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Blackmagic Design Products Integral Part of HD Online Workflow for Award Winner at Sundance 2008


San Jose, California, USA .- Blackmagic Design today announced that its new Multibridge Pro and Workgroup Videohub were an integral part of the online workflow for “Fields of Fuel, ” winner of “The Audience Award: Documentary” at Sundance 2008. Blackmagic Design products enabled the highest quality capture, layback, monitoring and deck control, and easiest hardware switching in the challenging online for the film’s final post production phase prior to premiering at Sundance for Digital Neural Axis (DNA) and thesandbox.

“Fields of Fuel” is a feature length HD documentary about one man’s search for an alternative to America’s dependence on foreign oil. The movie unveils a curtain of deception covering America’s crippling dependence on foreign oil as it explores possible solutions to the energy crisis.

Co-producers and online editors, Darius Fisher, founder of DNA, and Todd Sali, founder of thesandbox, enthusiastically jumped into final editing when the film was definitely headed to Sundance. This collaborative online editing between their companies was done at thesandbox, with color correction and motion graphics being done at the DNA office nearby. Darius and Todd, experienced post production supervisors and online editors, did just about everything in the online process -- up-rezzed, conformed, fine cut, and even brought in music. But the biggest challenge was dealing with over 20 different video formats that had to be onlined and turned into 1080 ProRes HQ at 24 frames per second.

“We were asked to pull off a massive non-traditional online in an incredibly short period of time. I had used Blackmagic Design products on numerous other projects so turned to them for a solution on this project. I was excited to use the Multibridge Pro with all its new options and because it works with a wide range of analog and digital video hardware out there and can convert, if need be, every format to HD/SDI or HDMI, something we thought would be crucial with all the different video formats we were using,” said Darius. “The Multibridge Pro performed extremely well, giving us the highest quality pixel for pixel realtime monitoring of all the material that we were upconverting into our 1080p online. Seeing mistakes as they occurred helped minimize mistakes. There was hardly anytime to re-do anything.”

Instead of working with beautifully clean and reliable EDLs with all tape sources properly logged like a traditional online, Darius and Todd were handed video in almost two dozen different formats from stock footage from over 10 years of filming. They had to contend with everything from SD video, including Beta SP, D-Beta, HI-8 tapes to lots of HDCAM, P2, and DV, YouTube, and anything else with different frame rates and it all had to be conformed into 1080 ProRes HQ. Using a top-of-the-line Teranex and the new Multibridge Pro, they were able to quickly and easily convert all the different formats into ProRes HQ, checking the Teranex settings were correct thanks to the Multibridge Pro monitoring. The final result came from a 23.98PsF Final Cut Pro timeline laid off to tape by the Multibridge Pro adding 3.2 pulldown on the fly, creating the final 1080i/59.94 festival screening version in HDCAM for Sundance.

“We were excited to work on a project so close to our hearts – we are passionate about the environment,” said Todd. “When asked to co-produce “Fields of Fuel”, we had barely two months to finish the film for Sundance, and we couldn’t afford to lose a second. Since Darius already had the basic Blackmagic Design online workflow in place, we knew we could depend on their tools to work as hard as we were working. We put on all of our hats (editing, producing, cinematography, graphics design, etc.), locked our arms together, and hit the ground running.

They worked on Mac Pro 3.0 Ghz systems at thesandbox, using the new Multibridge Pro for capture and layback. Additionally, they used a Boland 42” LCD and a Teranex VC300 x4-fc-2 converter. The brain of their Xsan was a G5 and they used a G-Speed XL to handle the large storage requirements of the wide variety of video formats. Color correction and motion graphics were done at the DNA facility on a Mac Pro with a Multibridge Pro and another Boland 26” LCD running Apple Color. All the hardware -- computers, drives, monitors – were routed through the Workgroup Videohub which easily enabled either of them to switch control of any decks or the Teranex or their output to the 42” LCD monitor or to a Sony 20” CRT.

The Blackmagic Design Multibridge Pro is the world’s first external PCI Express capture and playback solution that instantly switches between SD, HD and 2K, in 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 video quality. It connects to PC or Mac computers with high speed 10 Gb/s PCI Express for the world’s highest quality editing system, or use independently as a bi-directional SDI video converter. The Blackmagic Design Multibridge Pro is compatible with a wide range of video software including Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, After Effects®, Fusion™, Photoshop® and many others for both Mac and Windows-based PCs.

The Workgroup Videohub is an industrial strength routing switcher that easily eliminates complicated manual cable patching by connecting everyone together into a fully featured professional routing switcher. It automatically switches between standard definition SDI and high definition SDI with full 12x24 routing and deck control.


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