4K for TV

4K for TV
Case Study of Sony Pictures Television efforts in 4K Production
Phil Squyres, SVP, Technical Operations
Sony Pictures Television
With assistance and comments from Bill Baggelaar, SVP, Technologies, Colorworks
And Rebecca Moon, Project Coordinator, Colorworks
4K the new 3D ?
…is it our new benchmark for the future ?
4K was the big topic at CES
It certainly seems it might be MORE viable than 3D…
There is already serious movement to extend the broadcast & distribution
sections of our industry out to support 4K and even 8K
There is a healthy industry in signage and digital display that will no doubt
drive the growth of 4K
Digital Cinema has adopted it to an extent…
It’s much easier to extend production & post to 4K than to 3D
Incremental instead of geometrical in terms of effort & gear
Easier to visualize the added value of a very high or ULTRA high
resolution master in your vault
SPT has shot 5 productions in 4K
Made In Jersey – 1 hr drama for CBS – pursued at the request of the DP
DP Daryn Okada – Sony F65 – completed 8 episodes (finished in HD only @ Technicolor)
Save Me – ½ hr comedy for NBC
DP Lloyd Ahern – Sony F65 – 8/13 completed (all 4K finish @ Colorworks)
Masters of Sex – 1 hr period drama for Showtime (all 4K finish @ Colorworks)
DP Michael Weaver – Sony F65 - 2/10 completed
Michael J Fox – ½ hr comedy pilot for NBC (4K finish @ Colorworks) – complete all 22
episodes in 4K (at a lab, yet to be chosen, in NYC)
DP Michael Grady – Sony F65
PLUS – JUSTIFIED – Season 3 & 4 shot on the Red Epic in 4K (HD) – DP Francis Kenney
4K Remastering
Breaking Bad – 1 hr drama for AMC
Shot 35mm 3 perf – currently being remastered in 4K @ Colorworks
Currently working on season 2
SPT will shoot 3-5+ pilots in 4K
Comedy pilot LA – ½ hr. – all F55
Comedy pilot NYC – ½ hr. – F65/F55
Drama pilot LA – 1 hr. – all F55
Big Drama pilot LA – 1 hr. – probably all F55
Big Drama pilot outside LA – 1 hr. – F55/F65
Possibly 1-2 more comedy ½ hrs. – 4K
Why 4K for TV?
Business – future proof your library against technical
advancements - UHDTV & consumer displays capable of 4K
Creative – 4K raw (especially on the F65 & F55 gives us incredible
exposure latitude, color space, resolution for reframing & blowups)
Technical – 4K raw is not only closer to film so that you can begin
treating it like film…but its workflow* is more efficient than film
*once you figure it out….
4K for TV
Cover what we’ve learned producing TV episodes in 4K with details in these key areas….
24P Dailies Lab / Colorworks
Operated by Sony Pictures
Television to support dailies for
our single camera productions
Operated by Sony Studios to
support mastering and finishing
of features and TV product
Process dailies for editorial…
archive footage to LTO and do
some visfx pulls… offer color
management support either in
preproduction or limited amount
of nightly dailies color grading
Supports 4K and 2K transfers,
conforms, grading and titling
Connected to Colorworks /TV
Production Backbone via 10gigE
TV Finishing is a separate
operation geared to faster pace
production and post of TV
episodics and movies
The two facilities work together to complete our 4K productions for TV
Bill Baggelaar
SVP, Technologies, Colorworks
4K Issues
Size of the data and the bandwidth to move files around in your
facility is something you have to pay attention to…
Camera packages - should NOT cost more
Cost of media can be moderated (by investment)
Movement of large files can be minimized by workflow design
New options reduce costs of grading and finishing 4K
ON SET - Cameras
The F65 is smaller & lighter than the F35 or Genesis
It is bulkier than the Alexa, but shorter – front to back
The Red Epic and F55 are smaller and lighter than Alexa, F65,
F35, or 35mm film
Regardless…4K is easier to shoot and deal with as compared to 3D
Looking at combination F65 & F55 packages
ON SET - Media
LOCAL SHOWS – Send the camera media directly to the
lab with no onset backup
Our typical F65 shows shoot with 4-1TB cards per day ***
At the dailies lab, those cards can be downloaded, archived and
returned to set by the next afternoon using lab-sized systems.
Eliminates the need for on set data wrangling – saves time and
Consider purchasing these cards rather than renting which
reduces the cost of camera package.
ON SET - Media
OUT OF TOWN – We’re experimenting with 2 optional
workflows to protect us against the catastrophic loss of the
original 4K files.
Previously - We never had a cost effective option to backup
film or linear tape and… the only experience we ever had
with loss… was with film (xray), never on videotape.
ON SET - Media
Parallel Backup
using HD recorders, which can trigger to record each time the 4K recorders
start and stop…we capture the camera output in HD only – which we can
uprez back to 4K for inclusion in the 4K master if need be.
Local Backup with parallel proxy recording
Use external device to capture a dnx115 copy during shooting – send that to the
lab via internet or courier for dailies creation
Send 4K cards to a local near set operation for downloading and backup
overnight or…..
4K files held on a local RAID until the 4K shuttle drive arrives at the lab (2x a
week via Fed EX instead of an expensive nightly courier drop)
We learned quite early on that processing dailies (logging, syncing,
color, trimming) using the full size original 4K files was anathema!
