A lot of folks have been asking me about this and a recent post on my Twitter feed reminded me to go ahead and update you folks on some of what we plan to have in the new facility.
Well first off, still running Apple's Final Cut Pro
. At the moment it still serves our needs however the next version of FCP will be the "make or break" for me. I'll have to see some significant improvements in the realtime functionality and ability to work in more formats natively to stick with the platform. Apple's own H.264 which is the backbone of most DSLR formats is not even supported in their own editing software. That's pretty bad. Avid now works pretty much instantly with any MXF format, goodbye Log and Transfer. So I'd like to see FCP start offering up more of these types of features. Yep, it's still the most bang for your buck, especially when you put together the entire suite of apps for $999, but efficiency is the name of the game as we move into an all digital / non tape acquisition world. Converting all these formats just because Final Cut Pro can't work with them will leave it in the dust.
All of our reference monitors will be Flanders Scientific.
If you read my blog often, you know exactly why. They are the best monitors I've seen in this and higher price points. They have some of the best tech support / customer service in the business. And the entire gang are some of the nicest people you will meet, period. Our shop will have a mix of the 1760W, 1770W, 2450W, 2460W and 2470W. We already own some 1760, 1770 and 2450 monitors. The 2460's are the newer versions of the 24" 8bit monitors. One 2470W will be housed in the Client Theater / Color Enhancement / Sound Design suite as that's the only room I can really justify the full 10bit monitor being installed.
Since I just mentioned the Client Theater, the plan calls for a 65" Panasonic Pro Plasma
screen and a drop down projection screen for client viewing. The projector will be the Panasonic PT-5100U DLP Projector.
Not sure on the screen size yet as we'll order that after we have the exact throw from the projector lens to where the screen will hit. I expect it to be somewhere between 7 and 15 feet across. No sense ordering that until the room is essentially completed. The projector will allow us to really do some nice DI work for films and features. Two computer units will be used in this room, one will run Apple Color
and the second will run ProTools
and DaVinci Resolve.
Why two computers? Well Apple doesn't recommend running two graphics cards in a Color machine and DaVinci uses nVidia Graphics cards while Color uses ATI graphics cards. Easier just to separate the two softwares. Why put both Color and Resolve in the room? Well that's easy. Color is included with Studio so why not? At the moment it has the easy workflow from / to FCP with the XML transfer while Resolve will require EDL workflow to / from FCP. Both software utilize the Tangent Wave Control Surface
which we already own so that makes the panel more versatile. Sound will be provided by a Genelec 5.1 surround sound
package with the exact models to be determined. My good friend Patrick Belden is working with Atlanta Pro Audio to configure the system to be something that works within my current budget and can be easily expanded as we grow. I'll be honest, we're not a sound design company, but with the space we have in this facility, we went ahead and designed the color enhancement room so it can also serve as an outstanding sound design suite. We'll bring in incredible audio engineers like Patrick to do full 5.1 mixes for film, television and gaming. Yeah gaming, I can't wait to see that! More on that in a future blog.
The edit suites will all be outfitted with Anthro Fit Consoles
on which we usually add the Outboard Shelves for added desk space and the Standard Swing Arms to hold the computer and FSI monitors. The thing I REALLY love about these units is we can stand up to work and that really does make a difference in the day. Especially after lunch I like to stand up for a few hours to work. Makes me feel better by the end of the day. KRK Rokit 5
are my audio monitors of choice in the suites. Good flat response with just enough bass to give you a very good representation of what the audio will sound like when it gets home. The suites aren't going to be huge, but they will be plenty comfortable for the editor and a client or two in there. If we need to host a bunch of folks, we'll move them into the Client Theater for viewing. Clients will have a small desk as well for laptops and such, probably from Ikea or an office supply store. As we do now, each edit suite will have it's own theme with a paint scheme to match. The current themes of "Wally World," "Jungle Land" and "Rialto" will transfer to the new space with new themes to be announced soon. The big change in the new space is that the front wall will be primarily painted with 18% grey this time, rather than carry the theme to the front.
