Kabatic’s Emery Wells Finishes Digital Shorts for SNL

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Tue, 06/18/2013 - 13:09 -- Nick Dager

Emery Wells of Katabatic DigitalKatabatic Digital founder Emery Wells, recently finished a number of digital shorts and parodies for Saturday Night Live using Bluefish444’s Epoch 2K Horizon as HD-SDI output within Assimilate Scratch.

SNL has an extremely demanding schedule for its digital shorts and so the real time performance of Assimilate Scratch and Bluefish444 hardware is an important part of the workflow. Assimilate Scratch is able to handle nearly any camera format, be it Uncompressed, Compressed, or Raw Bayer, and the Bluefish444 HD-SDI cards are able to provide a color accurate video preview whether it be digital cinema requiring 4:4:4 12-bit RGB, or On-Air broadcast work requiring 4:2:2 10-bit YUV. SNL source material has varied from the Arri Alexa to the Canon C300 or C500, as well as some shot on the Red Epic.

Wells said, “The video output from Scratch is a really important aspect, especially on the jobs that have deadlines like SNL.  If we do not have confidence in the preview or if we encounter any technical issues with the preview, it can blow the whole project out of the water.”

Katabatic utilizes Bluefish444’s Epoch 2K Horizon, which is installed in its main color-grading suite. HD-SDI video output from Scratch is sent through the Davio for color processing and finally into the Panasonic primary grading panel. He said, “The Davio allows calibration of the Panasonic panel and the results we see from the Bluefish444 video card once calibrated are absolutely fantastic.”

To date Katabatic has utilized the Bluefish444 hardware in its main grading suite which is an HP Z820 workstation, but has always intended to run the card in its Mac running Scratch which is also sometimes configured to run in the main suite. He said, “Having the flexibility to use the same hardware in a Windows or an OSX box is just great and we have no doubts that the integration on the Mac platform will be as solid as the Scratch Integration on Windows.”

Projects utilizing the Bluefish444 card are several commercial parodies for SNL, promos for History Channel’s Vikings series, and most recently a series of Calvin Klein makeup commercials for the web.

Katabatic has been color grading and finishing projects in 4K for some time now, the Bluefish444 Epoch | 2K Horizon providing a 2K video preview for external monitoring. With more of Katabatic’ customers demanding 4K deliverables the requirement for native 4K video monitoring is also mounting. Wells said, “The Bluefish444 Epoch | 4K Supernova is able to provide a native 4K HD-SDI preview from Assimilate Scratch and armed with the knowledge of how well integrated the Bluefish444 hardware is with Scratch software, we know that when a suitable 4K grading panel is available Bluefish444 is already able to provide a solid HD-SDI video solution.”