Encore VFX is full service visual effects company headquartered in a cutting-edge 30-thousand- square-foot facility in Burbank, CA. The company also has additional locations in Vancouver, BC and Atlanta, GA and has contributed to projects shooting throughout the world. The creative-driven company, which is led by VFX Supervisor and frequent director Armen Kevorkian, sees clients as production partners, and collaborates in finding the best approach to all of a project's visual effects needs, from fully realized CG creatures to photoreal digital environments to digital double work, all the way to wire removals and other small fixes.
Encore VFX's team of dedicated VFX supervisors and producers offers personalized attention to each job, from pre-production and look-dev to on-set supervision, all the way through to delivery. The company also continues to grow its comprehensive asset library of photoreal vehicles, environments, creatures, animals, and more; this foundation gives Encore VFX artists and designers a head start for many projects -- an invaluable plus in the ultra-fast-paced world of VFX production.
Recent work includes the popular, multiple-award-winning Doom Patrol, Supergirl, The Flash, and Batwoman (all the CW) and feature films Love Simon (20th Century Fox) and Boss Level (slated for 2021 release exclusively on Hulu).
The first season of Amazon series Homecoming followed case worker Heidi Bergman and her involvement with the ominous Geist corporation.
June 23, 2020
The first season of Amazon series Homecoming from creators Micah Bloomberg, Eli Horowitz, and Sam Esmail (who directed all the episodes), followed case worker Heidi Bergman (Julia Roberts) and her involvement with the ominous Geist corporation and its founder (Bobby Cannavale) and an unfortunate group of war veterans subject to Geist's unorthodox experiments. The series returns for a seven-chapter season, now with Janelle Monáe as a woman who wakes up in a canoe in the middle of a lake with no idea how she got there, and Chris Cooper as the new head of Geist. Directing responsibilities also shift to Kyle Patrick Alvarez and cinematographer Jas Shelton takes over for Tod Campbell.
Colorist Walter Volpatto of Encore in Hollywood, who has been a consistent presence for both seasons, explains that the grade for season 2 picks up where the series left off but also adds a lot more exteriors and an additional look to underscore a specific new character's arc. The first ten installments, explains Volpatto, who works in DaVinci Resolve, presented "a filmic, desaturated look. We added some grain and overall kept everything in that kind of space. But for the new season, Kyla and Jas wanted to keep the feeling of season one but split the look into two different aesthetics. We introduce a more vivid look and feel with more snap and color. It's a distinctive look that follows the new character's storyline as she tries to discover who she is."
Volpatto describes this look as being, "more lush. There’s now a new blue undertone that’s been added and overall it’s a more colorful season." As episodes move back and forth among the different character arcs and timelines, the colorist adds, "the different looks also help to orient the viewer so they can tell where they are in the story without having to have dialogue or some kind of title card. The look is basically the title card."
While the feel of the color is designed to be subtle -- two different feels -- the use of color that Volpatto and the filmmakers achieved was complex: Returning to a space that the viewer has seen in the first season might either involve copiously matching those scenes' look in some cases but might instead call for the application of the new treatment to the previously-seen area, depending on specific story points.
Before Bong Joon Ho swept the Oscars with the incisive and powerful Parasite, his 2013 Snowpiercer helped establish the director as an international creative force.
June 23, 2020
Before Bong Joon Ho swept the Oscars with the incisive and powerful Parasite, his 2013 Snowpiercer helped establish the director as an international creative force. As with the new Snowpiercer series on TNT, the story is set in a world in which a climate catastrophe has rendered the earth uninhabitable except for a small collection of people perpetually traversing the frozen wasteland that is the earth inside a gigantic train in which riders are stratified based on their wealth. The richest ride in the decadent opulence of the front cars, the poor relegated to the cramped, uninviting back. The series, created by Graeme Manson and Josh Friedman and overseen by show runner Ben Rosenblatt, stars Jennifer Connelly, Daveed Diggs, Mickey Sumner and develops entirely new storylines.
Posted at Encore Vancouver, colorist Thor Roos handled grading duties and the company's VFX shop created a significant number of the visual effects. With the post work coming together within the same space, Roos, producers, VFX and cinematographers (John Grillo, who completed grading first two episodes before moving on to Westworld, and Tom Burstyn) could collaborate closely as the series took shape.
Roos recalls that the creatives decided early on that they didn't want a look identical to the film but instead preferred to create a new template for the series. "We wanted to treat the train as a class system and each car a class," Roos explains of the approach the filmmakers took to the look. "The 'tails' -- the back for the train -- has a really gritty look. It's dark. Colors rarely stand out. The images are slightly grainy. First class is rich and beautiful with pleasant, pastels, beautiful skin tones and an overall richness. While we added noise for the tails, we used noise reduction for this class.
"A lot of the work from a color grading standpoint," Roos adds, "was about making sure to direct the viewer's eye to Jennifer or to beautiful elements of the set as dictated by the story. So when scenes from different cars are edited together, the overall effect reflects the opulence vs. the despair depending on where you are on the train."
Encore VFX assigned approximately 100 artists to the production and this team created all the exteriors of the giant all-CGI train at the center of the story, as well as frozen environments, mesas, cities and jungles along with a large number of "invisible" effects, such as window replacements and digital snow.
Key creatives, including the series VFX Supervisor, Geoff Scott, watched dailies, often together, at the facility and were able to discuss every element of the work at these sessions in order to coordinate and finetune the integration of all effects into the episodes.
Encore maintained all ten episodes for the season live its SAN throughout the entire post process. Roos notes, "We could go back and forth from episode to episode. Clients could see shots in the context of the entire season and we could then go back to make subtle refinements, which is a luxury you don't always have when working on a series."
Roos graded in Dolby Vision (for 1000 nits deliverable) first and then performed trims on the SDR pass. The camera original material, shot using Red Epic (Dragon sensor), "gave us a great deal to refine. Both cinematographers shot a full 'negative' that allowed us to refine things as the episodes took shape through editing and with the addition of the visual effects."
Encore Senior Colorist Laura Jans Fazio was invited to join the American Society of Cinematographers as an Associate Member yesterday.
February 5, 2020
Encore Senior Colorist Laura Jans Fazio was invited to join the American Society of Cinematographers as an Associate Member yesterday. The ASC is an organization of world renowned cinematographers that advances the art and science of cinematography while promoting cinema as an art form. Last year the ASC celebrated its 100th anniversary, with Deluxe and EFILM proudly sponsoring and supporting the centennial festivities. Jans Fazio joins an exclusive membership primarily comprised of working cinematographers.
"It's a true privilege to be a part of such a prestigious organization. Thank you to the ASC, its staff, and its members," said Jans Fazio.
For more information about the ASC and its members please visit: https://theasc.com
Deluxe, the leading content creation to distribution company, today announced that Lindsay Elizabeth Donovan has joined Encore Vancouver
December 11, 2019
Los Angeles, CA 11 December, 2019 - Deluxe, the leading content creation to distribution company, today announced that Lindsay Elizabeth Donovan has joined Encore Vancouver, a Deluxe subsidiary, in the role of Vice President, Sales. Reporting to Mark Smirnoff, Executive Vice President, Global Post Production Sales for Deluxe, she joins the company from Technicolor, where she served as Director of Sales since 2014.
"Lindsay Elizabeth is a highly respected sales executive in the Vancouver and Los Angeles markets and will have an immediate positive impact to our team and customers," said Smirnoff. "We're thrilled to have her join our team."
"Encore Vancouver is trusted with some of the largest, most high-profile projects in the area and their work always impresses," said Donovan. "It's a premier destination for filmmakers and I look forward to helping it grow further to support the thriving local production community."
"We are thrilled to welcome Lindsay Elizabeth to Encore and the Deluxe family. She is a tremendous addition to our team to champion our talent, our work, and further our presence in the Vancouver, Los Angeles and global markets," said James Cowan, General Manager of Encore Vancouver.
Donovan previously served as a Sales Team Leader at Fusion Cine, where she spent more than four years connecting cinematographers and directors with the desired cameras and lenses for each project. Her understanding of these vital and nuanced tools equips her with a unique production expertise that informs her collaborations with clients. She has also worked in various production capacities for projects including "The Colbert Report" and "The L Word."
Donovan is a member of the Vancouver Post Alliance, where she has served on the Board of Directors and played an integral role in the creation and stewardship of the non-profit’s Mentorship Program. She is also an active member of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC; has served as a judge for the Whistler Film Festival; and is always eager to get involved in new initiatives that support the vibrant and growing BC film and television industry.
"Limetown" follows journalist Lia Haddock as she works to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of more than 300 people.
November 27, 2019
Facebook Watch original series "Limetown" follows American Public Radio (APR) journalist Lia Haddock (Jessica Biel) as she works to unravel the mystery behind the disappearance of more than 300 people at a neuroscience research facility in Tennessee. Based on a fictional podcast of the same name, the ten-episode thriller was colored by EFILM's Natasha Leonnet, who was tapped by DP Julie Kirkwood to create a soft contrast, moody and filmic look for the show to immerse viewers into Lia's world. Working closely with Director Rebecca Thomas, Leonnet and Kirkwood also accounted for how the content would most likely be viewed via mobile device when shaping the aesthetic and this determining the luminance of images.
"We spent a lot of time on the color and I feel so lucky that I got to be on the show," shared Leonnet. "Julie and Rebecca are true artists, both thoughtful and talented. It was a joy to be able to work on such interesting content for this unique platform and in an incredibly supportive environment. They approached the project as if it was a feature, so it was like working on a very long film."