Requires expensive hardware, netware, and hogs all the resources
you have.
We opted to make a proxy copy of the 4K early in the dailies
NOT a proxy to use for HD mastering - we’re mastering in 4K
This is specifically a proxy to use for creating HD editorial dailies.
This then is a challenge for onset systems
Download 4K from SR Memory cards using 2 Sony D1 readers into a
Resolve workstation attached to a very fast raid via SAS. (max out the
speed of the D1s)
Raid serves as a temporary storage location and keeps the 4K files off
of our WIP SAN.
If we’re doing dailies color grading at the lab – Resolve can be used
working directly off the fast raid…prior to transcoding the files
Resolve is used to transcode the 4K (with or without color) to dnx115
which is then pushed onto the Dailies SAN
These dnx115 files are used in our dailies system to organize, log,
sync, apply color (if color is done on-set or by presets), and to trim
the clips.
The processing to editorial dnx36 is pushed off to a faster
workstation for the actual transcode to 36.
The editorial dnx is consolidated and the bins and ales are merged
to facilitate re-linking.
Finally, h.264 & MPEG2 files are transcoded from the finished and
confirmed dnx36 editorial files.
Immediately after ingest of the 4K files into the fast raid…
The cards are sent to ARCHIVE for copying onto a “Post
Raid” – portable 12TB raids for moving camera original files
around to other labs, visFX pulls and as the source for our
4K LTO archival tapes.
After the 4K-to-DNX115 proxy is completed, the 4K files are
pushed from that fast raid… over 10 gig lines to Colorworks
for eventual conforming the 4K master.
Creative editing progresses as usual…dnx36 files on the Avid
(assistant editors know they have greater latitude with
blowups and repositions for HD release)
VisFX pulls are done as needed…typically as dpx sequences
Stock footage is pulled as HD or 2K and uprezzed for
inclusion into the 4K master
Finishing in 4K?
Some might question the necessity of finishing in 4K at this
point in time…
Why not just capture 4K, use a mezzanine or proxy copy to
finish in HD and hold the 4K for later remastering
After all, no one is viewing 4K today…
Doing the work twice… cost = 2X
Doing it the second time is more difficult, especially if its
done much later
We’re learning about that lesson on the remastering project
for Breaking Bad – 6 seasons of shows in HD
Rescanning and remastering BB in 4K
Issues faced in later remastering
In ANY TV show, there are last minute “discoveries” noted during
the final stages of post…typically during grading.
Then last minute “fixes” are inserted to meet the creative intent,
cover goofs and to meet deadlines.
Often these fixes are last minute, seat of the pants, “coverups” that
aren’t well documented if even noted in some paperwork.
In any episode, there may be several…in 100 episodes = there can
be several hundred “hidden undocumented fixes”
Rebecca Moon
Project Coordinator, 4K TV Finishing & Remastering, Colorworks
Remember we’re now working
in 4K for 4K release…
The viewer will now be able to SEE more of these bits
The remastering will HAVE to deal with them
The reconform process that MIGHT have been automatic… stops while creative
humans study the problem and try to figure out WHAT was done
And then they’ll have to mimic a 4K version of the HD fix – or decide to uprez the
2K…which, at best, will add time in completing the project and additional costs.
PREFERENCE then for today’s productions becomes:
Finish in 4K - IF YOU CAN.
Conforming 4K
Colorworks was designed from the beginning to be able to
handle 4K work
Choices in infrastructure, including storage and tools were
scaled to deal with 4K features
Extensions of that concept were applied to the buildout of a
TV oriented finishing facility completed just prior to start of
the current TV season – enabling a quickstart for 4K TV
Conforming 4K
Consists of 3 platforms
Avid Media Composer – to read & organize the edls and bins
sent over by editorial
Smoke – to conform from the Avid cuts and to insert various
fixes and effects in 4K
Baselight – to complete the final conform
Conforming 4K
4K files moved from dailies to TV Backbone
4K files are pulled into the active Colorworks SAN after the
edls are scanned on an Avid MC.
4K fixes (as needed) are done on Smoke
Conformed on Baselight from the raw 16 bit original camera
master footage
Grading & Titling
After conform – grading is also handled on the Baselight
(also from raw 16 bit files - conformed)
Titling in 4K is created in various Adobe products (at 8K
resolution, if necessary, dependent on font style & serifs)
Traditional stages of finishing are followed…as files.
Online Master / VAM / CTM / Completed titled master
A final 4K IMF is the target finished product
SPT 4K TV Workflow
Sony F65 Camera
Review 4k on
Sony VPL-VW1000ES
4k Projector
2k VFX
F65RAW Lite
4k DPX &
24P Facility
HD Color Reference
Dolby PRM-4200
Sony Pictures
Production Backbone
Dailies Process
HD Output
Final Archive – 4K Footage
During post production – 2 separately created sets of
archival LTOs are created
In dailies – 2 archival sets of LTOs are made
LTO set of the 4K OCM
LTO set of the HD proxies made from the 4K plus editorial dnx
Once the 4K footage is pushed to the TV Backbone, archival
LTOs are made of all of the footage and any intermediate
mastering copies created during finishing
Rebecca Moon
Project Coordinator, 4K TV Finishing & Remastering, Colorworks
Sources for more info
Joel Ordesky – Sony DMPC – information on F65 & F55
Peter Postma – Filmlight – information on 4K in Baselight

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