Sim Digital and Bling Digital, the production and post-production/workflow divisions of The Sim Group, provided production, workflow and post-production services to the Emmy Award winning limited series Fargo from MGM Television and FX Productions.
An unequivocal hit in its first chapter on FX, Fargo has earned critical raves and a large and enthusiastic audience with its true-crime tale centering on a drifter (Billy Bob Thornton), an insurance agent (Martin Freeman) and other denizens of a small town in Minnesota.
Fargo is the latest example of a growing number of television productions that are taking advantage of new digital workflow technology to speed production and post, enhance creative collaboration and overcome the limits of geography. The show employed a unique workflow linking its production team, which was based in Calgary, Alberta, with editorial and post-production operations located in Los Angeles.
SIM Digital supplied Fargo with Arri Alexa cameras and related production gear; Bling supplied the show with a Post On Demand system, a cart-based workstation used on-set/near-set for media off-load, sound synchronization, media backup and dailies processing. Bling also provided Avid editorial and shared storage systems, as well as editing suites, through its facility in Los Angeles.
Bling set up a dedicated, secure, high-speed Internet connection to facilitate the rapid delivery of dailies media and other production data from the set in Calgary to the editorial team in L.A. This workflow eliminated the need for a third party post house for dailies processing, while getting material to the show’s editors as quickly as possible. Once dailies were processed using the P.O.D. system on the set, they were sent through the network and recorded directly to an Avid ISIS shared storage system located in the L.A. editing room. Dailies from each day’s shoot were generally available to the editorial team by the time they arrived for work the following morning.
In a pinch, turnaround can be even faster. Peter Chomsky, the show’s Post Production Producer, recalls an instance from the show’s pilot when dailies needed to be processed very quickly. “By that afternoon we had the scene cut in time for a screening with network executives,” said Chomsky. “We locked it, color timed it and had the picture ready for lay-back of the mix on Saturday and delivered the show at two o’clock on Sunday morning.”
A 10-episode limited series, Fargo is written by Noah Hawley. Emmy Award-winning director Adam Bernstein directed the premiere hour. Hawley, Warren Littlefield, Joel & Ethan Coen and Geyer Kosinski serve as executive producers. Fargo is produced by MGM Television and FX Productions.
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