Leonnet colored each episode of "Limetown" season one, with Encore Colorist Andrea Chlebak also contributing to one episode. The first two episodes premiered on Facebook Watch on October 16, with two new episodes scheduled to premiere each Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. ET. To uncover the series' truth, check out:https://www.facebook.com/pg/Limetown/videos/
The HPA Award nominations are out and Deluxe is proud to share that several of its creative talents have earned nods for their work across features and episodics.
October 2, 2019
The HPA Award nominations are out and Deluxe is proud to share that several of its creative talents have earned nods for their work across features and episodics. EFILM Senior Colorist Natasha Leonnet received Outstanding Color Grading in feature film nominations for her work on “First Man” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” while EFILM Senior Colorist Walter Volpatto was recognized for his work on “Green Book.” In the television category, Deluxe Toronto Senior Colorist Bill Ferwerda received an Outstanding Color Grading nomination for his work on “The Handmaid’s Tale” season three, with episode 11, “Liars,” scoring the nod. Encore VFX was recognized for Outstanding Visual Effects for the studio’s work on “The Flash” episode “King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd;” the nominated team includes Armen V. Kevorkian, Joshua Spivack, Andranik Taranyan, Shirak Agresta and Jason Shulman.
For "First Man," Leonnet re-teamed with Director Damien Chazelle and Cinematographer Linus Sandgren, helping to capture a 1960s filmic look and get the audience to share in astronaut Neil Armstrong’s visceral experience. With a groundbreaking visual style, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” prompted Leonnet to utilize hue shifting tools usually reserved for music videos as she further amplified bold color choices, working closely with Production Designer Justin K. Thompson, VFX Supervisor Danny Dimian, and Art Director Dean Gordon to underscore story points and provide a distinct, cohesive look.
"Green Book" tells the story of an Italian-American bouncer and an African-American world-class pianist navigating the Jim Crow era and racially-segregated Deep South. To convey the essence of the 1960s as intended by the Director Peter Farrelly and DP Sean Porter, Volpatto developed a custom digital grain and halation model, and applied it to the digitally shot footage, resulting in an authentic grain that didn’t feel overly noisy.
Having handled the previous two seasons of "The Handmaid's Tale," Ferwerda built on established looks for season three and developed new ones as the story takes the characters to locales outside the totalitarian state of Gilead.
"The Flash" episode "King Shark vs. Gorilla Grodd" brings together two supersized, fan favorite characters – a telepathic gorilla and muscle-bound humanoid shark, both full CG creations – for an epic showdown. Kevorkian roughly laid out in pre-vis what would become the episode’s two major fight sequences, drawing from his experience as a director and VFX supervisor to suggest scene settings and choreography that would play well visually and were achievable on the show’s production schedule. Both sequences feature a handheld camera feel similar to how a live action fight would have been shot. Along with the Grodd and King Shark battles, the episode also features the transformation of King Shark from human form, something that had yet to be shown on the series. Encore artists achieved the final look after significant R&D to determine how human skin would give way to the shark texture.
2019 HPA Award winners will be announced November 21, 2019 at the Awards Gala Event being held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. The full list of HPA Award nominees can be found here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/behind-screen/avengers-endgame-lion-king-hpa-award-nominees-1244499
Seasoned colorist Jimmy Hsu has joined Encore Vancouver, bringing a dynamic background in content creation and color science expertise to the company.
September 24, 2019
Seasoned colorist Jimmy Hsu has joined Encore Vancouver, bringing a dynamic background in content creation and color science expertise to the company. He comes to Encore Vancouver from Side Street Post Production, where he began as an online editor in 2012 before focusing on color grading. Hsu’s work spans live action and animated projects across genres, including features, video game cinematics and commercials for clients such as Universal Studios, Disney and Lifetime.
"Encore Vancouver has a rich talent pool of artists and handles some of the most high profile projects in the industry, so joining the team was a no brainer. I'm really excited to expand the breadth of my work and add my skillset into the mix," noted Hsu.
While his path to color grading was not a direct one, Hsu has long maintained a love of film. Upon graduating from British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University with a bachelor’s in Interactive Arts and Film Production, he held various roles in production and post production, including as a creative editor and motion graphics artist. Having edited more than a hundred movie trailers, Hsu is well-versed in project deliverables and specs, which helps inform his color process. He also draws from his artistic background, leveraging the latest capabilities of Blackmagic Da Vinci Resolve to incorporate significant compositing and visual effects work into his projects.
The second season of AMC's horror anthology series.
August 13, 2019
The second season of AMC's horror anthology series, "The Terror: Infamy," is set during World War II as bizarre deaths haunt a Japanese American community. In a departure from traditional color finish workflows, the series' colorist, Encore Vancouver's Thor Roos, and lead Cinematographer, John Conroy, ISC, collaborated before filming began. Upon reviewing John's early camera tests, Thor understood his vision for the look and honed the color approach accordingly, developing on-set LUTs for Encore Vancouver Colorist Chad Band to use during the dailies color correction.
"While this show is a period piece that opens in a small California fishing community, John was clear that it was also a Japanese horror film and we should maintain that feeling," Thor said. "While establishing a wonderful heavy contrast for the show it was very important to John that we preserved the beautiful reds and yellows in the wardrobe. This was the genesis of the LUT I created for this season."
To emphasize the narrative’s horror origins, John and Thor applied various lens aberrations during the color finish, employing defocus and blur tools to enhance story points and foreshadow the supernatural possessions. Thor also worked closely with Cinematographer Barry Donlevy on later episodes, continuing the general aesthetic set by John.
"One of my favorite scenes of the series takes place early in episode one on a dock at magic hour. The colors are amazing and it sets the tone for what's to come perfectly," explained Thor. "The entire creative process for this project's color correction was incredible. Working with John and Barry were two of the best collaborations of my career, and it was rewarding to help craft a consistent mood and feel a series that spans several years and very different locations."
"The Terror: Infamy" premiered on AMC August 12, 2019. For more info, visit: https://www.amc.com/shows/the-terror
Honor Presented at 20th Anniversary Spotlight Awards™ Gala Hosted by Women in Film and Television Vancouver
Honor Presented at 20th Anniversary Spotlight Awards™ Gala Hosted by Women in Film and Television Vancouver
June 19, 2019
At the 20th Anniversary Spotlight Awards™ Gala held on July 2, 2019, Encore Vancouver Vice President of Sales Suzanne Thompson was honored with the Wayne Black Award for her contribution to the local post production community. Presented by non-profit Women in Film and Television Vancouver (WIFTV), the Spotlight Awards celebrate notable achievements of women across the British Columbia (BC) media industry. WIFTV addresses systemic barriers to women’s equal participation in the production and dissemination of screen-based media and its Wayne Black Award is named in memory of lab manager Wayne Black, who gave tirelessly of his time and talent.
"I'm incredibly honored to be recognized among such a powerhouse of female leaders, storytellers and talent. Our future and our world needs us all to show up embracing inclusion and reflecting diversity in our work, our families, our lives and the stories we tell," she shared.
Suzanne has been on the front lines of content creation in BC for more than 20 years, and is an engaged advocate for local talent, making her a standout choice for the distinguished Wayne Black Award. Not only has she provided fearless leadership for Encore Vancouver throughout her more than ten years with Deluxe Entertainment Services, but she’s also been highly involved in growing BC’s film and television industry and bolstering Vancouver’s reputation as a go-to filmmaking destination. She co-founded the Vancouver Post Production Alliance in 2013, and served as Chair and Director of the Board for the non-profit for six years. She is also an executive board member of the Motion Picture Production Industry Association of BC, representing post production, and co-chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory committee.
Massive congrats to Suzanne on this well-deserved honor! The full list of 2019 Spotlight Award recipients can be found here: https://www.womeninfilm.ca/cgi/page.cgi/spotlight.html?_cms=2
June 19, 2019
Season one of Paramount Network's "Yellowstone" was one of the most watched television series that aired on ad-supported cable in 2018, averaging well over 5 million viewers per episode. The highly anticipated second season continues to follow the Dutton family as they fight for survival against ruthless enemies from all sides, with Kevin Costner reprising his role as family patriarch John Dutton. Encore Senior Colorist Bob Festa, who handled color finishing along with EFILM Senior Colorist Mitch Paulson on the first season, also returns to “Yellowstone” for season two, working closely with a new team of cinematographers as season one DP Ben Richardson stepped into the role of director for several episodes of the series this season.
"'Yellowstone' is a superb production from top to bottom – not to mention Kevin Costner on a horse in Montana is a pretty solid premise," laughed Festa. "It was a great to work with Ben Richardson again this season, and he did a fantastic job as director."
Festa worked closely with cinematographers Christina Voros and Adam Suschitzky on refining the series' contemporary Western Eastman-Kodak look. At Encore Hollywood, the trio color locked all ten episodes over a period of just ten days.
"The timeline was a challenge, but we worked through the material together and the result is beautiful," described Festa. "As shows progress past the initial season, part of my job as a colorist is to be the keeper of the color; I'm there to help make sure the look stays consistent throughout the episodes. With new DPs this season, invariably each has their own stamp, style, or mark, and my goal is to help those elements shine within the parameters of the look of the show."
Festa found it particularly enjoyable to color the strikingly beautiful series, with its gorgeous landscapes; he noted, "'Yellowstone' gives me a great deal of pride in that it allows me to collaborate with great people, and embrace a look I really enjoy helping create."
"Yellowstone" season two premieres June 19 at 10 pm, ET/PT on Paramount Network. For more information and to view episodes, visit: https://www.paramountnetwork.com/shows/yellowstone
May 23, 2019
When CBS procedural crime drama "Elementary" debuted in 2012, it gave iconic character Sherlock Holmes a new spin and was an instant hit among critics and viewers alike. Starring Jonny Lee Miller as the crime-solving investigator Holmes and Lucy Liu as his eventual apprentice Dr. Joan Watson, the series also marked the first project that Senior Colorist Tony D'Amore completed at Encore, and he's continued coloring the show into its final, seventh season, which premieres May 23.
