Red Workflow in a Star Wars Universe

This is a guest post from Chris Smith (yes, that is his real name) from Rivetal here in Orem, Utah. Rivetal does a lot of work with great companies like Sorenson (yes, Sorenson Squeeze) and has produced Blu Ray authoring for movies like Hairspray and Pan’s Labyrinth. I freelance with them from time to time and asked Chris to write a post on his Red workflow with his short. He has decided to show some perspective on this new journey by comparing it to something we can all understand; Star Wars.

At the risk of sounding like a complete dork I present the following:

A long time ago,(November 2009) in a galaxy far, far away(Rivetal sound stage) I officially took part in the digital rebellion against the evil film empire. On the 21st day of that month a small crew of 15 people came together to commence principle photography on a short film. Filmed in digital on the Red One camera we were able to match the resolution and look of 35mm film. Granted filming this way is nothing new, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Stephen Soderberg all have tapped into the force of digital film making. They are in effect the Luke Skywalkers and Han Solo’s of digital film making, and I am a Youngling jedi trying to learn the ways of the force. Speilberg has yet to film in digital and would like to continue using film, his sad devotion to that ancient religion as not helped conjure up the future of film making(I love Steven Speilberg movies and have a great deal of respect for him).

I feel a bit like Luke Skywalker when the rebellion gave him an X-Wing because he could shoot wamprats in his T16 at home. I’ve primarily done corporate jobs in the past but have always like so many wanted the chance to do more. I’ve been given the Red One camera to shoot my short on, as well as the studio and lights. The film empire never would have given me the tools I needed; and if for some reason they did I wouldn’t have had the flexibility to bend them to my will.

Not having film processing costs, or a digital intermediary cost has allowed me to use my shoe string budget in other places. I have been able to do as many takes as I wanted without worrying about running out of film. That’s not to say that the workflow is perfect. Hard drive failures happen, frames can be dropped while filming, pixels can be dead, and I still have to spend time converting the footage to a friendlier editing codec, disc space at 4K is expensive. But even with its drawbacks digital is the future. Its easier to film digital if you are going to do the post in digital. The empire is being overthrown and I’m a part of it.

Chris Smith has been working in the local Salt Lake City community for 10 years. He started as an intern on Touched by an Angel in the editing department. He worked on the 2002 Winter Olympics. He worked as creative director at Eventstar media with John Daly and is currently working as an editor at Rivetal.

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