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Red Rentals Mexico Gets Top Results with the SCRATCH-RED 4K Digital Workflow

Rodrigo Huerta and Luis Bustamante, founders of Red Rentals Mexico, knew that filmmakers and agencies are looking for more economical methods for creating and producing high-quality films, documentaries, and TV commercials.  With the advent of RED's 4K digital camera, as well as the SCRATCH-RED 4K Digital Workflow, they immediately realized the potential for producing digital imagery projects on par with 35mm film yet at substantially lesser cost.

"We've eliminated the costs associated with celluloid, including the cost of the film, the cost of outside services, and the number of people involved in the production and post processes. At the same time, we've been able to reduce the time required to produce a high quality imagery project, which equates to less cost and faster time to market for the client," says Huerta.

Huerta adds, "The client has everything to gain from these revolutionary digital cinema technologies, in both cost and more control over the project. The filmmaker and DP have the ability to immediately preview their work and then shoot more footage if necessary before striking the set. In the post phase, editing, client reviews, and color correction all take place in real time. Compared to previous painstaking processes for film post production and reviews, working in a digital format is magical."

The 4K Workflow Applied
Red Rentals Mexico was in charge of the "Julio Regalado" ad campaign, produced by Tribu Films. "We had very tight time constraints for shooting the ads and then doing the subsequent post production. The result has proven to be an excellent example of the benefits of our complete SCRATCH-RED 4K digital workflow," says Huerta.

Image courtesy of Red Rentals Mexico; "Julio Regalado" ad campaign; Color grading within SCRATCH

Huerta explains, "24 TV ads were shot during 12 days. Five of the ads were shot with two cameras. The advantages of shooting digitally were evident the first day of the shoot.  The recorded sequences consisted of several complex dance numbers, and the filmmakers were able to keep shooting without stopping to change magazines because they were using the RED Raid Hard Drive, which allows for up to two and one-half hours of 4K 24p raw data."

"Another advantage was that during the shoot, our Data Manager was able to constantly check the material being shot on set via REDcine. This ensured the material was consistent and free of defects, eliminating the risk of retakes and unpleasant surprises during post production. But probably the biggest advantage was that the complete offline, conform, and color-correction processes could be done without spending the time and money on film developing, telecine, and transfers. All the post production was done directly from the RAW native files generated by the RED 4K camera and within the SCRATCH-RED 4K Workflow," says Huerta.

Fiesta scene in "Julio Regalado" ad campaign, before and after color grading within SCRATCH

The 4K Workflow Saves Time and Costs
"Camera A and B generated files in consecutive order, which allowed us to easily locate and classify the files. Our Data Manager backed up everything to external hard drives on the set, and checked the material at the same time," says Huerta. "At the end of each day, the Data Manager backed up the material to LTO 3A tape and our high-speed RAID back in our office. This ensured the data was securely stored, and also gave us easy access to it for the different steps in post production."

Huerta further explains, "The editors began assembling the ads the next day, following the shoot. They worked in Final Cut Pro 6, using the Quicktime proxies generated by the RED camera, and without the need to do format conversions or transfers.  This made the process amazingly efficient."

"Once the work print was approved, the editor would send us an EDL. Immediately after receiving it, the project was conformed using SCRATCH. The color grading for all the ads was also done on SCRATCH by Engineer Victor Bautista in eight-hour sessions covering six ads per session. Only the post-production supervisor was present at this stage," says Huerta. "Afterward, there was another four-hour client session to fine tune the details and color grading. We were able to finish the complete post production for the 24 versions of the ad campaign in a total of 48 hours divided in four sessions on SCRATCH at two hours per version. Our client and the production company were extremely pleased with the results they realized from our 4K workflow. They are convinced that SCRATCH is a powerful color grading tool, and that at the hands of an experienced colorist, it has the same or even more potential than similar yet more costly color correction systems."

Huerta notes, "All this serves to point out some of the most important advantages that SCRATCH offers: Real-time functionality, unlimited windows capabilities, 16-bit color grading space, and an advanced user interface that enables users to work faster and be more productive than with other systems. SCRATCH is also the only software capable of reading the native RED RAW files, which is the only way to work with the RED ONE 4K camera. It just doesn't work if the RED data is converted to DPX format to be corrected in any other system. This makes SCRATCH the only viable means to maximize the quality and dynamic range of a RED 4K Camera-generated file."

Hansel and Gretel scene in "Julio Regalado" ad campaign, before and after color grading within SCRATCH.

"This project concluded with each sequence exported to frame sequences to be processed by Cluster Studios. For them, the process was very easy since the material was handed to them a week and a half before the ads needed to be completed. This gave them enough time to complete the visual effects and compositing required for each version," says Huerta. 

Final Thoughts
"In summary for us, this project serves as an important example of a streamlined 4K digital workflow" says Huerta, "The RED 4K camera and the SCRATCH-RED 4K Workflow enabled us to fulfill the vision of our clients for superior imagery quality, yet within a very tight timeline.  We were also able to reduce costs and tighten up the schedule by eliminating cumbersome processes for film stock, such as transfers, developing, scanning, and outside services.  The combination of SCRATCH and RED in a 4K workflow is definitely the right solution for us and our clients. It puts us at the forefront of technology and the market."

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Related Keywords:DI, digital intermediate, digital facility, filmmaking, editing, 4K Digital Workflow


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