In setting the visual tone for the pilot, and subsequently the entire series, production wanted a fresh look that was distinct to "Elementary" and its New York City setting. D'Amore wrote a custom Rec 709 LUT that DPs used for on-set monitoring and a lower contrast LUT for the dailies colorist to use as a starting point; he explained, "Our inspiration for the show's aesthetic was very rich and clean. We balanced the warm brownstone interiors with New York's cool exteriors, and the dingy mixed lighting at the police precinct. These looks played very well together, and each helped visually define the key locations."
Naturally, the look of "Elementary" evolved over the show's nearly seven-year run. The first seasons featured richer dark blacks and higher contrast images popular at the time, and later seasons found D'Amore leaning toward a more filmic look, with lighter shadows and softer highlights. His close working relationships with DP Ron Fortunato, who has been with the show from the pilot and also directed episodes, and DP Tom Houghton, who joined the show on season two, helped lay the foundation for the show's high quality visuals.
D'Amore noted, "The collaboration on 'Elementary' was great; we were lucky to have Ron and Tom, and several other amazing guest DPs like Peter Reniers and Mauricio Rubinstein. During final color reviews, we would often talk preproduction on future episodes. We'd come up with what we wanted to achieve creatively, then work backwards to determine the ideal approach to achieving that end result. By discussing this in-depth ahead of time, the DPs already knew which scenes were going to need extra attention from a lighting standpoint on the day of production and which scenes I would be able to handle the heavy lifting with my tools. It was a very efficient way to work and the added quality shows on screen."
While the series was always shot on ARRI Alexa, an old hand crank 35mm film camera was used to capture flashback portions for the first season. Using reversal film stock that was cross processed at the lab resulted in footage that was bold and high contrast with a mixed lighting look. For seasons two and beyond, production opted to shoot all footage with the Alexa and instead had D'Amore match the hand crank film look during the color finish.
"I'll certainly miss collaborating with the DPs on this show," concluded D'Amore. "I think we were all constantly learning from each other and it made us all better at our respective crafts."
For all things "Elementary," check out: https://www.cbs.com/shows/elementary/
April 16, 2019
CBS' new military court room drama "The Code" features a bold look that was carefully honed by Encore Senior Colorist Tony D'Amore and DP Jimmy Lindsey. The pair developed a bright and clean overall aesthetic with low color saturation and a general cool, blue tone. The series' strong look was set in episode one, with enthusiastic support from producers, and is maintained through the season, giving the show a distinct vibe that stands out to audiences.
"It's fun to flex my creativity, tools and techniques to develop a visual identity for the show and season," D'Amore noted. "The shows I typically work on are not as bright as 'The Code' so it was fun to step outside my norm and evaluate the color from a different perspective."
Tune in to "The Code" Mondays at 9/8c on CBS to check it out: https://www.cbs.com/shows/the-code/
Mach 10, 2019
The Film track of South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals kicks off this Friday, March 8, 2019, and several of the projects being screened received post production services from Deluxe creatives across North America.
EFILM’s Walter Volpatto provided the color finish for Matthew McConaughey-starring comedy “The Beach Bum,” directed by Harmony Korine with Benoît Debie serving as DP, and horror thriller “The Curse of La Llorona,” directed by Michael Chavez with Michael Burgess serving as DP. EFILM’s Mitch Paulson provided the color finish for comedy “The Weekend,” directed by Stella Meghie with Kris Belchevski serving as DP; action-comedy “Stuber,” directed by Michael Dowse with Bobby Shore serving as DP; and horror thriller “Pet Sematary,” directed by Kevin Kölsh and Dennis Widmyer with Laurie Rose serving as DP. Additionally, EFILM’s Jason Hanel provided the color finish for thriller “I See You,” directed by Adam Randall with Philipp Balubach serving as DP.
Encore’s Laura Jans-Fazio provided the color finish for upcoming OWN series “David Makes Man,” while Deluxe New York’s Sam Daley provided the color finish for drama “Adopt A Highway,” directed by Logan Marshall-Green with Pepe Avila del Pino serving as DP, and music documentary “Everybody’s Everything,” directed by Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan with Silyan also serving as DP.
On the sound front, drama “Run this Town,” directed by Ricky Tollman, was mixed at Deluxe Toronto by Chris Cooke and Mark Zsifkovits.
Here’s where SXSW Film Fest attendees can check out the premiere showings for each project:
Sunday, March 10, 2019
"David Makes Man" – 5:30pm at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, Theatre D
"The Weekend" – 8:15pm at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, Theatre B
"Adopt A Highway" – 8:30pm at the Stateside Theatre
"Everybody’s Everything" – 8:45pm at Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar, Theatre A
Monday, March 11, 2019
"I See You" – 11:30pm at the Stateside Theatre
Wednesday, March 13, 2019
"Stuber" – 9:30pm at the Paramount Theatre
Friday, March 15, 2019
"The Curse of La Llorona" – 9:30pm at the Paramount Theatre
Saturday, March 16, 2019
"Pet Sematary" – 8pm at the Paramount Theatre
December 16, 2018
Season two of Hulu’s acclaimed drama “Marvel’s Runaways” finds the six super-powered teenagers on the run and figuring out a way to take down their supervillain parents, otherwise known as the PRIDE. Encore Senior Colorist Bob Festa, who handled color finishing for the first season, provided the show’s fresh, more dramatic new look for season two, which was mastered and delivered in HDR Dolby Vision
Working closely with season two cinematographer Dave Perkal, ASC, Festa created a custom show LUT. “Part of my job was to take the great elements from season one and graft those together with our new approach to season two,” explained Festa. “The look had to be strong, bold, and graphic, with super crushed blacks and seared whites; we were not afraid of saturated color.”
Festa went on to add that Perkal’s expertise helped elevate the overall image of the series’ sophomore season. “Dave’s choices in terms of color combinations, lighting schemes and ratios made for really fantastic-looking footage.”
For more info on ‘Marvel’s Runaways’ visit: https://www.marvel.com/tv-shows/marvel-s-runaways/1
You can catch all episodes of season one and two of “Marvel’s Runaways” on Hulu.
November 12, 2018
The sixth and final season of Netflix’s award-winning political drama “House of Cards” centers on Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) as she takes over the role of POTUS. Encore Senior Colorist Laura Jans Fazio returned for the eight episode season, helping amplify the dark, moody aesthetic that borders on hyperreal.
Jans Fazio, who has colored the show since the second season, noted, “The look has become progressively more saturated while maintaining the same feel. It’s been an interesting evolution and I’ve particularly enjoyed working on exterior scenes and those in the White House residence and Oval Office, with their subtle tones and distinctive lighting, production design and wardrobe.”
For this season’s flashback sequences, including Claire’s upsetting childhood memory in episode one, Jans Fazio shaped a retro flashback look that still fit into the “House of Cards” world, desaturating the color without glow for a distinct effect but within the show’s palette. She said, “The flashbacks were very interesting color-wise. They’re faded and very pretty but showing a dark memory so it took some experimentation to balance both aspects. Working on this series has been an incredible experience, especially collaborating with the show’s exceptional post team. Each DP has been fabulous to work with and passionate about what they were bringing to the screen.”
All episodes of “House of Cards” and more information can be found here: https://www.netflix.com/title/70178217.
November 7, 2018
“Titans” is an all-new live action drama series that follows a group of young soon-to-be Super Heroes recruited from every corner of the DC Universe. In this action-packed series, Dick Grayson emerges from the shadows to become the leader of a fearless band of new heroes, including Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy and many others. Based on the Teen Titans comic book series, the hotly anticipated show premiered October 12 as the first original series to hit the DC Universe digital subscription service and has already been picked up for a second season. Considering the core narrative of “Titans,” visual effects are essential to depicting the main characters’ super powers as well as amplifying the high stakes action. VFX Supervisor Armen Kevorkian and his team of 200 artists at Encore VFX delivered nearly 1,200 VFX shots for “Titans” season one, working closely with production to bring the Titans characters to life.
“Our guide for all the ‘Titans’ VFX work was to stay grounded in reality, which is no small feat considering the scope. It’s definitely challenging to sell audiences on a green, photoreal tiger – an image that common sense rejects – but our team made an incredible asset, then did an excellent job animating his movements to appear natural while integrating him into environments in a way that was both pleasing to the eye and believable,” Kevorkian explained.
In preparation for transforming Beast Boy into a green tiger, Encore VFX artists focused on not only creating a feature-caliber asset, but also refining how his transformation would appear. They also conducted extensive R&D in designing the looks for Raven’s soul-self effect, and Starfire’s under skin glow and plasma-like fire she shoots from her hands.
“Raven’s look was inspired by ink and water, more liquid than smoke and with a violent, dirty edge. The aim was to make her black energy feel tangible,” said Kevorkian. “For Starfire, I referenced burning steel wool to give her skin that distinct and unique look, and we weighted the blast fire from her hands so that it feels viscous and otherworldly.”
For scenes with Dick Grayson (aka Robin), Encore VFX augmented practical footage with subtle effects to heighten the high-tech appeal of his gadgets, such as the double-sided baton and ninja star, and added a digital double for select stunts. Additionally, Encore VFX added CG explosions and fire as the story required and enhanced or added CG gore and blood.
“Titans” also introduces audiences to members of “The Doom Patrol,” a forthcoming original series set to premiere in 2019, also featuring VFX by Encore VFX. Kevorkian noted, “Working on each ‘Titans’ episode presented exciting new challenges and inspired us to push ourselves creatively. Also, it’s very cool that we get to tease some of the ‘Doom Patrol’ characters, which have unique capabilities that have been fun to develop and explore for on-screen portrayal.”
