Kevin Mullican, CTO, iO Film

iO Films
Kevin Mullican of iO Film, sends his thoughts:

We are digital intermediate company, having completed more than 10 full 2k DIs. We have performed all manner of DI, 3 and 4 perf 35mm, 16mm, HD, Viper, DV, dBeta, and a mix of all of the above.
We built our own scanners (2k and 4k, 12-bit, 1700:1 contrast, area array CCDs with LED lamp houses). We expose 5242 as negative on Arri Lasers.

In terms of grading, from a high-level overview, the professional grading solutions are functionally almost equivalent. They each have areas in which they excel, but these differences are nominal. We evaluated Film Light, Lustre, Nucoda, and Silicon Color. We saw Assimilate after we had already made a vendor decision.

We chose Nucoda for two reasons:
1) They support the SAN
2) The project files are ASCII (that is, they are easily editable by scripts).

For dust-busting, we chose MTI because it has a fantastic interface. MTI uses binary project files, however we are still able to manipulate them with our internal scripts.

Our pipeline is a home grown mySQL job. There is no complete commercial solution for lineup/scanning/conforming. That is why we wrote our own.

Our color management system is also proprietary (the color management systems are still too rudimentary to be of any real use, so that is why we wrote our own there as well). As for DCI, because we have our own color system, support for the spec is simple. We have already completed one DC delivered project. I sit on the Academy File Format committee, and am involved in defining the file interchange format.

On the storage side of things, we have a 30TB SAN that allows all functions to be performed simultaneously without the need to copy files (scan, dustbust, conform, grade, render, and shoot). For example in a really tight schedule, we might be scanning reel 4, conforming reel 3, grading reel 2, and shooting reel 1, all at the same time.

Posted: July 21st, 2005
Categories: Personal accounts
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