While shooting a recent CBS series, veteran director of photography Daryn Okada, ASC, required a complete workflow solution that could fully compliment the unique looks he and his crew captured with the Sony F65 CineAlta digital cameras. Though shooting in digital, Okada wanted to draw on his experience working with film: “I shot it like film as much as possible. I didn’t ND one window for this whole show and it is not even lit that brightly. There are no power windows, or secondary color correction. It’s just a straight primary ACES color grade.” Okada was able to mix such a broad array of colors, like tungsten with daylight through a window, that he wanted to keep that bold color and unique lighting true throughout the entire workflow.
In order to maintain that look, Okada relied on Technicolor’s DP Lights real-time color correction system to monitor the camera’s signal on set. It was the first time that the Academy Color Encoding Specification (ACES) workflow and DP Lights have been used in a major studio television series.
Technicolor further helped Okada create and maintain unique looks for the show through the ACES pipeline by inserting the Input Device Transform (IDT), the Reference Rendering Transform (RRT) and the Output Device Transform (ODT) into the system. These looks were used as the American Society of Cinematographers Color Decision List (ASC CDL), thereby keeping Okada's vision for the show intact from the dailies to the final cut. Having the right workflow tools in place was vital since, as he says, they were “turning out an episode a week in post so we had to be able to go through the whole process quickly and efficiently with titles and visual effects and everything else that has to be done to it. The combination of the F65 camera and the ACES/Technicolor workflows was perfect." The digital camera’s ability to handle and process even low-light situations gave Okada the luxury of focusing more on setting up the shots without having to take up large chunks of time adjusting lights, which worked well thanks to the seamless integration of Technicolor’s DP Lights and dailies solution.
Footage from the digital cameras was logged and ingested into a Technicolor dailies solution located near the set. Tim Hedden, Technicolor Dailies Colorist, took charge of synching the sound with the picture while applying the ASC CDL through the ACES color workflow, adding color when necessary, and finally rendering the editorial deliverables, viewing materials and studio deliverables. Each night the deliverable materials were transferred to our Los Angeles based staff via our high-speed production network (TPN) so that it would be ready to be viewed and cut the next day. They were working quickly, and as Okada recalls, "If we started a regular day at 7 am, by about 9 o'clock East Coast time Sony Pictures Television in California is already posting the dailies in their system."
Throughout shooting, Okada was creating a look that he had only previously been able to achieve with film, and he was determined to keep the look of the show’s rich textures and compelling colors throughout the workflow pipeline. Technicolor’s DP Lights and dailies solution were essential tools that helped him keep his creative vision consistent throughout the entire project.