In addition to Encore’s VFX work for “Titans,” Deluxe also provided color finishing services for the series, with Colorist Tom Reiser handling several episodes.
From Weed Road Pictures and Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, “Titans” stars Brenton Thwaites, Anna Diop, Teagan Croft and Ryan Potter, and is executive produced by Akiva Goldsman, Geoff Johns, Greg Berlanti, Greg Walker, Sarah Schechter and John Fawcett. For more information on “Titans,” visit: https://www.dcuniverse.com/titans/.
October 24, 2018
Oahu-based Encore Colorist Troy Davis provides near-set dailies support for local productions capitalizing on the islands’ picturesque landscapes. His recent projects include the latest incarnations of “Hawaii Five-0,” currently in its ninth season, and freshman series “Magnum P.I.,” with both shows receiving final color finishing by Encore Senior Colorist Laura Jans Fazio in Hollywood.
Davis’ day typically starts about eight hours after shooting begins, when production breaks for lunch and he receives camera and sound files from the first half of a day’s shoot. He then sets to work on ensuring optimal footage formatting and syncing and applying the initial color balance using Encore’s proprietary Mobilabs system. He processes the footage shot from various cameras, such as ALEXA, Sony a7S, GoPro and drones, then delivers needed formats to editorial, uploads files to could storage, and pushes content to iPads for easy review by the director, DP and producers on set.
Hawaii’s stunning tropical locale is not without its challenges. “The weather changes rapidly and often, so a big part of my job is to keep the color even when it might be sunny one minute and pouring rain the next,” Davis explained.
To lay the groundwork for his color passes, Davis generally has a sit-down or in-depth conversation with the project’s DP, ideally after the camera test, to understand the desired vision and make sure it aligns with what’s displayed on his setup. Currently, he uses an output LUT created by Fazio as a starting point. On set, the DP works with the DIT to create looks in LiveGrade then sends those to Davis as .cdl files and stills to use as reference.
“Hawaii is my home and there’s no place I’d rather be. Mobilabs allows me to have the best of both worlds – the ability to work on high profile productions in a location that isn’t a traditional industry hub but is pretty incredible,” concluded Davis.
October 24, 2018
Season three of the Emmy-nominated superhero drama “Marvel’s Daredevil” finds blind lawyer turned vigilante Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) once again squaring off with archenemy Wilson Fisk (Vincent D’Onofrio). Encore Senior Colorist Tony D’Amore returned to provide the show’s familiar dark rich look, simultaneously delivering Dolby Vision and SDR grades.
“This season highlights the Daredevil red from the comics to visually tie into the look from The Defender series. We also catch hints of the dark yellow and green vibe from season one and the colorful look of season two. All these pieces converge to pave a whole new story line and with it an interesting new aesthetic,” noted D’Amore.
In nailing the final look, D’Amore explored different ways to manipulate the images and push creative boundaries, with DP Chris LaVasseur encouraging the experimentation. From removing all of the color from a scene then adding each hue back one by one, to isolating objects and creating character-specific color palettes, the pair devised various looks that were not only unique but also very clean, as if the image came directly off the camera that way.
“A lot of creative passion went into this season, and everyone on the production was open to trying new looks and approaches,” D’Amore said, “I’m particularly proud of the black and white scene; it’s something we haven’t done before and happened organically in the color suite. It just felt right, and that kind of intuition guided our entire color grading process.”
Episodes of “Marvel’s Daredevil” can be found here: https://www.netflix.com/title/80018294
October 3, 2018
Encore VFX artists across Burbank, Vancouver, and Atlanta have been busy prepping and delivering thousands of VFX shots for several series’ fall premieres and beyond, with work ranging from spectacle to subtle.
Encore VFX Supervisor and Executive Creative Director Armen Kevorkian and his team of VFX Supervisors comprising Eric Durst, Doug Ludwig, Gevork Babityan and Kim Rasser are handling VFX for nine shows airing and streaming this fall TV season, including new and returning series.
In addition to established fan favorites “The Flash,” “Supergirl” and “Black Lightning,” Encore VFX is working on gritty new superhero series “Titans,” coming to DC Universe October 12. Additional projects include “SEAL Team,” “Riverdale,” “All American,” “God Friended Me.”
While this is a spoiler-free zone, Encore’s upcoming work is sure to delight viewers. Stay tuned for details on how some of those key moments were created!
October 2, 2018
Encore, a Deluxe company, has added Colorist Andrea Chlebak to its roster of talent, and promoted veteran post producer Genevieve Fontaine to Director of Production. Chlebak brings a multidisciplinary background in feature films, docu-series and commercials across a range of aesthetics. Fontaine has been an integral post producer since joining the Encore team in early 2010.
“With our deep talent pool and advanced technical infrastructure, Encore helps our clients realize a wide spectrum of looks and handles nearly any deliverable, all while maintaining our close-knit, boutique atmosphere. We couldn’t be happier that Andrea is joining the Encore color team, and that we will have the fearless leadership of Genevieve as we evolve to meet client needs,” said Encore Head of Operations Morgan Strauss.
“Deluxe has an incredible global presence and I’m thrilled to be part of a worldwide operation by joining their Los Angeles team at Encore. I look forward to joining their dynamic crew and bringing my own genre-bending flavor of color to Encore, while continuing to explore new directions as an artist,” Chlebak noted.
Fontaine added, “Encore is a place where you are part of the team from the moment you walk through the door. We’re in the trenches with our clients no matter the time of day, and this level of service combined with our quality sets us apart. I’m beyond excited to help lead the Encore post team as they pave the way to even bigger and better achievements.”
Chlebak’s credits include award-winning indies “Mandy” and “Prospect,” Neill Blomkamp features “Elysium” and “Chappie,” and animated adaptation “Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet.” Having worked primarily in the digital landscape, her experience as an artist, still photographer, film technician, editor and compositor are evident in both her work and how she’s able to streamline communication with directors and cinematographers in delivering their vision.
In her new role, Fontaine’s responsibilities shift toward ensuring organized, efficient and future-proof workflows. Fontaine began her career as a telecine and dailies producer at Riot before moving to Encore, where she managed post for up to 11 shows at a time, including Marvel’s “The Defenders” series for Netflix. She understands all the building blocks necessary to keep a facility running smoothly and has been instrumental in establishing Encore as a leader in advanced formats, helping coordinate 4K, HDR and IMF-based workflows.
September 27, 2018
The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) recently announced the 2018 nominees for the HPA Awards creative categories, recognizing excellence in color grading, editing, visual effects and sound. Deluxe Toronto Colorist Chris Wallace earned a nod for his outstanding work on visionary director Guillermo del Toro’s "Shape of Water;" the Deluxe Toronto sound team of Christian Cooke, Brad Zoern, Nelson Ferreira, Nathan Robitaille was also recognized for their contribution to the Oscar-winning drama. On the visual effects front, artists at Encore VFX were nominated for both "Supergirl" (For Good) and "Legends of the Tomorrow" (The Good The Bad and the Cuddly) in the Outstanding VFX – Television (over 13 episodes) category; led by VFX Supervisor and ECD Armen Kevorkian, the "Supergirl" team includes Gevork Babityan, Kris Cabrera, Jerry Chalupnik and Jason Shulman, and the "Legends of Tomorrow" team includes Andranik Taranyan, Jason Shulman, Dan Aprea and Lycee Anaya.
Congrats to the Deluxe Toronto and Encore VFX artisans on the well-deserved honor, and best of luck to all the nominees. Full list here.
September 19, 2018
The eighth installment of Ryan Murphy’s anthology series, “American Horror Story: Apocalypse” teases catastrophic events and the aftermath, which Encore Senior Colorist Kevin Kirwan helps underscore through two distinct looks; he explained, “In the beginning, the exteriors are very desaturated and severe. For scenes in the underground silo, the costuming is stunning and it’s all set against a backdrop of candle and firelight. We stay pretty deep in the shadows but in a way that still showcases the incredible production design.”
In establishing the look of “Apocalypse,” Kirwan collaborated with DP Gavin Kelly to create a LUT as a starting point. From there, Encore Dailies Colorist Julio Giron handled the first pass, which Kirwan then refined through color grading sessions with EP Alexis Martin Woodall and Producer Todd Nenninger. Kirwan noted, “The jarring contrast between the exterior landscape and interior silo really sets an interesting tone for this season. With the path we’ve chosen, I think it will be really special, both in terms of look and story.”
A longtime collaborator of Murphy dating back to “Nip/Tuck” and “Glee,” Kirwan has colored all “American Horror Story” seasons to date as well as “American Crime Story,” “Pose” and “Feud.” Each project features a unique look tailored to serve its respective story. Concluded Kirwan, “The story always dictates the look and setting the tone is all about what Ryan and Alexis are after. Collaborating with them and the team they’ve assembled is a dream gig. Every show is unique, and each cast, writing team and production values are the absolute best of what Hollywood has to offer.”
“American Horror Story: Apocalypse” premiered on FX September 12. For details, check out: https://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/american-horror-story
September 18, 2018
Encore Senior Colorist Tony D’Amore has forged a reputation as an HDR pioneer for his episodic work, including several shows in the Marvel/Netflix library such as “Marvel’s Iron Fist,” “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” “Marvel’s Daredevil,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” and “Marvel’s The Defenders.” Enlisted to grade these shows in Dolby Vision HDR, which offers both a wider range of rich colors and a greater contrast ratio so that a show’s visuals can reach their full potential, D’Amore has the opportunity to visualize an entire extended universe while establishing uniquely identifiable looks around each series.
