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HD Postproduction Heats Up with Avid DS Nitris

Fahrenheit 9/11, Collateral and others created with 10-bit HD finishing system (August 18, 2004)

Avid Technology, Inc. today announced that editorial teams for some of the summer's most high-profile studio and independent films including Fahrenheit 9/11, Collateral, Riding Giants, and Alexander have chosen to use the Avid DS Nitris system for HD postproduction. These teams are using Avid's most powerful real-time, 10-bit HD finishing system for work that ranges from creating HD versions of the films for director and test-audience preview screenings to outputting HD masters that are used to generate final film prints.

?Avid DS Nitris is having a major impact on the feature film industry, as editors for a growing number of films from indie hits to Hollywood blockbusters are recognizing the quality, efficiency, and cost-saving benefits of HD postproduction, said Patrick Ready, Partner at Pivotal Post, a leading Los Angeles Avid equipment and services provider. ?We're seeing increased demand for Avid DS Nitris from top industry productions because the system works so well with existing feature filmworkflows, especially in the way it conforms the edits and effects created on Avid Film Composer and Media Composer. The system also delivers uncompromising picture quality, giving film editors a high level of accuracy for color correction and other special effects work, as well as enabling them to output HD masters that look flawless on the big screen.

Creating Final Film Prints from HD Masters
For Michael Moore's record-breaking documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 , Technical Supervisor Joe Beirne built a workflow that included Avid Media Composer, Avid Symphony and Avid DS Nitris systems. The postproduction team's first step was to edit the footage, which originated from a wide variety of news broadcasts and other HD and SD video sources, at 30 fps on a Media Composer system. They then converted all the 30 fps EDLs to 24 (23.98) progressive and ?pre-conformed' the media sources in the Avid Symphony system. When the team conformed to HD on the Avid DS Nitris system, all of the effects created in the Media Composer and Symphony systems automatically appeared, and the editors were able to perform high-end mastering in uncompressed HD. They then created a final 24p master from the Avid DS Nitris system and used it to generate a digital intermediate from which several 35mm original negatives were made for the widely distributed feature.

Beirne noted, ?We were working with a wide-range of SD source material, including 25i, 30i, 25i converted to 30i, as well as with our own HD footage, and needed to end up with a 24p master. Using this all-Avid workflow was the only way we could economically manage all of the frame-rate complexities in the post process, and at the same time, preserve our creative work. The decision to go with Avid DS Nitris gave us much peace of mind, because it enabled us to quickly conform changes to a constantly evolving offline cut, and at the same time move forward with a sophisticated finishing process."

Riding Giants, the film that opened the 2004 Sundance Film Festival, used a similar postproduction workflow. Editor Paul Crowder initially cut the acclaimed surfing documentary on an Avid Media Composer Meridien system and then seamlessly transferred all the media to his new Media Composer Adrenaline system during production. The Riding Giants postproduction team finished the film in HD at Technicolor Creative Services in Los Angeles , using the Avid DS Nitris system for color correction and mastering for final film printing. The film was released theatrically on July 9.

Replacing Film with HD for Preview Screenings
In addition to creating final masters with the Avid DS Nitris system, filmmakers are also using the product to produce HD preview screenings for directors, studios, film festivals, and test audiences during the postproduction phase replacing film workprints traditionally used in the screening process.

Working with Avid equipment provider Orbit Digital, the postproduction team for Michael Mann's recently released feature film, Collateral, used the Avid DS Nitris system to create preview versions of the film by re-digitizing offline cuts in HD and screening them in the cutting room as a security measure, keeping all of the footage under close control. The team also used the Avid DS Nitris system to perform color correction adjustments, which guided the final digital intermediate color grading process.

For Oliver Stone's Alexander , editors conformed the film's offline edit from Avid Film Composer systems into Avid DS Nitris systems as a single sequence, including audio and visual effects. Similar to the team from Collateral , they used the Avid DS Nitris systems to perform color correction previews that were later used as a visual reference for the final color grading. They then created HD-CAM masters and screened the HD previews for studio personnel multiple times during postproduction.

For more information about the Avid DS Nitris system, please visit

About Avid Technology, Inc.
Avid Technology, Inc. is the world leader in digital nonlinear media creation, management, and distribution solutions, enabling film, video, audio, animation, games, and broadcast professionals to work more efficiently, productively, and creatively. For more information about the company's Oscar, Grammy, and Emmy award-winning products and services, please visit:



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Related Keywords:Postproduction, Avid, DS Nitris, HD finishing, Avid Technology, Patrick Ready, Pivotal Post, Avid Film Composer, Media Composer, Joe Beirne, Avid Symphony, Paul Crowder, Avid Media Composer Meridien, Media Composer Adrenaline, Technicolor Creative Services, Orbit Digital,


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