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Sapphire Plug-ins Play Role in Days of Our Lives

(June 17, 2004)

?Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives. For the last four decades, these words have introduced and underscored one of daytime dramas rare mainstays. First premiered in 1965, NBCs Days of Our Lives remains today a perennial favorite among viewers of all ages. 

Featuring multi-layered storylines involving elements of romance, adventure, mystery, comedy and drama, Days of Our Lives has received numerous Emmy Awards and nominations, as well as multiple Soap Opera Digest Awards and Peoples Choice Awards.  The shows success is derived from its consistent commitment to excellence in writing and storytelling supported by best-in-class editing and effects. In fact, the show was most recently the recipient of a Daytime Emmy Award for ?Outstanding Achievement in Multiple Camera Editing for a Drama Series. 

Lugh Powers, lead editor for Corday Productions which produces Days of Our Lives, comments:

Courtesy of Corday Productions, Days of Our Lives.
 ?Over the years, the look and feel of the show has changed a fair amount.  With story lines involving ghosts and apparitions, flashbacks into the past, insights into dreams and other supernatural elements, we have become very effects-heavy for a daytime show.  Since I joined the Days of Our Lives team 3 years ago, I have designed and implemented most of the shows effects with Sapphire Plug-ins from GenArts.

When Corday Productions transitioned from a tape-based linear editing process to a digital post-production process, the company invested in 3 Avid Symphonys, turbo-charged with GenArts Sapphire Plug-ins, all of them connected to an Avid Unity. 

?After much research into available effects packages for our Symphonys, I became convinced that Sapphire Plug-ins featured some of the most useful, if not the prettiest effects that I ever ran into. The immense production value of our investment in Sapphire became clear early on.  It not only enhanced the overall quality as far as the effects of the show are concerned, but we were able to make real-time savings that had a direct bottom line dollar impact.   I was able to create gorgeous effects in a fraction of the time -- effects that were totally unique to us, because Sapphire is ultimately so tweakable and flexible, comments Lugh.

Since then, Lugh and his team have used Sapphire on every single show. 

 ?Sapphire features such a wide range of effects that its difficult to say which ones are my favorites.  But I guess that the two effects that I use most regularly are Solarize and FilmEffect.  In fact, just today I built an entire sequence that was 38 seconds, based on what weve called the ?vortex effect; its a backwards-in-time type of process and we built it using a combination of Sapphires SoftFocus, WarpPuddle, DissolveLuma and the Shake effect, explains Lugh. 

?Ive also used the Shake effect a lot for everything ranging from helicopter flights to earthquakes to other worldly spirits shaking things up.  Weve used Glare, Glint, Dissolve, and Blur many a time, and also AutoPaint as a layer superimposed with other effects to get a very unique texture look and feel.

One effect Lugh and his crew use all the time to create a transition of fantasies and flashbacks is the Streak effect, which is something that they used originally for Celeste, one of the lead characters, who has a very unique way of seeing the universe.  Lugh explains:

Courtesy of Corday Productions, Days of Our Lives.
?The combination of the color change and the streaking in Sapphire Streak helped us create this flash effect that is much more effective than a traditional white flash to whip into a characters thought process.  Even though we originally designed it for the Celeste character, we found it so effective that we expanded it to use with several other characters.  Its become a very commonly used flash effect for us, he adds. 

This increasing emphasis on visual effects and creative editing was particularly apparent in the episode for which Lugh and his team were awarded this years Daytime Emmy.  In the award-winning episode (number 9664), one of the main characters is faced with the very difficult decision to take her husband, Jack, off life support after he was attacked by the ?Salem stalker. 

?This particular episode lent itself to a tremendous amount of visual creativity.  I was able to implement a lot of different editorial techniques; parallel editing, jumping back and forth between different moments in time.  In one of the scenes, we did a re-cap or a montage of past events that brought viewers up to speed with how all these characters had gotten to this point.  The past was effected using a combination of Sapphire Solarize, Tint, DuoTone and FilmEffect mixed with the color effect in the Avid Symphony to create a totally unique sepia look, explains Lugh.

In one of the most moving scenes, Jacks spirit rises from his now deceased body as he steps off into the other realm, looking lovingly onto his family. 

?To create the ghost of Jack we built what we called the ?ghost effect which was basically a combination of Sapphires Etching, Glow, and SoftFocus effects, and Avids animatte.  It was a very touching moment and we could not have made it work so effectively without the Sapphire effects.

?It was a wonderful show for which we were given a lot of latitude by the executive producer to really do some wonderfully creative things.  And we were very blessed that the Academy felt it was worth recognizing.  I dont think anything could be said about that show without absolutely mentioning the use of Sapphire Plug-ins.  The show would not have had the visual impact that it had without them.  And I mean this most sincerely.  They really made those effects, fantasy moments and flashbacks really pop.  They are a wonderful set of really beautiful effects, and theyre worth every penny and then some!

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