For season two of “Marvel’s Iron Fist,” which was released September 7th on Netflix, D’Amore collaborated closely with DP Niels Alpert and showrunner Raven Metzner to evolve the overall look of the show. With all new sets and locations, the look became naturally moodier, prompting D’Amore to move beyond the show’s standard green-based palette.
“With these new environments, Niels, Raven and I all agreed to be less deliberate about the color and if a certain set or location leaned one way, we didn’t force the color another way,” explained D’Amore. “The familiar green tone is still present in the overall look of the show, but we’ve opened it up more and embraced the darker mood. Plus, in HDR it has all of the rich colors and contrast that fans appreciate. This season viewers will see some very cool character aspects that really shine in HDR.”
“Marvel’s Iron Fist” season two was filmed on the RED Weapon, and graded in Dolby Vision HDR on a Dolby Pulsar 4000-nit monitor, one of only a handful in use around the world. D’Amore opted not to use a LUT in order to maintain the widest possible color gamut throughout the workflow, although he did create a custom LUT for production to preview looks on set and for dailies.
&nbsAll episodes of “Marvel’s Iron Fist” are now streaming on Netflix. For more info, visit: https://www.netflix.com/title/80002612
August 08, 2018
Harlem's favorite bulletproof hero meets his match when the mysterious and powerful Bushmaster shows up to stake his own claim on the neighborhood in season two of “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” now streaming on Netflix. As with season one, Encore’s Tony D’Amore handled color grading for the latest season of the series, delivering in both SDR and HDR. Having collaborated previously, D’Amore and season two DP Petr Hlinomaz were quickly in sync and able to efficiently communicate with an established shorthand.
D’Amore explained, “The rich dark photography mixed with the warm color palette lend a bold and sexy look to the season. Petr and I both give 100 percent and I think it shows.”
Keeping in line with the strong yellow and orange palette from season one, D’Amore helped push the look even further for the sophomore outing. For guidance on set and in dailies, D’Amore provided a LUT though it was not used for the final Dolby Vision HDR grade.
To view episodes of “Marvel’s Luke Cage,” visit: https://www.netflix.com/title/80002537
Deluxe Creative Brands Lend Color Expertise to 2018 Emmy Nominees
July 13, 2018
In the era of peak TV, there’s no shortage of compelling storytelling and high quality production values, which make industry recognition all the more impressive. Deluxe is thrilled to have contributed to several of this year’s Primetime Emmy Award contenders, including “Westworld,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,” “Genius: Picasso,” “Wild Wild Country,” “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” and “Legion” – which collectively earned more than 70 nominations. It’s with great honor that Deluxe teams get to work with the talented directors, cinematographers, and production teams on these shows.
Nods for dark odyssey “Westworld,” colored by Encore’s Shane Harris, include Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Cinematography (John Grillo). Colored by Deluxe Toronto’s Bill Ferwerda, 2017 Outstanding Drama Series winner “The Handmaid’s Tale” is once again vying for the honor this year, as well as Outstanding Directing (Karl Skogland), Editing (Wendy Hallam Martin) and Cinematography (Colin Watkinson), among other categories.
“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” earned nominations for Outstanding Limited Series, Directing (Ryan Murphy), Editing (Emily Greene, Shelly Westerman, Chi-Yoon Chung), and more. Color for the series was handled by Encore’s Kevin Kirwan. Outstanding Children’s Program nominee “A Series of Unfortunate Events” was also colored at Encore, by Laura Jans Fazio, as was “GENIUS: Picasso,” which received nods for Outstanding Limited Series, and Outstanding Cinematography for Mathias Herndl. Encore’s Tony D’Amore colored “Legion,” for which Dana Gonzalez was nominated for Outstanding Cinematography.
Recognition for riveting Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series nominee “Wild Wild Country,” which was handled at EFILM with Mitch Paulson serving as supervising colorist and Joel McWilliams as colorist, includes Outstanding Directing (Chapman Way and Maclain Way) and Editing (Neil Meiklejohn).
Congrats to all the nominees and best of luck! Full list available here.
July 03, 2018
“Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” is the story of Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) – two teenagers from very different backgrounds, who find themselves burdened and awakened to newly acquired superpowers which are mysteriously linked to one another. The only constant in their lives is danger and each other. Tandy can emit light daggers and Tyrone has the ability to control the power of darkness. They quickly learn they are better together than apart. “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger” stars Olivia Holt, Aubrey Joseph, Emma Lahana, Jaime Zevallos, Andrea Roth, Gloria Reuben, Miles Mussenden, Carl Lundstedt, and J.D. Evermore.
Airing on Freeform, the new series is colored by Encore’s Tony D’Amore, who graded the series with low contrast and low color saturation for a unique look that showcased the light and dark aspects of the superhero powers.
Countering Tyrone’s dark energy effect was a challenge on the project, but D’Amore raised the black level, adding blur effects to shorten the optical depth of field. He worked closely with DP Cliff Charles, each episode’s director, and executive producer and showrunner Joe Pokaski. Together they determined how best to shape the frame through power windows, highlight keys and blur effects to keep the audience focused on key parts of the screen while maintaining Charles’ rich photography.
The process of coloring the show was quite fluid, with different color approaches used for most scenes and locations. Explained D’Amore, “No single LUT would work across scenes because the looks are so unique and varied, so production combined the standard LOG-LIN LUT with their imaginations on set, then I helped take the look the rest of the way.”
Catch all-new episodes of “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger,” Thursdays, 8/7c, on Freeform.
For more information on “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger,” visit: https://freeform.go.com/shows/marvels-cloak-and-dagger/clips/the-official-cloak-dagger-trailer
June 20, 2018
The past and present collide in "Yellowstone," which follows the Dutton family as they push back against the modern world’s encroachment on their Big Sky Country ranch and unadorned way of life that extends back four generations. The series premieres on the Paramount Network on Wednesday, June 20th, and boasts a veritable band of Western veterans in its creator -- Taylor Sheridan, who is coming off his critically acclaimed directorial debut in "Wind River," and star Kevin Costner, director of Academy Award-winner "Dances with Wolves" and Western masterpiece "Open Range." Sheridan describes the partnership with Paramount Network as artistically freeing, “Technically we can do anything. And creatively we can explore anything.”
Production of the show took place in Utah and Montana, where cinematographer Ben Richardson captured the land’s awe-inspiring natural beauty on the Arri Alexa XT. Richardson turned to EFILM and senior colorist Mitch Paulson for the series’ color finishing.
Paulson and Richardson had previously collaborated on Netflix’s "Sand Castle" and Sheridan’s "Wind River," allowing the pair to draw upon their creative shorthand in post. Working out of EFILM’s facility in Hollywood, they graded the series pilot and would send finished passes to Sheridan, who remained in Utah. Paulson explains, “The trust between Ben and Taylor trickles down to post. And Ben is a special cinematographer. He creates his own LUTs that are always very filmic. He also puts together some of his own visual effects. My background in compositing and visual effects really lends itself to his style.”
For both Paulson and Richardson, "Yellowstone" presented a unique opportunity to bring their cinematic sensibilities to the episodic world. After completing the pilot, they enlisted Deluxe’s episodic post company Encore and Senior Colorist Bob Festa to finish the remaining eight episodes, with Paulson serving as Supervising Colorist. Paulson and Festa worked closely to create a seamless Log Offset workflow, a cinematic approach that Paulson uses for feature films.
Festa describes the workflow, “Log Offset is a three-color super elegant workflow – using discreet red, green, and blue channels – that keeps the color curves aligned in a logarithmic fashion that moves linearly, with no mixing or contamination of the channels. When you stretch, crush, or amplify anything, those colors never get crossed, mixed, or damaged. It creates an image that harkens back to the film laboratory days in the beautiful photo-chemical simplicity of the curves.” Adding, “The show is a cinematic modern-day Western, and that dictates the look. Ben embraced the natural majesty of the locations, let the corners bleed, and it shows up in a classic big screen look.”
Paulson concludes, “The show has a lot of earthy tones – greens, browns. There’s a scene where a developer has built his golf course that runs right up to the Dutton ranch. We made the golf course lush and green, pushing those colors. Whereas on the ranch side we kept things dustier, brown, and not as well manicured. This contrast is indicative of the theme of these two worlds – the past and the present – colliding.”
To watch "Yellowstone" visit http://www.paramountnetwork.com/shows/yellowstone
May 31, 2018
For season two of HBO’s thrilling sci-fi drama series WESTWORLD, Encore colorist Shane Harris teamed with cinematographers John Grillo and Darran Tiernan* for both SDR and HDR color grades. A favorite of critics and audiences, WESTWORLD examines artificial intelligence, humanity, and morality through the eponymous theme park where guests can indulge their taboo fantasies with lifelike robot hosts. In the highly anticipated second season, a reckoning is underway as the hosts have begun to revolt against their human captors. Harris, who colored season one in SDR only, worked closely with the cinematographers to evolve the look of the show as the story expands into new worlds, including “Shogun World” and “The Raj.”
With the series shot on film, Encore once again handled the 4K scanning of footage, racking up an average of 20,000 feet of film per day. Encore also managed automated VFX pulls and returns via its proprietary service Synapse Portal, which simplifies ingest and automates distribution of original camera plates to VFX vendors with the desired specs, thereby reducing turnaround times and eliminating the potential for human error. Dailies were scanned to HD DPX in Log color space, allowing Harris to have the full range of the negative in final color, which he graded in DaVinci Resolve.
In developing new looks for season two, Harris utilized a “bleach bypass” technique for the new “Shogun World” which retained the silver of the negative when processing the film, creating a totally distinct feel. For “The Raj,” Harris created a warm look with golden hues to differentiate from the familiar Westworld frontier palette. In battle sequences, Harris applied a cooler, de-saturated look to underscore the harsh story aspects.
