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Disney Digital Studio Services Connects with Man Up

Yes, it’s true that the world is shrinking but when you’re pressed for time, chasing production and sitting in rush hour traffic, your favorite colorist can seem worlds away. These days, it is increasingly important for post production facilities to serve up creative solutions to help filmmakers master these challenges. Digital Studio Services did just that with “Connections,” one of our many unique service solutions designed to enable filmmakers to collaborate remotely with their teams in real-time in ways that are convenient, cost effective and efficient.

DSS sat down with Stephen Swofford, VP of Client Relations and Ric White, Post Production Supervisor of the ABC Studios television series, Man Up to discuss Ric’s experience using remote collaboration and how this latest trend in collaboration technology has helped to save time and improve efficiency.

DSS: Tell us how the idea of using Connections came about?

Stephen Swofford: Bruce Sandzimier, ABC Studios VP Post Production, asked if we had a remote collaboration space that could help Levie Isaacks, the cinematographer on the show approve the color on the show without leaving the lot. Bruce was already aware of and impressed with the remote collaboration we used for remote approvals for the sound mix on their television show, Missing, and was hoping that we could do something similar on the picture side for Man Up. With a few calls to our partners at Studio Technology and to Technicolor, which was doing color timing on the show, and some confirmation with Levie about his expectations, we were literally able to make this connection within 48 hours of the request.

DSS: What is the goal of our Connections Service?

Stephen Swofford: Well, Filmmakers have great relationships with their colorists, VFX houses mixers and other vendors who are increasingly all over the globe. We don’t want to change those relationships. But what we do want is for these creative people to feel confident and comfortable with the ability to stay here on the lot and get their work done. Even if our clients don’t need to be in Vancouver or London but just get over the hill for a session, the time it takes to get there just isn’t productive. But if we can bring the vendor here virtually with fiber connectivity and calibrated image and sound monitoring, where our clients don’t even have to leave the lot, now THAT is productive. It’s more efficient. And literally allows our clients to be in two or more places at once! And that’s the goal.

DSS (to Ric): Ric, was this your first time using Connections? How was your experience?

Ric White: This was a first for me. It was wonderful! It has been so convenient, very comfortable and relaxing. Overall it worked out really well. In fact Levi was just nominated for an award for episode 7, the first show that we used it on.

DSS: Wow, Congratulations! So in addition to the convenience, what were some of the other benefits? What did you like about the service?

Ric White: I loved the monitor. It was important to have the same monitor that Technicolor had and even more important was that the two monitors were calibrated so that the colorist and the DP were seeing the same hues. Technicolor came out to ensure that the monitors matched after a team of Disney engineers had already calibrated it. The match was so close that Levie had the utmost confidence that what we were seeing here at Disney, was what they were creating at Technicolor. Because of the relationship with the DP and the colorist, this meant that we were able to very quickly approve the color on the show, making minor tweaks, were needed, saving us even more time.

Another one of the great benefits was being able to have the colorist virtually in the same room.

DSS: How much time would you say was saved?

A ton! Before, we had to squeeze the session in during Levi’s lunch hour. We were wasting a half hour just to get him to Technicolor, an hour to do the session and then another half hour to get him back to set. So instead of Levi being off of the set for 2 hours, he didn’t have to leave at all. He was able to stay on set and have lunch while getting the work done in half the time. Also, there was less down time for the colorist, less downtime at the lab.

I must say, I was pleased with how the Digital Studio Services client service team responded to our needs and very impressed with how quickly it was all put together.  We were all blown away by that.

DSS: That’s what we like to hear! Would you use this service again?

Ric White: Oh absolutely! No question about it.

I must say, I was pleased with how the Digital Studio Services client service team responded to our needs and very impressed with how quickly it was all put together. We were all blown away by that.

- Ric White, Post Production Supervisor - Man Up