The Disney motion picture Safety utilized a complete DaVinci Resolve Studio workflow from principal photography through final delivery, incorporating a digital asset management (DAM) system on set built around Blackmagic Design’s switchers, recorders, routers and monitors. The film premiered on Disney+ last month.
Safety is a drama inspired by the empowering story of former Clemson University football safety Ray McELrathBey (Jay Reeves), a young man facing a series of challenging circumstances, whose dedication and persistence help him to triumph over repeated adversities. Aided by his teammates and the Clemson community, he succeeds on the field while raising and caring for his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson).
Even before the pandemic of 2020, the need to be more efficient and cost effective, both on set and in post, had become a priority and a necessity for ever tightening budgets. Executive producer Doug Jones knew the practical answer was to improve the technological workflow on set, get rid of the unnecessary roadblocks between set and post, while allowing editors to better interface with production. Jones began to see how DaVinci Resolve, combined with integrated Blackmagic hardware on set, could provide an “online all the time” pipeline, and would save not only time but also money.
Working with director Reginald Hudlin, cinematographer Shane Hurlbut ASC and editor Terel Gibson, the team outlined how the pipeline could help make production more efficient. The process they developed was simple and manageable by one operator on set. When production cameras rolled, they automatically triggered HyperDeck Studio Mini recorders on the DAM cart to record simultaneously, with matching time code, creating immediate playback footage. That same video feed was live graded onset with DaVinci Resolve, allowing video village and remote creatives to view only colored footage rather than raw, uncolored imagery. Thus, colored playback was available right away, with dailies available twice daily both onset as well as remotely, when uploaded to secure cloud services. Live images and recorded shots were immediately available throughout the set via ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K switchers and Teranex Mini SDI Distribution 12G boxes. Audio was handled by the Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G.
Decision-makers on set who have impact on post decisions, such as directors and DPs, were able to make notes on clips that went through the DAM cart directly to editorial. Even script supervisor notes were added to metadata and available to editorial immediately. Camera original shots were downloaded from storage cards directly to high speed RAID drives, which were then delivered to nearby postproduction multiple times a day.
Hurlbut said, “We were able to track all metadata coming out of the cameras and put that right into our RAID system, send shots all the way up to Disney and keep everyone on the same communication level, with same day dailies that kept the studio feeling very connected to the film.” The comprehensive system gave creatives at every level not only a sense of involvement, but the ability to directly interact.
“The system enables us to engage the studio with decisions, because now they’re seeing same day dailies,” said Hurlbut. “Imagine that we’re shooting in Atlanta and we are processing all the dailies at lunch, and again at wrap. The studio is seeing dailies at four o’clock on the West Coast, right before they go home. They’re able to talk to Reggie. They’re able to talk to the other producers. They’re getting everyone dialed in. Everyone feels like they have a voice. And everyone feels like they’re absolutely included in the creative process.”