“Each DP brought new ideas to the table to ultimately create one unified look across season two,” said Harris. “There were instances where we carried over the look from season one, but we also had great opportunities to explore other distinct parks and take the audience on a ride. Working with film was also a rare treat and gave us the chance to push certain looks that you can really only achieve with that medium.”
WESTWORLD season two stars Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden and Tessa Thompson. New episodes premiere Sunday nights on HBO at 9pm ET/PT; the series is also available on HBO NOW, HBO GO, HBO On Demand and partners’ streaming platforms.
*WESTWORLD season two was shot by cinematographers Paul Cameron, ASC, M. David Mullen, ASC, John Grillo and Darran Tiernan.
May 22, 2018
Season two of National Geographic’s acclaimed anthology series GENIUS focuses on legendary artist Pablo Picasso (Antonio Banderas), requiring not just a new storyline but a new aesthetic to illustrate this visually-rich world. Encore Senior Colorist Pankaj Bajpai, who also colored season one, aimed for authenticity in translating the vibrant sensations of Picasso’s art – and personal volatility – to the screen.
Bajpai worked closely with DP Mathias Herndl to create an iconic color palette inspired by Picasso’s singular and unconventional artistic vision, allowing viewers to feel the visuals on a deeper level as though they’re inside a Picasso museum exhibit. The striking look also serves to highlight the dramatic turns in Picasso’s personal life – such as tumultuous marriages and affairs, and shifting personal and political alliances – depicted throughout the show.
Bajpai explained, “Early on in the project, Mathias and I spoke at length about the quality and texture of light. Our goal was to create visuals through both the photography and the color that reflect with the experience of having walked through an art gallery. It also helped that Antonio grew up in the same neighborhood as Picasso, and pointed out specific locations there that gave us further inspiration and helped us view the world through Picasso’s eyes.”
Executive produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, GENIUS has been a smash success for National Geographic, with season one becoming the network’s most-watched show of 2017 with 86M viewers worldwide, and earning a network-record ten Emmy nominations. The highly anticipated second season premiered on April 24 and is currently airing on Tuesday nights.
FX’s Critically-Acclaimed Series, Legion, Airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT
May 10, 2018
Encore, a long-time provider of post-production services, is providing fans of FX’s critically acclaimed series Legion with a richer viewing experience using High Dynamic Range (HDR). Having colored the first season, Encore Colorist Tony D'Amore delivered both HDR10 and Rec709 grades – completing the HDR pass first, and then using the HDR image as a guide to optimize the SDR version for Legion’s second season, which currently airs Tuesdays at 10pm ET/PT on FX.
“HDR is changing the way stories are told, especially for shows like Legion in which visuals play a key role. The vivid colors are impactful and significantly enhance the audience’s experience,” D’Amore said.
With experience grading more than 140 hours of HDR content, D’Amore first set the desired look of the series in HDR before achieving a similar result in SDR. This approach allowed D’Amore to evaluate the full possibility of the images while emphasizing highlight and color details that are often lost in standard definition. To achieve the show’s signature look, D’Amore used HDR to bring out softer colors, such as yellow and cyan, as well as various textures and set design elements.
“HDR allows you to explore subtle colors, especially within the P3 color space. While the first season of Legion was mainly set in a hospital, the second season significantly expands its range of locations and looks. Applying HDR helps enhance those locations and looks by allowing the visuals to explode off the screen and magnify the show’s dazzling look,” explained D’Amore.
For more information on FX’s Legion, visit: http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/legion
April 04, 2018
As part of its Creative Masters Series, NAB 2018 will provide attendees with a behind-the-scenes look at the
making of “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” through a discussion with Series Creator, Showrunner
and Executive Producer Melissa Rosenberg; DP Manuel Billeter; and Encore Sr. Colorist Tony D’Amore,
with Nerdist Managing Editor and Host of Fangirling Alicia Lutes moderating. Scheduled for Monday, April 9
at 2:15pm, the 50-minute panel will be held in South Hall S222-223 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, and
is expected to touch on artistic collaboration, designing and realizing the noir-influenced look, lighting
and color correcting for HDR, and on-set and post workflows for the hit Netflix series.
The session is open to NAB Conference Flex Pass holders, and Exhibits-only badge holders who have purchased a Conference Flex Pass Pack. For more information on the session, visit: https://nab18.mapyourshow.com/7_0/sessions/session-details.cfm?ScheduleID=753
March 28, 2018
Netflix's Altered Carbon extends beyond traditional TV programming, as one of the first episodic shows to be shot on the ARRI ALEXA 65 and finished in Dolby Vision HDR. Post-production teams from Deluxe’s global studios and producer Skydance Television needed to develop a collaborative, proactive workflow.
January 06, 2018
In another outstanding year of television, we’re so excited to see our clients and collaborators in editorial recognized with ACE Eddie Award nominations! We love working with you to share these gripping stories on screen.
Congratulations to Kabir Akhtar & Kyla Plewes (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend “Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge”), Julian Clarke & Wendy Hallam Martin (Handmaid’s Tale "Offred"), James D. Wilcox (Genius: Einstein “Chapter One”), Adam Penn & Ken Ramos (Feud “Pilot”), Henk Van Eeghen (Fargo “Aporia”), and Andrew Seklir (Fargo “Who Rules the Land of Denial”) for being nominated across the comedy, drama, and mini-series categories.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend “Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge” was colored by Laura Jans-Fazio at Encore Hollywood; Handmaid’s Tale "Offred" was colored at Deluxe Toronto by Bill Ferwerda; Genius: Einstein “Chapter One” was colored at Encore Hollywood by Pankaj Bajpai; Feud “Pilot” was colored by Kevin Kirwan at Encore Hollywood; and both Fargo “Aporia” and “Who Rules the Land of Denial” were colored by Tony D’Amore at Encore Hollywood.
January 04, 2018
Andy Manidis, VP of Technical Solutions at Deluxe details how Encore is helping to bridge the gaps of content creation and distribution through end-to-end technologies that span a global scale in this Post Magazine article. Read more.
November 03, 2017
We’re happy to let our clients know that Lauren Arnold has returned to our Hollywood team, now in a Sales Executive role.
October 20, 2017
This season, AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead” is set in a brittle, drought-plagued environment. So when production was about to commence, the show’s principals were concerned that the normally dry shoot locations in Mexico had undergone record rainfall. DPs Christopher LaVasseur and Scott Peck and colorist Pankaj Bajpai conferred on how best to handle this surprising development. Read More
September 27, 2017
Artists across our Creative division at Company 3, EFilm and Encore have been nominated for five HPA Awards, recognizing achievement of talent, innovation and engineering. We’re looking forward to celebrating all of the work and honorees at 11th Annual HPA Awards on November 16th. Our nominees include:
Outstanding Color Grading, Commercial: Company 3's Tom Poole for Squarespace – “John’s Journey” and Jose Cuervo – “Last Days”; Company 3’s Sofie Borup for Nedbank –"The Tale of a Note"; Company 3’s Billy Gabor for Land O’Lakes “The Farmer;” and Company 3’s Dave Hussey for Pennzoil– "JOYRIDE Tundra.”
Outstanding Color Grading, Feature Film: Company 3's Stefan Sonnenfeld, for his work on “Beauty and the Beast”; and EFilm’s Natasha Leonnet, for her work on “Hidden Figures.”
Outstanding Color Grading, Television: Encore’s Pankaj Bajpai for his work on Genius “Einstein - Chapter 1.”
September 22, 2017
Studio Daily asked Pankaj Bajpai to fill them in on how the post world is evolving to meet the new needs of episodic television. Read the interview here: http://www.studiodaily.com/2017/09/encore-hollywoods-pankaj-bajpai-vfx-hdr-changing-culture-tv-post/
September 18, 2017
July 18, 2017
Fewer things are more satisfying than when our clients are recognized for their creative excellence, and
the list of 2017 Emmy Award nominees features several series that Encore is proud to have worked on: “American
Gods,” “Fargo,” “Feud: Bette and Joan,” “Genius,” “House of Cards,” “Mr. Robot,” “Sense8,” and “Westworld”
– five of the shows nominated for best series in their respective categories.
“Westworld” is tied for the most-nominated show this year with 22, including Best Drama Series, and Outstanding Cinematography for DP Paul Cameron, a frequent collaborator of Encore Colorist Shane Harris.
DP Tod Campbell is also contending for Cinematography honors for his work on USA’s “Mr. Robot,” colored by Laura Jans Fazio at Encore, with dailies by Encore in New York; as is DP Dana Gonzales for “Fargo,” which Encore and Deluxe Toronto co-colored, with dailies also handled by Deluxe Toronto. Jans Fazio also colored Best Drama Series contender “House of Cards,” recognized with four nominations. Encore Hollywood completed dailies and final color for “FEUD: Bette And Joan,” and “Genius,” and conformed “American Gods.” Encore VFX contributed work to “Sense8.”
