Post is Production, Just Ask Light Iron

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Light Iron produced “The 6K DI Diary: Preparing Today for the Data of Tomorrow” video on Vimeo, a case study exploring integration of 6K media into high end postproduction pipelines. It provides a rare look into the motivations and strategies that shape the post-production pipeline of tomorrow. Michael Cioni, CEO at Light Iron, seems to be keeping his eyes steady on the horizon trying to foresee what hides behind and preparing for future trends and needs. Opportunities and threats need to be closely monitored when running a business, and “if you do not cannibalise yourself, someone else will.”

I cannot hide I am a fan of Light Iron’s On-Set tools and workstations. Although I have to be honest, I am yet to enjoy the full experience (and potential limitations) of supporting an entire project with their tools.  On paper, simplifying tedious tasks and ensuring ‘data safety’ will always score high. Most importantly these tools aim at narrowing the gap between production and post at both the technical and creative levels. When discussing post, there is sometimes an unhealthy obsession with the technology aspect of things, and the tracking of all the ‘creative information’ that will shape the post-production processes is underestimated.

Let’s have a look at Light Iron’s tools available to anyone:

LIVE PLAY® for iPad

One of the amazing feats of digital filmmaking is the ability of ‘seeing’ what we capture as we capture it, and easily play it back without having to wait for lab processing. The video village is a popular location on set, as it gives you access to the ‘eyes’ of the production. We need to keep track of valuable information to be used throughout postproduction.  Directors will react and judge the various takes. The Cinematographer might perform some live grading. The camera department will need to keep track of technical parameters. Script Supervisors, VFX Supervisors and many others will generate copious amounts of information needing to be ‘attached’ to the various takes in a way or another.

Live Play allows you to give ‘eyes’ to all who need to provide information or feedback, with the capacity to enter said info and feedback quickly and easily (the app supports predefined tags, voice annotations, stills grabbing and more). Paired with Teradek’s CUBE H.264 transmitters the app provides all iPads connected to the server (see below) with the various takes shortly after the cut was called. For more detailed information follow the links above.

TODAILIES™ for iPad

The annotation and feedback does not stop on set. Not everybody has the time, not everybody is there and sometimes taking a few steps back simply allows you to see things differently. TODAILIES™ allows you to “take away” the dailies at the end of the day, continue to annotate the various takes with tags and create playlist that can be exported to EDL, XML or AAF. The media is secured and cannot be extracted from the device. For more detailed information follow the links above.

(A quick note on the iPad, its screen cannot be re-calibrated and the factory calibration is more than decent. Everybody is looking at the same sRGB colours, roughly).

LIGHT IRON SERVER™

This is the power and brain behind TODAILIES™ and LIVE PLAY®. it receives the converted media and redistributes it to the various iPads based on the rules and permissions defined in the server app. (You wouldn’t want hair and makeup to walk away from the set with dailies and take deletion rights now, would you?) The application also gathers all the information generated by the iPad apps and allow you to export reports and EDL’s to all the popular formats. For more information follow the link above.

Looking at the current pricing, one could build a limited DIY Light Iron workstation for a very decent price. But, when looking at what is on offer for hire in LA and NY (OUTPOST, LILLY PAD, LILLY PAD Case) one is tempted to rely on the power, experience and ease of use they seem to have packed into their ‘workstations’.  It helps bringing post closer to the set, when needed, and hopefully allow us to wander a little more. But that is a discussion for another blog post.

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