products include the award-winning high-resolution media recorders and a range of media management stations to manage the entire workflow of a digital production from set to post production. The company is setting new standards for end-to-end production workflow.
For more information please visit www.codexdigital.com.
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