We'll probably continue to use some sort of a Gefen DVI over Cat6 extenders
for the computer monitors. This allows us to house all the computers for the facility in the central Machine Room thus moving all the noise into that room. You'd be amazed at how quiet the edit suites are because of this. But we are seeking out alternatives to Gefen because they have become rather finicky of late and the darn things are too expensive to be this finicky.
Of course Wacom Intuos tablets
will still be the device of choice in the all the rooms. They're so versatile, can make you much more efficient in all tasks over a mouse and it is pretty darn near impossible to get carpel tunnel in your wrists using the tablet. I've using some form of a Wacom tablet since 1996 and I absolutely can't stand using a mouse. Takes about a week to really get used to the tablet, but once you do, you'll never want to touch a mouse again.
In the Machine Room we use the Middle Atlantic Slim 5
series racks that were first recommended to me by Bob Zelin They're the most economical racks I've seen, they arrive all broken down and easy to assemble, and they hold a ton of weight! And Mid Atlantic has a ton of accessory shelving and such that makes them very versatile. I highly recommend you get the rolling casters for the bottom, even if you never plan to move them. You'll be happy the first time you decide you really want to clean out under the rack or move the rack to install / remove a piece of equipment that require a little more space. If you have a bunch of gear or even just a little bit of gear, clean it up and organize it by putting it into a rack.
BluRay Authoring will continue to run off NetBlender's DoStudio
package running off an HP workstation. Yeah, it runs on Windows and when we first got it, it was not really recommended to run Windows XP in Bootcamp on the Mac. Now it appears you can do this just fine, but since we already have the HP, we'll just continue to use it. Not to mention it was only about $1,500 for the computer WITH the BluRay burner. Can barely get a Mac laptop for that...... But I digress.
The Conference Room will be ringed in cork board.
Why? Well we plan to be doing a lot of original television series and maybe some original animated specials / DVDs so I want to very easily be able to hang storyboards, season plans, etc... all around the room. Yeah I could make a very pretty and stylish conference room if I wanted, but I prefer to make it a very functional and useful room for clients and colleagues alike.
Lighting will be predominately from Ikea. It's functional, much of it is rather stylish and you absolutely cannot beat the price. A lot of the shelving for the Media Library will probably come from there as well. Again, functional and cheap! The kitchen will have some gaming systems in a huge oversized kitchen where folks can really relax. Multiple coffee machines with freshly ground coffee, espresso machine, popcorn machine and a 1960's era Coca Cola machine will outfit the Atomic Café with a predominate 50's theme.
A backup power generator
will be in place in the event that we lose power. Still working out the full details, but with all the deadline sensitive work we do, we can't afford to lose power. Particularly during overnight renders when you would not find out about the power outage until the next morning.
Oh, last but not least, we're planning to hold classes and workshops in the new place too! I get so many requests for classes and simply can't do them for lack of space in current place or lack of time to travel elsewhere to hold classes. Well the new space will give us plenty of room not only for me to hold workshops, but also bring in many of my friends and colleagues to give their insights on various aspects of the industry. Sure we'll have the usual software / hardware workshops, but there are so many things to talk about when it comes to the production industry as a whole. Sometimes we just need to get together to share insight and bounce ideas rather than just learn how to trim a video clip in one keystroke instead of two. Should be some fun stuff and I'll have more information about that as we develop the ideas.
That's pretty much it. Much of what is going into the new facility is simply going to be transferred from this current space. One of the things Bob Zelin and I did when we engineered this space was to ensure all the wiring would be easily removed from here and re-used in the new space thus saving me a couple thousand dollars at least. One thing for sure is we're not going whole hog into this thing with the mentality of "if we build it they will come." Not all 8 edit suites will be up and running when we open. The wiring will all be in place though, so we can literally get a room up and running in a matter of days when it's needed, but there's no point in purchasing a bunch of new computers if they're going to sit idle for a while. Especially with an Apple Store and multiple electronics stores 15 minutes away. If we need something right away, we'll just go and get it and be up and running by the next day.
There's a look at our starting point for the new shop.