Good luck to all the nominees! http://www.emmys.com/sites/default/files/Downloads/69th-nominations-list-v1ry.pdf
June 19, 2017
Streaming Media’s June issue is all about HDR. It’s a great resource and includes this interview from our own Colorist Martin Zeichner, based in New York, on the differences between Dolby Vision and HDR 10. Read the full piece here: http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/Editorial/Featured-Articles/Deluxes-Martin-Zeichner-on-HDR-118852.aspx
May 23, 2017
Post Magazine’s feature highlights key creative relationships on some of TV’s most significant series and shows, including conversations with DP Paul Cameron and Colorist Shane Harris, who collaborate on the critically-acclaimed Westworld series. Cameron notes, “I’ve been working with Shane for close to two decades now. He’s done most of my film dailies for years and we have a very good relationship. I can reference something to him very quickly and leave him a cryptic message at 5 o’clock in the morning — we have a great shorthand.” Read the full piece here (page 27): http://digital.copcomm.com/i/825852-may-2017
May 04, 2017
Congratulations to our artists on Legends of Tomorrow, The Flash, A Series of Unfortunate Events, The Unseen, and Sidekick, whose work has been nominated for this year’s Leo Awards! A project of the Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Foundation of British Columbia, the Leo Awards recognize the best work both above and below the line in the Canadian film and television industry. Legends, The Flash, and A Services of Unfortuante Events are honored in the Best Visual Effects in a Dramatic Series category, with Armen Kevorkian, Meagan Condito, Rick Ramirez, Andranik Taranyan, and James Rorick nominated for Legends of Tomorrow — Invasion; Armen Kevorkian, James Baldanzi, Thomas Connors, Gevork Babityan, and Marc Lougee nominated for The Flash — King Shark; and Luis Alejandro Guevara, Bob Habros, Cale Jacox, Ron Simonson, and Jeffrey De Guzman nominated for A Services of Unfortuante Events — The Reptile Room Part 1. Bob Habros and Adele Venables are nominated for Best Visual Effects in a Motion Picture for The Unseen; and Armen Kevorkian and James Baldanzi are nominated for Best Visual Effects in a Short Drama for the short film Sidekick. See a full list of nominees here and stay tuned for the awards shows on May 27 and June 3!
March 30, 2017
Ahead of the March 17 launch of Iron Fist, Netflix hosted a two-day media event that included an in-depth
look at HDR and how it transforms the viewing experience. Encore Colorist Tony D’Amore walked journalists through
the HDR grading process step-by-step at Dolby’s high-tech headquarters in San Francisco.
As leaders in the use of this new format for episodic television, Netflix and Marvel have been collaborating with Encore; initially to re-master previous seasons of Marvel series including Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage in HDR, and now, with Iron Fist, to master natively in the brilliant new format.
Variety caught up with Tony at the event to talk about HDR’s developing aesthetic, and his path from HDR newcomer to pioneer.
January 31, 2017
Encore was represented at this year's Sundance Film Festival with the mysterious When the Street Lights Go
On – a pilot colored by Shane Harris, which screened as part of the fest's Independent Pilot Showcase. The
show is the brainchild of director Brett Morgen, who's known for unusual and creative approaches to documentary
filmmaking on features such as Crossfire Hurricane (about the Rolling Stones) and the intimate Kurt Cobain
portrait, Montage of Heck, both of which Harris colored.
Set in the 1980s, Streetlights concerns nerdy high school freshman (Max Burkholder) whose somewhat mundane existence changes when he gets caught up in the events surrounding a horrible murder. Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Ellen Kuras, who shot the episode, worked with Morgen and Harris developing a unique look for the show prior to commencement of principal photography.
"It was a wonderful experience working on this," says Harris. "Brett Morgen always seeks out creative ways to use visuals to tell a story and Ellen Kuras is so talented and always interested in trying different things. As with all Brett Morgen's projects, working on it was a very rewarding experience."
December 07, 2016
Wired’s Matt Kamen visits New York and Encore to “observe how Iron Fist goes from a gloomy rooftop to one of the first Netflix shows to debut in 4K HDR,” getting perspectives from Encore’s Tony D’Amore, Martin Zeichner, and Jay Tilin along the way.
May 03, 2016
THR’s Sydney Bucksbaum talks to Encore Visual effects supervisor Armen Kevorkian about how the VFX team for The CW's The Flash does the impossible on a weekly basis: deliver near movie-quality special effects on a TV budget and schedule. As Bucksbaum notes, “Real superheroes don't wear capes — they just help create them.”
April 17, 2015
Encore handled the high-resolution postproduction, which included creation of 6K archive masters and 4K delivery masters.
The streaming service has been among the most aggressive OTT platforms in pushing a move to "Ultra HD," and season two of the D.C.-set thriller was its first series to be released in 4K (four times the resolution of HD).
Season three was again lensed with Red cameras (a go-to camera for House of Cards exec producer David Fincher, who also used Red on features including Gone Girl) but this time, with Red’s 6K Dragon sensor, billed as offering roughly nine times more pixels that HD.
Postproduction was handled at Encore in Hollywood, where the team put together a workflow to accommodate the 6K R3D camera files from production, as well as visual effects shots in 6K DPX files (delivered by VFX suppliers including Olin and Savage), according to Encore's senior vp operations Morgan Strauss. This is highly unusual; many features that are finished in 4K do their VFX in 2K due to the large file sizes.
Read more 'House of Cards' Season 3: TV Review
“We mixed the native camera files and uncompressed 6K files … and conformed in [Autodesk’s] Flame, staying as native as possible," says Strauss. Colorist Laura Jans-Fazio graded the series using FilmLight's Baselight system.
Encore claimed it created 6K archive masters that were roughly 5.5TB for each one-hour episode, as well as a 4K version, roughly 2.5TB per one-hour episode, which was delivered to Netflix. Since 4K is four times as much picture information as HD and 6K is even greater, post houses generally say the cost increases for 4K primarily surround data storage.
The representatives from Encore evaded specific questions about the House of Cards budget, only offering that it didn’t charge a premium compared with last season, which was already being finished in 5K to create a 4K Netflix master.
Viewers with the bandwidth to handle 4K and an Ultra HD TV to display the 4K will be able to see the higher-resolution version. Otherwise, fans will see an HD version.
Encore or Deluxe sister companies also post Netflix series including Orange Is the New Black and Marco Polo.
Senior Colorist Pankaj Bajpai and VFX supervisor Jane Sharvina discuss Olive Kitteridge.
November 21, 2014
To create the small screen adaptation of its miniseries, Olive Kitteridge, HBO turned to Encore for dailies,
conform, color and supportive VFX. Unlike typical episodics, which are generally shot digitally, Olive Kitteridge
was shot on film, requiring full DI on top of the postproduction services for the show’s four hours of content.
The miniseries, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is directed by Lisa Cholodenko. Starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray tells the sweet, funny and tragic story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, told through the lens of Olive (McDormand), whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and staunch moral center. The four-part project premiered on HBO Nov. 2 and 3, following a critically acclaimed debut at the Venice Film Festival in September.
“The television and theatrical worlds are converging as big name stars and significant financial backing are elevating programming to a new standard,” said Bill Romeo, executive VP at Encore, a Deluxe Entertainment Services company. “While we specialize in posting episodic television, we are seeing more projects come in that are created on a feature film scale like Olive Kitteridge. It’s exciting to take on jobs of this magnitude.”
LR-image003With filming based in Massachusetts, each day’s footage was sent to Deluxe Labs in New York for processing. The developed negatives were then scanned as ADX 2K DPX files for an ACES-compliant workflow made possible by Encore’s proprietary DiTV dailies system, with HD deliverables created for editorial and production from the 2K source media.
Once the filming wrapped, all scanned files were sent to Encore Hollywood for conform, color and VFX. Autodesk Smoke was employed for the 2K conform and then Encore senior colorist Pankaj Bajpai took the content through a DI finishing pipeline on a Baselight 4 grading system. The custom workflow made extensive use of shared timelines, a high-bandwidth data network and Encore’s vast storage, (3 petabytes), which easily held all episodes online for the entire duration of the post process. To deliver uncompromising access to all of the media at any given time, Encore executed custom coding per the specific needs of the project. Throughout the color grading process, Bajpai collaborated closely with DP Fred Elmes to ensure the final aesthetic matched the directorial creative vision.
Additionally, Encore Hollywood handled more than 200 VFX shots, a large portion of which was created for a five-minute sequence depicting an approaching storm, which was an important narrative element. Practically shot in various weather conditions, the footage was augmented with extensive sky replacements by Encore’s artists to achieve the appropriate gloomy and dramatic effect. The team, led by VFX supervisor Jane Sharvina, helped design the various cloud configurations and integrated small details in establishing shots, like flapping flags in the wind, for added authenticity. Encore also handled invisible VFX work, such as background replacements and ensuring design continuity from shot to shot.
Visual Effects Supervisor, Armen Kevorkian, talks The Flash
November 21, 2014
In The Flash, the television series currently airing on The CW and based on the famous DC Comics character,
assistant police forensic investigator Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) suffers a major electrical and chemical
event that causes him – and other ‘metahumans’ – to possess incredible superpowers.
For Allen this is the ability to move at superhuman speeds, an effect achieved in the show largely with the
help of Encore Hollywood. We find out from visual effects supervisor Armen Kevorkian how they helped bring
the Flash to life.
In the show, the Flash’s super-speed is depicted generally in four ways:
1. Wide shots showing the Flash powering through a city street or environment, completed as CG streaks by the VFX team.
2. Fast ‘in and out’ of frame shots. “We call them flash blurs,” says Kevorkian, “where we don’t need a transition between him and a CG double, but it’s not wide enough to showcase that.”
3. Transition shots, for example of Allen launching into action which then transitions into a CG double.
4. Completely CG double shots. For these, Encore invested significant time R&D’ing a more feature film approach to the digi-double work.
For several years one of the most successful solutions for crafting a digital human character has been to acquire scans of an actor’s face via a Light Stage, technology that is continually developed at USC ICT and based on original research by Paul Debevec at UC Berkeley. “I had been reading about Paul’s work for years,” says Kevorkian, “and I thought if I ever did a superhero show, that’s the way I would do it on television.”
