Friday, July 01, 2005

Jonny Z Workflow

Workflow On A Television Series (Mid-Season Replacement)

Editors: Marty Nicholson A.C.E., Randy Morgan A.C.E.
Assistants: David Augsburger, Sharidan Williams-Sotelo

Submitted by: David Augsburger

Project: JONNY ZERO, a Warner Bros. Television series produced for Fox TV

Crew: 2 Editors, 2 Assistants (3rd Editor and Assistant brought on for one episode)

Capture: Super 16mm, 2 cameras normal, 8 day shoots (never completed, unfinished scenes shot during following episode(s), along with 2nd Unit and pickups)

Special Film Processing: Bleach Bypass Processing done at Technicolor NYC

The first day went too far, blowing out the background. Although it wasn't necessary, film can be rewashed to lose contrast, but there is a risk in handling the film again.

Telecine: film transferred at Level 3 in Burbank. HD D5 (1080 progressive segmented field). Audio sunk in telecine. Editors Cassette: DV Cam Anamorphic, DVDs for Director, Producers, etc.

The Director/ Exec Producer was unhappy dailies that didn't emphasize the expressive look intended (but which could ultimately be achieved in color timing). Telecine preferred to minimize radical look and provide color timer with more latitude. The Director/ Exec Producer insisted that the network cuts of the first 2 episodes be onlined and color timed to demonstrate the visual look of the show. The Avid mix was married to the online dub.

Editing Systems: 3 Avid Composers Meridien version 11.2.5 (4th system while 3rd Editor worked)
Machines were Macintosh G4s with single 867 MHz processors
1 Gig of RAM, with 750 Megs assigned to Media Composer
Mac OS 9.2.2
Unity -- 648 Gigs of storage at most -- shared projects
Scan Converter configured to display either 4:3 or 16:9 adjusted by Level 3
(Anamorphic outputs done by bypassing the scan converter)
Screening Monitor -- color adjusted by Level 3 Telecine Operator
DV Cam Deck
1 VHS deck
CD Player
External Floppy Drive
Show-owned FireWire Drive -- 250 Gigs

Additional Software: Toast and Toast Titanium, FileMaker Pro, Vantage Text Editor (to correct Flex Files)

Tech Support: Systems supplied by Runway. Their support was very good and telephone response time nearly immediate.

Of particular value was the codec education provided by Runway prior to e-mailing a QuickTime clip to the main title composer: "animation" most versatile codec but very large, "avid" codec works well and video file is much smaller but remote user requires codec which they aren't likely to have. Runway sent codec via e-mail, (it's also available on Avid website). Also good help with creating OMF2 files and copying to CD-ROM

Avid Projects: 24 fps, 16mm , 48k audio. NDF dailies DF sequences

Input: 14:1 compression, one editor accepting 28:1 when media storage was short
2nd channel audio used only when 2 discrete tracks transferred

Digitizing unsupervised, frequently using 2 systems at once. No one watching for hairs, dirt, scratches, etc. One editor had locators positioned in dailies after clips grouped.

Audio importing of music CDs was extremely slow. Avid needs to scale the 44.1k sampling rate of CDs to 48k

(Editor note: there are useful sound ‘ripping’ programs that can speed up this process. I’ve used Sound Grinder in OS X to convert my music library to 48k Wave files. Gearbox and SoundApp work for OS 9)

Material Organization:

Music database created by Sharidan using FileMaker Pro. All Avids updated at once by simply placing the file in the shared project workspace on our Unity

Common Project for SFX, MX, Stock: In order to have one location where all stock was up-to-date a separate project was created that any editor could draw from, but this proved extremely cumbersome.

Daily Backup -- all projects backed up to individual Avids from Shared Projects folder of Unity Drives. Then Backed-up to firewire drive

Internet Use: Telecine Flex File Correction received via e-mail, music files received from composers via e-mail and forwarded to others, e.g. publicity, via e-mail.

QuickTime title sequence along with "avid" codec sent to composer via e-mail


The editors were fed music by the production company's music department, whose talents were shared with three other television series. This music was mostly pre-cleared or if not, in a reasonable price range. Some music came from the personal collections of the editors, directors and producers. Special circumstances required music to be composed.

Music used on the set not provided to editorial (not even noted) and was too expensive to consider using, yet established a beat for the scene the editor needed to match. The one time where the track was provided -- a scene with playback -- there was no time code reference for the music. Sharidan devised a trick using auxiliary time code: playback time code entered into auxiliary field of clip, this then grouped with playback track.

The editors cut the music for air. It was not uncommon for music to be replaced after a scene was cut.

Music EDLs were created after the director's cut, indicated what was being used

Music direct from composers. Final music sometimes arrived a day or two before the mix. Time code location noted


VHS output for cuts and insert references (DVD recorder not in budget); DV Cam master recorded from which extra VHS dubs struck. DV Cam audio 48K

Online: single video only Avid Sequence in bin copied to Zip Disk and carried to Level 3 for assembly on Nitris. Re-Edited material done in linear bay with Grass Valley EDL

Anamorphic Chase Reference Tape provided. (this tape also used for sound, music and neg cut; sound would be stripped off this and added to online)

Assistants laid up the sound tracks for 4 channel output:
Ch1 = D1 Ch2 = D2 Ch3 = SFX Ch4 = MX

DV Cam deck 4 channel output at 32K required special tape formatting and configuration; options in deck's menu. Runway customized mixer for 4 channel output using auxiliary send channels for ch 3 and 4.

Dirt list provided by creating a picture only EDL where clip names included telecine notes, e.g. 24A/1 Dirt, 26L/3 Focus, 18G/1 Hair, 45P/4 Scratch

Color Timing: Director/ Exec Producer and Associate Producer, with DP's notes

Sound Editorial:

Early EDL

OMF2 music at unity (without volume control)

Firewire drive supplied by sound department

OMF2 of all 8 channels with volume control intact to sound for use on mix stage

ADR: in NYC and in Los Angeles

Sound Mix: 2 day mix at Warner Bros.

Re-Edit: Online dub of Pilot digitized into Avid

Extremely cumbersome process; sequence comprised of 2 versions besides current cut, sound stems and various musical choices. 9 Video tarcks, 12 audio tracks. And there were numerous versions of this sequence at different phases of the process.

Change notes requested for stage mixer automation of re-conformed pilot online -- thought time code notes would suffice, automation computer really wanted a 16mm or 35mm change list, even if the film wasn't built.

Negative Cutting: 16mm single strand, prepared for telecine ready cutting after the show mixed. Lok-Box created from anamorphic online chase tape. This would show key number burn in.


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