The American Society of Cinematographers

Loyalty • Progress • Artistry
Return to Table of Contents
Return to Table of Contents October 2013 Return to Table of Contents
Page 2
Page 3
Presidents Desk
ASC Close-Up

Organizing a 9-Camera Workflow

Erhard Giesen, Valentin Steiner and Gregor Baumert

Nine digital camera systems were used on Rush, and two German companies, Cinepostproduction in Berlin and Farbkult in Cologne, collaborated to handle the on-set image workflow. Three people staffed our mobile lab: a data wrangler, a DIT and a colorist. At the peak of production, when the race unit was filming, we had to double our manpower to have two shifts of three people working around the clock.

Cameras and recording formats were as follows: Arri Alexas captured ArriRaw on Codex Recorders and (as an initial backup) in ProRes 4:4:4:4 to SxS cards; Canon C300s captured in MPEG2 8-bit CanonLog 1920x1080 24ps to CF cards; Indiecam GS2K and POV cameras captured in 10-bit raw in 4:2:2 uncompressed QuickTimes to Hyperdeck Shuttle SSD; the Phantom Flex (used by a splinter unit) captured in CineRaw 12-bit variable resolution and frame rate on CineMags; the V.I.O. POV.HD captured in QuickTime H.264; the Red Epic (used for visual-effects plates) captured in Redcode 5K 5:1; and the Canon 1D and GoPro cameras (both rarely used) captured in QuickTime H.264.

We ingested all the cameras’ file formats directly into Colorfront’s On-Set Dailies without transcoding them. (The developers at Colorfront provided us with special software builds that enabled us to read Indiecam’s raw video format.) Within OSD, we synced sound, did the QC, and did the 2K dailies grading with Anthony Dod Mantle directly on the original files, most of which were raw/un-demosaiced. From OSD, we could directly render into the desired editorial codec, DNxHD, and create Web dailies.

All camera data was backed up three times in the original camera formats. To streamline the workflow for the conforming stage of post, we carefully amended the camera files of the Indiecam, V.I.O., GoPro and Canon 1D cameras. We assigned filenames in a Red- or Alexa-like fashion; some files had to be re-wrapped into a different file container altogether while preserving the original video byte stream; and, finally, we altered the QuickTime files so they would have a meaningful time-code track and tape-name information. All in all, we tried to preserve as much information present on set as possible while ensuring there would be no degradation of the footage.

For all footage, MD5 checksums were created and stored centrally. We did this with custom software because all available software turned out to be too slow. Because of the nature of frame sequences, at the end of the shoot there were more than 12 million files under our watch.

The 66-day shoot generated about 140 Terabytes of data. Because we stored footage in three locations, we had to move more than 400 TB of camera data during the shoot. Accordingly, we had four workstations and three storage servers, all connected by 10-Gigabit fiber channel network. In the Farbkult van, we had two Mac workstations and a 104 TB Supermicro Raid 6 NAS. In the Cinepostproduction 3D Cinema Trailer, there was another NAS, an Ardis Raid 6 DDP with 40 TB, and the Colorfront OSD system running on two Z800 workstations. The Cinema Trailer was equipped with a 3.7-meter (roughly 12') screen and a Christie 2K projector. There were also two Z400 slaves doing the OSD rendering in the background.

For the length of the shoot, we had a dedicated 10-kilowatt diesel generator supplying us with power around the clock.

All footage was stored in three places: One copy was on the DDP/NAS, and the other two were single bulk 3 TB SATA disks, one of them Mac and the other Windows formatted. Immediately after the server received the footage, QC, sound syncing and grading could begin in the Cinema Trailer.

In OSD, all footage was first brought into Log C. (We couldn’t utilize ACES because it had limited support at the time.) Thanks to OSD and GPU-based rendering, we could process all output formats (H.264 and DNxHD) faster than real time.

Dailies were delivered in 1080p on USB thumb drives and uploaded to Cinepost’s Copra online-dailies system. Avid DNxHD36 1080p24 MXF files were created and delivered daily to editorial on a shuttle drive. We also exported 2K DPX files for the visual-effects team because that work commenced during the shoot.

At the end of the shoot, Company 3 received the NAS and the two sets of naked SATA drives with all the footage.


<< previous || next >>