The Revolution of Post Production

DIGIPOST 2015We need to evolve.  We need to re-invent ourselves.  Sounds familiar?

These are the words that are commonly spoken nowadays.  With the emergence of technology coming at a breakneck pace, the post production industry is one of the industries struggling to keep up.

However where is decline, there will be opportunities.  Being in the post production business in the last decade and hearing the constant death knell in the visual effects industry, we believe there is only one path to the future.

Revolution.

Talent and passion is key

For too long, the post production business has created many visual effects operators who are simply technically competent on the machine.  Expensive software has made the industry practical inaccessible to any layman.

Technology has changed.  With cheaper software and hardware, there are no more barriers to entry.  For once in a long time, talents who are truly gifted and passionate in the art of storytelling (editors), painting (colourist), digital magicians (online artists, compositors, CG artists) can have a successful career.

They just need the imagination and the right nurturing from the studio.

 

To work in creative teams

The post production process workflow from offline to colour to online & CG to audio works no different from an assembly in a factory.  Often department do not communicate and worst, do not understand the purpose of the project.  Such environment creates a stifling and political work environment.

No practitioner in post-production ever started in the industry wanting to be worker in an assembly line.  Most enter because of a film they seen that inspires them, a fantastical world in a computer game that awes them or simply wanting to creative field.

Break the workflow.  The post production workflow needs to be destroyed totally.  We need to have organic teams that every member to understand the goal of the project.  They need to work in teams from A to Z, from concept to execution.

This brings us to the next step.

 

To possess multi-disciplinary skill-sets and be highly adaptable

The age of specialization is gone.  Factory workers are being replaced by robots, drivers are soon to be replaced by driverless cars and the internet is slowly (but surely) putting traditional advertising and media in decline.

Technology is replacing any job that is repetitive or at one time called a ‘specialization’.  Any position in post-production can soon be replaced by a plugin or a latest ‘easier-to-use’ software.

The new generation of practitioner needs to highly adaptable and possess different skill sets.  With the right tools, they can achieve the same quality that used to take more than 5 people, or even 10.

With the right team, it is amazing the quality of work that can be produced.

 

Build strong partnerships

The supplier mentality needs to be changed to a partnership.  Work with clients who value the creativity and the execution in the team.

If the client partnership lasts only because of a cheaper rate, then that is a partnership that will not last.  Lose them now, or lose them later.  It is only a matter of time.

Be brave.

 

This is not an evolution.  We cannot re-invent ourselves.  Change is all that is left.

Where there is decline, there is opportunity.

So who wants to join us on the new ship?

It’s time to break that prejudice towards Vietnam post-production

screen-shot-2016-03-19-at-09-43-29

A screenshot from a TVC completed by DIGIPOST

Director Luong Dinh Dung recently told local media that he sent his highly-anticipated movie “Cha cong con” (Father and Son) to South Korea for post-production. He said most of local directors had their works posted overseas, since post-production technologies in Vietnam are not comparable to other regional countries.

The claim is not new, as similar statements have been reported in local media over the past decade.

But how correct are the claims? Is it true that after more than 10 years, there is not a singular improvement in Vietnam’s post-production technologies at all?

It’s not.

The high-profile movie “Tam Cam: The Untold,” released at the end of August, was praised for its visual effects that were created by Vietnamese artists. Major newspapers such as Thanh Nien and Saigon Giai Phong have reported how Vietnam’s post-production technologies have been on par with regional and even Hollywood standards in recent years.

Vietnam’s young artists even have upped their game and created an animated short film, using the latest 3D Virtual Reality technology.

“These days, how advanced your technologies are no longer matters in post-production,” Andy Ho, executive producer at DIGIPOST, commented on the evolution of post-production. “Anyone who has money to spend on high-end software and other top tools can create standard effects.”

“Post-production is now about professionalism,” he said. “What distinguishes a top post house from average ones is how professional its workflows and personnel are.”

A Ho Chi Minh City-based post house with more than 22 years of experience and a team of international professionals, DIGIPOST, for instance, has provided services for both local and international film studios.