Before shooting had begun, Kevorkian had Gustin attend a Light Stage capture session (other characters in the series were captured this way too). “Early on,” comments Kevorkian, “I knew that having a really good quality CG double was going to be really important to the show and it was a feature mentality of how to do it. It meant that we could be really up close to the CG double and if we do our job well with lighting and integration in the scene, no one will be able to know.”
To create the rest of Flash in CG, Kevorkian orchestrated a further body scan of Gustin, and captured high quality texture photographs with polarized lights and filters of the on-set costume.
The digital Flash makes appearances for several kinds of shots; when stunts would be too dangerous, for example, and for when the shots need to depict time slowing down around him. In the show’s pilot, these slow-mo sequences were filmed with a Phantom camera, but that proved to be too cost prohibitive going forward. Now the production take advantage of the ARRI Alexa’s 120 frames per second abilities and do slow-mo and time ramp effects in post. “The biggest challenge with that is that the way we generate our light beam is based on his motion and speed,” says Kevorkian. “We technically have to work with a lot more frames and animate them at 120 even for the moments that are sped up just so everything looks natural.”
The correct look for the Flash – featuring his trademark blur and also resulting pieces of lightning – was nailed in the pilot for a scene when Allen rescues a bicyclist messenger who is struck by a taxi. “That was shot with a Phantom at 900 fps,” notes Kevorkian. “We did the stunt for real and they pulled him in a way that looked like he was flying up in the air and then something comes and takes him and saves him. It was the first shot we added a CG Flash to where we animated him the whole way but then would expose or slow him down for the moments you want to see him connecting with the bike rider.”
A recent episode, ‘Going Rogue’, in which Flash encounters the dangerous Leonard Snart / Captain Cold (Wentworth Miller), presented a stand-out demonstration of Encore’s digital Flash. The episode’s signature sequence involves a train crash orchestrated by Snart when he fires his icy cold gun to freeze the train wheels. “Cold jumps off the train and Flash has to save all these people,” explains Kevorkian. “We did a half real time / half slow motion train crash, going inside the train which was shot on stage – people hanging in the air, glass breaking in the air – all in Flash time.”
Executive Creative Director Stephan Fleet sat down with Post Magazine to discuss VFX on S2 of Under The Dome.
February 06, 2014
The CBS summer 2013 hit, Under The Dome, gave viewers a look at the personal and political dynamics of a
small American town that’s suddenly covered by an impermeable, transparent dome, which isolates them from contact
and communication with the outside world. Based on the novel by Stephen King (who is an executive producer,
along with Steven Spielberg), the series returns this summer — possibly with some explanations of the dome’s
secrets, and definitely with more mysteries.
Since the dome plays such a big role in the show, developing its look was a crucial part of the VFX work. “When Episode 5 was filming, I was still creating looks for the dome on my laptop and showing them to the executives,” says Stephan Fleet, executive creative director at Encore (www.encorepost.com) and VFX supervisor for Under The Dome. “We couldn’t see it in every shot or the whole show would be a VFX shot. But when we got close to it we had to know what it looked like, what it felt like when people touched it.”
Some properties of the dome were pre-established. “We always knew it would slice through things,” Fleet says. “It had to be hard, not wobbly. It was semi-magical but had to be believable — it couldn’t look like ice or be too supernatural. And it couldn’t be reflective because that would pose huge production issues” for an episodic show. Fleet put up pieces of plastic for the actors to interact with on set but avoided any complicated props that would require a lot of time in post to remove. “For TV, you aim for as little footprint as possible on the set,” he notes.
That the dome could slice through things was evident from the start, when one of its edges came down on a farm, cleaving a cow in two. The first proposal called for a stuffed cow prop, sweetened with VFX blood and gore. When that didn’t work as well as desired, it was ultimately recreated in CG. “And the half-cow became the icon of the show: It’s on T-shirts and posters,” Fleet exclaims.
A truck and plane crash from outside into the dome were also CG. The truck crash was initially planned as a practical effect. “It almost worked, but when we blended in CG enhancements, it read too fake, so we went with 100 percent CG,” he says.
Monarch butterflies were a recurring motif. A flock of them first appeared inside the dome wall, fanned out in all their glory. Later in the episode, a nuclear missile failed to breach the dome (the complete destruction on the other side was full CG environment replacement by Encore). Then, a single monarch reappeared and landed on the dome. The butterfly also played a key role in the season finale.
“We didn’t know that the monarchs would be a huge theme in the show” at the outset, says Fleet. “We built about 14 quality butterflies for that opening sequence on the dome wall and a detailed butterfly for the very end of the show. An individual butterfly model is fairly easy to execute, but we needed to use particle simulations to multiply them. It took a lot of math and horsepower to make them realistic.”
Encore also created VFX for the mini dome, which formed around a mysterious egg found in the woods. The mini dome turned white before it exploded and dissolved to dirt — all VFX shots. Encore enhanced the egg itself, which typically appeared as a prop, creating “pink stuff” that crawled up its surface and a caterpillar that transformed into the hero monarch butterfly, which appears to select a leader from the town’s supernaturally gifted young residents.
Fleet, and Encore’s other VFX supervisor, Adam Avitabile, opted for practical solutions whenever possible. “I’m a big fan of practical effects,” says Fleet. “We use a process of elimination to determine what will be VFX shots. I’m not a fan of up-selling people.”
For the long-awaited pink falling stars — referenced in the first episode and finally visualized at the end of Season 1 — Encore had few specifics to guide them. The team initially created pink stars that “looked more like fireworks,” Fleet says. Then he and his artists suggested having them shoot up the sides of the dome in otherworldly straight lines — a hauntingly-cool image that everyone loved.
The stars were a mix of particles composited with treetops and other natural elements captured by Fleet with his Canon 5D camera and used as plates. Autodesk 3DS Max was the show’s main 3D software, with Nuke the primary compositing tool and Andersson Technologies’ SynthEyes the tracking software. Encore handled post for the series as well.
Fleet notes that creating VFX for TV “gets harder every season because the stakes are raised with every show.” He approaches a series with a sense of restraint, however. “We have an honest dialogue about what I think is feasible and what isn’t. I want shows to look good with quality VFX — I’ve seen too many with too much stuff going on, and the VFX suffer.”
Pankaj Bajpai discusses the 4K workflow, as well as its future and inevitable adoption.
February 06, 2014
In the February 2014 issue of HDVideoPro, we examined the current 4K post environment for filmmakers producing
4K content, from capture to post. We took a look at a number of categories, including cameras, computer hardware,
NLEs, on-set workflow and color-grading systems. To sum up, with the exception of ARRI, 4K is the dominant
capture format, but it's still not quite ready for post and is a long way from widespread distribution. Some
inhibiting factors include computer hardware speed and storage capacity, but the main inhibitor has been the
living room. For the majority of us, there are no 4K platforms for either broadcast or the Internet to view
content. And without more 4K distribution platforms, content providers will be hesitant to jump into 4K, especially
for television broadcast.
Encore senior colorist and VP of Business Innovation Pankaj Bajpai at work.
As you already know, the current HD content you're viewing while watching broadcast TV is either 720p or 1080i, so for most television viewing, 4K is strictly being shot for archival. There are new Blu-ray players on the market that can upscale HD to a UHD (3840x2160 resolution) set, but there are still no 4K Blu-ray discs on the horizon. Although UHD TVs are coming down in price (you can pick up a Sony or Samsung 55-inch UHD set at Best Buy for roughly $2,500), unless you own a 4K camera and UHD TV, you're not going to be viewing 4K in the living room anytime soon.
At NAB 2014, Netflix announced the capability of streaming Season Two of House of Cards and a number of nature documentaries in UHD. But as with broadcast television, just because you have a UHD TV doesn't mean you can stream 4K. You'll need a UHD television set that can support the HEVC/H.265 format, which is a compressed codec Netflix uses for 4K streaming. (At this year's CES, LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio announced new sets in 2014 that can decode HEVC/H.265.) You also need to have a streaming bitrate of at least 15 Mb/s, so you're out of luck if you're a DSL user. (DSL speeds typically top out at around 6 Mb/s.)
Even though a minority of us will have these UHD TVs in the future, it's safe to say that streaming will be the first platform to bring 4K content to the living room. Both the production and post industries are pushing full steam ahead to deliver 4K or UHD resolution to the movie theater and the living room.
One of the pioneers in working with and delivering 4K content is Encore, which is part of the Deluxe Entertainment ecosystem. Starting in 1985, Encore always has been at the forefront of technology in the fast-changing postproduction world. They provide color management, editing and VFX needs for a number of television productions, as well as provide on-set services to help productions streamline digital workflows. Some of their credits include work on Big Love, Deadwood, Lost, Nip/Tuck, Weeds and many other programs.
Currently, Encore is posting television shows in 4K, including FX Network's Justified and Netflix's House of Cards, which both were shot in 5K with RED EPICs and RED DRAGONs, respectively. HDVideoPro sat down with one of the leading authorities on 4K postproduction, Encore senior colorist and VP of Business Innovation Pankaj Bajpai, who has been instrumental in laying the post groundwork for both 4K file-based and IIF-ACES workflow.
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With each project, we design a workflow tailored to meet production demands, optimized for top quality results. From CG creatures and crowds to vast digital matte paintings, delicate composites, invisible beauty work and everything in between, we forge compelling visuals that align with a client’s vision – all within the tight deadlines and budgets of episodic production. Our dedicated producers impart personalized attention to each project every step along the way, working closely with our talented artists and supervisors, who have been recognized with Emmy and Visual Effects Society Awards for their VFX work. Further bolstering creative efforts, our in-house technology experts ensure that our state-of-the-art infrastructure and secure global pipeline remain at the forefront of technical advancement.