India’s 8mm Productions Installs Scratch-Red 4K Workflow

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Wed, 04/29/2009 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

8mm Productions is a production and post-production company with its roots firmly grounded in the heart of Bollywood.  Two years ago 8mm ventured into for it the then unknown world of digital 4K cinema. Today they have incorporated Assimilates Scratch digital system as the data pipeline that completes its 4K workflow. David Premier 8mm Productions says “Many of our clients – MTV Channel V Nirvana Films Black Magic Productions Fingerprint Productions to name a few – have all shot with our Red One 4K Cameras and are extremely pleased with the final output from Scratch. A few of our projects include commercials for Piaggio Ape Truk Radio Mirchi and We’ve also done documentaries and corporate films for Reliance Industries Limited and several diamond manufacturers/exporters in India. Our list of 4K (Scratch/Red) films includes director/DP Nikhil Sinha’s Alla Udhal (Saga Arts); director Siddharth Anand Kumar’s Semshook with cinematographer Pankaj Kumar (Elephant Films); director Aditya Sengupta’s Channel V Promo with cinematographer Saurabh Vishwakarma.”
 “We’re talking about a giant leap into a digital revolution that seemed incredibly daunting ” he says. “Bollywood has long been content to follow the conventional ways of shooting and processing various film formats. It seemed any new technology was negated by traditional methodologies that were known and comfortable. So naturally Red had its fair share of skeptics and while it still does there are now many enlightened users of the 4K digital cinema technology worldwide.” 
 8mm realized the Red footage needed a real-time data pipeline of software tools geared to handle the Red 4K digital files. So the next logical step was to build an entire data pipeline from off-line to finishing. A clear choice for editing at the off-line stage was Final Cut Pro hooked up to a Promise Raid 12TB Storage and LTO Drives to back-up and archive all the footage.  For the digital intermediate – conform color grading edit/reviews dailies through to finish – 8mm chose Assimilate’s Scratch Digital Process Solution for its rich feature set agility and speed in handling the native RedCode RAW files. Scratch runs on a customized Globalstor workstation. Premier says “Scratch gives us a real-time data workflow that can handle a variety of formats in and out.  This was a totally new experience for us. We had no idea this was possible and it’s proved invaluable in our day-to-day post-production operations. We had a demo with the Benchmark Microsystems (Scratch reseller) and quickly realized its power depth of functionality and ease of use. We’ve also had great training and support from Mithun D’Souza at Benchmark which has given us the confidence to utilize the full capabilities of Scratch.” “For 8mm Scratch obviously made a lot of sense because it was the only software that could handle the 4K media directly from the Red One camera without any painstaking conversions ” he says. “Red and Scratch open up a whole new world of filmmaking to a broader spectrum of filmmakers and post teams. At first glance it seems like a drastic change in tried and true methodology but the proven high quality results at incredible price/performance outweigh any presumption of risk.” Premier says “Skepticism was the first reaction to a Scratch-Red 4K Data Workflow within the Bollywood community but patience worked for us. We were able to prove to the industry experts how easy it is to use the Red cameras edit on the FCP with QuickTime proxies use the EDLs and then on Scratch do the conform and color grading get the DPX files out do the finishing and then create a variety of deliverables in different formats. The time and cost savings alone – for example bypassing lab time and doing edit/review in real time – are profound; and then consider the high quality results and the Scratch-Red process is downright amazing.” He says “Today we own two Red cameras for production and for our post-production facility Scratch is the heart of our digital pipeline. A few years ago this kind of a set up would only have been wishful thinking. But thanks to the visionary thinking and technology of Red and Assimilate we now have an efficient and affordable means to produce high-quality films comparable to 35mm. This 4K digital revolution has given us the independence to think freely and more creatively; to create films with stronger visual impact; and not worry about high production or post-production costs.”