In the just published second installment of a series of Sponsored Entertainment & Advertising Technology features, SHOOT delves into how workflows are shifting, often in profound ways that are truly bringing the advantages of digital tools and technologies to TV, film, commercials, and many other areas of media and entertainment. In this feature, SHOOT spotlights four pioneering companies--including FotoKem--exploring how they have found ways to build workflows that enable flexibility, speed and creativity.

The feature titled “Surveying New Workflows: Expanding The Power And Creativity Of Production & Post” was published on January 30, 2015 across SHOOT’s digital and print platforms including SHOOT Magazine, SHOOTonline and The SHOOT>e.dition. FotoKem’s Mike Brodersen, chief strategy officer, was interviewed for the article.

An excerpt from the SHOOT feature about Fotokem...

FotoKem, an independent post house in Burbank, has been in the thick of every trend in the industry since it opened its doors in 1963. Chief Strategy Officer Mike Brodersen has tracked the trends for years, and notes that he saw the first indication of real workflow changes in 2008. “All these unique files began coming in as original negative, from cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark II, the Phantom and RED cameras,” he says. “The traditional workflow of film/tape was lost. Sometimes we wouldn’t even get camera reports. Everything was being reinvented. You had 10 different workflows for 10 different file types. We got a clear message that we had to normalize it into a single system for everyone involved: filmmakers, other participants in the workflow, and FotoKem.”

Having a demanding client base in feature films and TV, FotoKem couldn’t afford to wait for a third party vendor to come up with a solution. Instead, the company formed its own in-house software team in late 2008, to create solutions to new workflow challenges. One of their many innovations is nextLAB, a full service mobile production system that won a 2010 HPA Award for innovation and creativity. “With nextLAB, we enable complete media management, anywhere production is located,” he says. “The files are safely archived and ordered properly so the structure of the data is clean and clear. When it comes to conform down the line, you know where everything is. Production, editorial and visual effects have easy and secure access to the data. “But we didn’t lose the discipline that has always been important to a stable workflow,” he says. “In between the set and everything that comes after, we provide all the same processes we did with film and tape: color processing, dailies, logging, sound synch, editing.”

Built to be entirely mobile, nextLAB is a complete solution for movies, TV, concert films or any kind of creative content that needs media management. “It works similarly in-house as when we set it up at a remote production location,” says Brodersen. “We set up mobile post wherever it’s needed, however, the unique attributes of each project dictate how we design the solution. The goal is to “offer a personal approach that allows filmmakers to work the way they want to, without technology getting in the way,” he says. “Building on our decades of experience and relationships, we understand the intricacies that filmmakers face in today’s production landscape. What we’ve been able to do is control even the subtlest detail of the workflow.” The ability to work closely with the creative and technical teams on projects is a critical component of FotoKem’s approach. “It’s a partnership to understand the tiny details that a production needs that ultimately saves them time and unnecessary work.”

FotoKem’s in-house software team enables the facility to create customized workflows. “We call our workflow metadata-based, not file-based,” says Brodersen. “There are so many options and each production has different needs and requests.” There are an increasing number of cameras as well as the wide variety of file formats and recording devices. And those cameras are acquiring unprecedented amounts of data – up to 20 terabytes a day for a concert show, for instance.

A recent example of how FotoKem is able to customize a workflow is Gone Girl. The David Fincher production used the new RED DRAGON camera, shooting in 6K. “We worked really closely with RED every day in production to make sure the tools, including RED Rocket X, a new GPU to transcode the 6K files, was rock solid,” he says. The production also used Adobe Creative Cloud, not just to edit with Premiere Pro but for the entire suite of tools. “We came to the project early and worked with Adobe engineers to maximize all the benefits their tools offered for metadata, media and color management with the dailies and the downstream workflow,” he says. “We have worked on a few projects with Fincher’s team and knew our job was to enable them to work the way they wanted to work.”

FotoKem was able to automatically create the same metadata thumbnails into Fincher’s own custom database system. “We put this piece on the front end and customized it especially for their needs,” he says. “They could work the way they wanted to, and it saved hours and made it more efficient. We couldn’t have done it unless we were totally in control of the system.”

For director Steven Soderbergh’s Cinemax series The Knick, FotoKem enabled the show to use RED DRAGON and ROCKET-X in 4K. “We’ve worked extensively with Soderbergh on a number of shows over the years and have developed a few tools for his projects, including sub frame syncing,” says Brodersen. “For The Knick, we created a process that supported 4K the way the production wanted to employ it.”

For Laika’s The Boxtrolls, FotoKem was able to create a color pipeline that improved that production’s workflow. “We really wanted to develop a DI workflow for them that was an extension of the meticulous work they did in shooting and editing,” he says. Using FotoKem’s globalDATA to transfer high-res files, FotoKem and Laika came up with a process of creating linear EXR files, with custom conversion tools in Mistika. With color decisions moving through the workflow, the DI became “a process of fine-tuning and not re-creating.” “A lot of color science and customization went into that,” says Brodersen. “It’s a real partnership with the production team to design a workflow that makes sense for everyone.”

► Click Here to read the online version of the article.
► Click Here to view article in the PDF version of the January 30, 2015 of SHOOT Magazine (click on first issue at top of page)
► Click Here to view/download PDF version of just the article.
► Click Here to request information on the next SHOOT Entertainment and Advertising Technology sponsored feature. Sponsorship includes participation in feature article plus digital/print advertising & promotion. The next feature, 4K & Beyond, will be published on March 20, 2015.

ABOUT Fotokem
FotoKem is an independently-owned, full-service post production facility serving the worldwide creative community. Since 1963, the company has been a trusted resource for every corner of the entertainment market, providing comprehensive post production expertise, high-end solutions and innovative in-house technologies. The company assists filmmakers in successfully bridging production and post, helping to navigate the expanding world of motion picture finishing technology. FotoKem offers a broad spectrum of services, including a full-service film lab, file-based workflows, digital intermediates, digital cinema packaging, mobile dailies, global data delivery, film and video finishing, audio mixing and mastering, visual effects, restoration, and production rentals. FotoKem has expanded over the years with the acquisition of SPY Post, Keep Me Posted, L.A. Studios, and Margarita Mix.

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