If you needed a sign that the times are indeed a-changing, look no further than Televisual Creative’s Future of Post forum. The event, in which leading lights of the post community came together to puzzle out the challenges and opportunities posed by HDR workflows and IP connectivity/remote working, drew CTOs and technical leads from over 50 of Britain’s top post houses, eager for insight into these two scorchingly hot topics.
We were official sponsors of the event (along with Avid, Quantum, Rohde & Schwarz and AJA) so our team were out in force, with M&E Operations Director Graham McGuinness and M&E Sales Director Rupert Watson chairing the connectivity and HDR panels respectively, and Jigsaw24 engineer Phil Crawley took to the stage to interview Dolby’s Ian Lowe about the unique remote workflow employed at the Dolby Theatre (which also hosted the event).
For those of you who missed it (or even those of you who want to relive the heady thrill of hearing about double utilisation), here’s a quick recap of what happened.
The IP/connectivity session kicked off with Televisual’s James Bennett interviewing Jigsaw24 engineer Phil Crawley and Dolby’s Ian Lowe about their unique remote access workflow, in which colourists in the Dolby Theatre remotely access the workstations and data back at their facility via a GUI. This gives them access to the theatre’s uniquely powerful display capabilities and acoustics for their grading and mastering, while ensuring that they obey strict data security requirements.
In order to achieve a system that had no compression, no latency, the ability to handle all flavours of 4K and HDR and the ability to support remote control of end points, Dolby are using quad-link 3G SDI carried over fibre provided by us and euNetworks, and, through a combination of dark fibre and optical multiplexers they’re confident they can maintain the bandwidth needed to handle uncompressed, no-latency 4K HDR footage – without any of the artefacts that they saw using other solutions – in their Theatre and Home grading environments.
They’re already linked to three of London’s top post houses, and have used the remote grading systems on films including Fantastic Beasts and Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
The key to remote working
Following on from Dolby’s unique workflow, we joined Daniel Napier, Technical Director of Halo Post, Avid’s Territory Sales Manager Patrick Nelson, Dolby’s Senior Sales Manager Ian Lowe and Oliver Pennington, Head of Engineering at global fibre providers Sohonet for a panel discussion of the current state of play when it came to remote workflows.
Avid are looking to strengthen their support for remote workflows within Interplay, while Dolby are looking to extend access to their facilities and Daniel Napier and the team at Halo have managed to centralise the machine rooms of all their facilities, so that artists can remote in from any location. As a side effect of this Halo have seen first hand one of the most widely discussed benefits of remote working: every suite in their facility can now be multi-purpose, as artists are no longer dependant on specific rooms to do their work, and they can also double utilisation of any given space by having one user working in the room while someone else accesses the same resources virtually.
Key technology recommended by the panel included dark and CWDM fibre (the cost of which is falling), the importance of Teradici when it came to standardising KVM over IP (we’d suggest you look at our preferred solution, Amulet Hotkey, which uses the Teradici’s Tera2 chip set), and the variety of methods, many of them developed in-house, that people had come up with for remotely accessing and logging footage.
HDR in post
After another barnstorming James Bennett interview (this time with Molinare CTO Richard Wilding), our Sales Director Rupert Watson hosted the standing-room-only HDR Post panel, which featured Wilding, Technicolor London’s Head of Technology Phil Oatley, and product specialists representing AJA, Atomos and Quantum, as they discussed the HDR workflow early adopters like Molinare are using, and the technology that helps them handle the sheer volume of data created.
Richard revealed that Molinare are now working with files that are up to 36 times the size of those you’d see in a traditional HD workflow – existing infrastructure is struggling to cope, and moving assets around is a constant challenge. There’s also a very real technology lag between the solutions available for grading film, and the solutions for delivering subtitles and captions, which are still tweaked by eye.
Also emphasised was the importance of working closely with production crews, who are also dealing with new standards – just as platforms have very different, specific mastering guidelines, their kit lists leave out key cameras and monitors, meaning many crews are developing their HDR workflow with unfamiliar kit.
Also out in force to feed people’s palatable appetite for new knowledge about HDR were Atomos, who shot the below video at the event. They brought along their SUMO HDR monitors, paired up with a Canon C300 Mk II and ready to test (sadly the footage in the video is filtered through YouTube, but believe that it was beautiful on the day).
Want to know more?
If you’re interested in more talks like this, take a look at our upcoming events or sign up for our newsletter so we can keep you up to date with new events as they’re announced. For more information, get in touch with our team on the details below.