Now, however, due to business reasons, DIGIPOST only makes post-production for feature films selectively, like when its services are meant as a support for young filmmakers, Andy said.

“While feature films demand longer workflows and more complicate technologies, they take post houses longer time to recoup investment, compared to TV commercials,” he said in an explanation why DIGIPOST has focused more on TVCs in recent years.

“When the post-production market grows, DIGIPOST will expand its range. Meanwhile, it will continue to focus on the sector of TVCs where it has proved to be a leader in Vietnam,” Andy said.

The Science Behind Colour Grading and Monitors

This is an article by our colourist Alexis Odiowei explaining the science behind colour grading and monitors.

IMG_2600“I want it to the look the same on every screen it is viewed on.”

This is the impossible task that colourists the world over often find themselves confronted with by agencies, clients and directors.

Over the course of this blog I will detail in simple terms why this is ultimately unachievable.

The best place to start is to give a brief summary of the science and technology that dictates the way that we view color on different monitors. Various video cameras shoot in different color spaces that can be utilized for different reason at the various stages of post production but the current colour space or standard for television broadcasting is known as REC709. Every TV Broadcast colourist will be working with a broadcast monitor that is calibrated to REC709. Most consumer HDTVs are also roughly calibrated to this standard.

 

So why does it look different on my TV at home?

The most simple way of explaining this is to use a real life example that almost everyone will have experienced. If you have ever been into an electronics store and seen 3 or 4 televisions lined up next to each other all playing the same image you will have noticed that they all display the colour differently, some differences are very subtle while others may be more extreme.

One of the main problems is that most new HDTVs offer a multitude of settings ranging from dynamic through to sport and so on that enable the consumer to modify the picture they see on their television. Quite often televisions ship with one of these settings applied this can greatly distort the way that we see the image from grade to broadcast. This often results in an image that is drastically different from the work done in the colour grading suite.

Many people in the industry feel so strongly about the way that images are distorted through these TV settings that there are various petitions to ensure that TVs are shipped with standard settings. You can see a few articles on the subject below.

https://www.change.org/p/hdtv-manufacturers-please-stop-making-smooth-motion-the-default-setting-on-all-hdtvs

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19650769

150226215539-black-blue-dress-exlarge-169

This picture was a recent internet phenomenon with many people seeing the dress as white and gold while others saw it as blue and black. This again shows how lighting situations brightness and different screens vastly effect the way cololur is perceived.

 

Ok well what about my laptop home computer?

Clients often ask colourists to send on a file that they can review and give changes on. This is every colourists worst nightmare as 90% of laptop and computer screens are not calibrated to any standard. On top of this if you are using your laptop for work purposes (word, excel etc) chances are you have adjusted the brightness settings to your liking. So often feedback in this way can be at best pointless and at worst damaging.

I can think of a recent example where I spent over a week going back and forth with a director making changes based on his laptop image, only for him to finally come in and approve the original grade that I had done at the beginning of the week.

 

So whats the point in color grading at all?

The thing about colour is that there are various things that affect the way we perceive it, whether it be lighting, back drop or adaptation (your eyes adjusting to an image after viewing it too long). We color grade to ensure that at it’s best the image is seen as closely as possible to how it was in the grading suite, however if it is not observed in this environment we are still greeted with an image that has an overall complementary colour pallet and doesn’t for instance become too dark in the black levels or have clashing colours.

Overall the small differences between televisions set at a REC709 standard will have very little impact on the viewers experience providing the colorist has carried out their duties properly.

So to conclude the key is not to worry about whether it’s going to look exactly the same on every screen. It’s not going to! The main thing to take into account is the medium your project is destined for and employing a colourist that can ensure that the image is going to look good in this medium regardless of the subtle changes between the various screens it will be viewed on.

ARTICLE BY ALEXIS ODIOWEI

New Da Vinci Resolve at DIGIPOST

We would like to unveil our new technological upgrade at Digipost. Clients can now enjoy seamless and realtime colour grading as part of our workflow with the latest Da Vinci Resolve. With processing speeds that can grade up to 4k resolution video, we can now offer speed and performance in colour grading as part of our services.å

Do get in touch with our Producers for enquiries!