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Setting up our Color / Sound Design Suite

We're getting close to finishing out our new Rialto Screening Room, which was designed for 5.1 Surround Sound Mixing, Color Enhancement and a Screening Room. We currently have 6 comfy chairs in there now though we could easily seat a dozen folks in there. The room was actually inspired by a consulting job I did a few years ago. I re-designed the entire post production facility for Georgia Public Broadcasting and they had a suite that originally designed for ProTools that wasn't being used. The layout lent itself beautifully for both sound and color enhancement so that's how we outfitted the room. When it came time to build our new facility, we drew from that experience. I planned out all the Color enhancement side of things with my good friend, Colorist Ron Anderson, and my buddy Patrick Belden designed the audio side of things.

The room features two Mac Pros. One is set up as Final Cut Studio / ProTools and the other is strictly Davinci Resolve. We're getting a Dual KVM switch so we only have one keyboard and one set of monitors in the actual suite. A Gefen 5500 Cat5 Extender drives the keyboard / monitor while the computer and storage sits back in the machine room.

For Color Enhancement, that's a 7' x 4' DaLite HD screen up front and we have a Panasonic DLP HD mid-venue projector in the back. It's capable of shooting a 75' image in a movie theater and looks absolutely stunning in this room. We'll be adding an FSI 2460W shortly for the console. We'll have an engineer come in and calibrate the projector to emulate the FSI. The trusty Anthro Fit Console is still my workstation of choice, they're just solid, they work and they look fantastic. Waiting until all the sound equipment is in place and then we'll run some additional 6500k lighting for the room for color work.

For Sound Design we have the ProTools HD Native system driving a 5.1 configuration of Genelec 8030A monitors and a 7060B Subwoofer. On the walls are a combination of the traditional Auralex square panels and the new Mio Acoustic Weave audio deflectors made from recycled cardboard. We used those Mio panels throughout the voice over booth as well. Of course the entire room was designed for sound deflection. There are no square walls in the entire room and the ceiling both slopes back to front and is "rippled" left to right. We've also set up a video feed to / from the audio booth so the engineer and talent can see each other, along with allowing for voice to picture work.

The cabling for the console comes up from the floor so Bob Zelin gave me extra long runs of cables so the audio engineer can sit with the console pretty much where you see it, but the colorist can set in the back of the room. The console will roll all the way back. Eventually we'll go back and put in a second run of cables coming out the back wall and then we'll simply disconnect and reconnect the console from two points.

Of course, the room can be used simply as a Screening Room to review a project with a small audience or make a presentation. We're also planning some workshops and classes for this room in the near future. Next month it'll be a photography studio for another project. It's pretty darn versatile.

It's been a fun project so far and we've already used the room to do two screenings of our current documentary in post, "Dark Forest, Black Fly." The client loved the vibe from the room and it really gives us the sense of what the film will look like when it's screened in film festival venues. I'll update this thread when we finish the room.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Feb 27, 2011 at 10:53:16 amComments (4)

Should be an interesting April for Apple Color

So NAB is rapidly approaching and as par for the course, we know nothing about Apple's plans for the event. We know they don't have a booth planned but will they announce anything at all?

Last year we had a completely underwhelming (you might say embarrassing) presentation by Apple at the SuperMeet. What will we see / hear this year?

In particular I'm curious what is going to happen to Color. Apple has really done zero to promote this application since it was acquired. When it was purchased I felt strongly, and still do, that it was a mistake to roll a $25,000 application into the $1,000 price of Final Cut Studio. By doing that, it created a lot of confusion with the end users who:

1 - Complained it doesn't operate like other Apple products
2 - Didn't take the time to learn the proper workflows.
3 - Complained the application doesn't support all the codecs / workflows of FCP.
4 - Complained the application was too hard to use.
5 - Compared it to Davinci, Baselight, Scratch and others, many of whom could only say that the others were realtime while Color was not.

There are many more examples of what the over 1 million end users who suddenly had this $25,000 color grading application complained about. Not to mention a lot of Colorists who felt threatened that 1 million plus users suddenly had a very powerful color grading application dropped into their laps.

Add all of this together and what you end up with is a very negative net value for Apple Color. People didn't even want to try it because of all the negativity associated with what is a very easy application to use and works brilliantly so long as you follow the proper workflow.

If Apple had kept it a stand-alone product priced at $999 or even $499 the people who wanted to use it would have had to make an investment into the application. When you make an investment into an application, you generally take the time to learn it properly. When it's simply an add-on to a major editing system like Final Cut Pro, it's just a freebie throw-in that I'll open up and if it doesn't work in a few clicks, well then it's trash and I won't bother.

The silence from Apple on the future development of the overall Final Cut Studio Suite in 2010 was deafening and no more so than with Color. NAB 2011 will be the point at which I will have to make the decision for our company as to whether we continue with the Apple suite of products or transition over to either Avid or Adobe CS5. We're essentially using the same software that was released back in 2009 and the production world has changed greatly in those two years, particularly with tapeless workflows and codecs that are not supported natively in FCP.

One of the big reasons we stick with Studio Suite is because of Color and the ease of use in moving projects in and out of that application. We literally run hundreds of projects each year through that app. Yes we have Davinci Resolve now as well because it makes sense to have both with the new pricing, but Color is still our primary color grading app.

I'm very curious to see whether Apple intends to keep the development of Color moving along. When Apple purchased it, we were ready to start beta testing Final Touch 3.0 which was scheduled to have some really nice features that have yet to appear in renamed Apple Color. April 2011 will be a very interesting month.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Feb 13, 2011 at 5:20:20 amComments (28) NAB, Apple

We have achieved "kick-ass."

"The new Biscardi Creative Media is kick-ass." Bob Zelin.

Ok, so a lot of you know I've been designing / building a new home for the company. I was going for a welcome, inviting space that would be chock full of the latest equipment to meet any client need. Apparently we've jumped through ludicrous speed, past plaid and all the way to kick-ass. A first for the company!

Had to share with the Bovine Nation and hey, if you want to see for yourself, come on down March 5th to the Open House. Bob will be there along with the guys at Maxx Digital who are bringing a bunch of Red, Red Rocket and Mobile Rocket gear. Panasonic is bringing some 3D gear and we're hoping for the AF-100. Small Tree will have some new ethernet SAN and storage toys. AJA will be on hand with the KiPro and KiPro Mini. Flanders Scientific will have their entire lineup of monitors and possibly a "surprise." TapeOnline is bringing some goodies along. Miss Bessie sent along a slew of Creative Cow Magazines and some Creative Cow Master Series DVDs for the raffle. Canon is bringing some fun stuff. David Catt, one of the original designers of Resolve will be there showing off the absolutely incredible Resolve panels. Red Giant Software sent along some goodies for the raffle and ATTO Technology wants you to have some nice SAS.

So in other words, it's gonna be a fun party. See our shop, meet some of the wonderful people who help make the Cow this incredible cowmmunity, play with some really cool toys and of course, we're gonna have some good eats! If for no other reason, you really need to come and meet the one and only (thankfully), Bob Zelin.

Save the date, Saturday March 5. Time is 5 to 9pm. The new Biscardi Creative Media in Buford, Georgia.

Register on our website to get all the details and directions.

A very VERY special thanks to our Bovine hosts on the Creative Cow for joining on as a sponsor. Really hope to see a lot of you there, I love putting faces with the names!

Posted by: walter biscardi on Feb 10, 2011 at 5:39:02 pm

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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