Helium 8K Post Workflow

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Helium 8K Post Workflow

The Underdog | Shot on WEAPON with HELIUM 8K S35 Sensor

When given the opportunity by Jarred Land to shoot a video with the new RED Helium 8K camera, the first thing that went through our minds was all the different things we wanted to shoot with it. Right after that however, was how in the world would we edit it. 

DIT Station

DIT Station

On the day of the shoot we set up our DIT station. Our setup included an Apple Mac Pro, a Dell 27" P2715Q Monitor and the 32tb G Technology G Speed Shuttle XL with two evSeries MINI-MAG Readers. 

After the first few scenes were shot we took the Mini Mag and backed up the footage to the G Speed raid and a secondary backup drive. With the evSeries Mini Mag reader it took about 35 minutes to transfer 480gbs which was really impressive for the speed. 

Once all the files were backed up we ran into the issue of codec support in Adobe Premiere Pro CC and REDCINE-X Pro. Luckily Dan Duran and Kris Prygrocki two of the RED techs brought an unreleased version of REDCINE-X Pro for me to install. It's currently released now as build 41. The 8K r3d files opened with no issue and I was able to play the footage at 1/4th without any buffer issues. 

I sat down with them and they ran through a couple export versions of proxy files for me to edit off of. We exported a 1 minute 8K ProRes 422 clip and it took about 5 minutes to export. Meaning that if we were to convert all of the clips to 8K ProRes, it would take too long and we might not hit the 24 hour deadline. After running a 4K ProRes 422 export and a 2K ProRes 422 LT export of the same 1 minute clip, we decided to transcode all of the files to the 2K parameters because it only took 1 minute and 15 seconds to transcode the clip. As close to real time as it gets. We created a 2K ProRes 422 LT export preset and began transcoding all of the footage. 

We transferred and backed up every 4 scenes so that we were multi-tasking while the shoot was happening. I imported each media dump 2K proxy into Premiere Pro and created an 8K timeline based off of the first 8K ProRes clip we created. While the scenes were being shot I was creating shot selects from each media dump. Halfway through shooting we took a break and looked over the 8K r3d files in REDCINE-X Pro. We were stunned with the resolution of 8K. The dynamic range that the Helium 8K sensor records is phenomenal and the skin tones were incredibly accurate. We were in awe of the footage that was captured and couldn't wait to share it with the world. 

After the madness of shooting for 21 hours, I had all of the media backed up, transcoded to 2K, and had all of the shot selects in the editor. It was 3:30 am Wednesday morning, the fun part of shooting with the Helium 8K camera was over and now it sank in that we have 24 hours to cut the main edit, color, do sound design, and get it approved. Luckily during all of the planning and production, Julian Cisneros the composer for the Underdog track had the final song sent over around 1 am on Wednesday morning. I remember the moment he sent the email and we were shooting the final fight scenes. The director, Jonny Mass, and I opened up the song and started listening. It sank in that all of the final pieces were falling into place. We listened to the song as the crowd was cheering and it fit perfectly. Everyone was all smiles. 

3:30 am Wednesday morning we wrapped and I was home around 7 am after cleaning up the set with the rest of the crew. I took a 3 hour nap and met Jonny at our office around 10 am. We began editing the first cut, all of the shots dropped into the timeline and fit perfectly with the music. The first cut was complete by 1 pm Wednesday, it was pretty much locked at that point! 

Now it was time to color grade the film, due to the short deadline of the release we didn't have much time to play with creating LUTs ourselves. We recently stumbled upon some amazing LUTs from lutify.me and decided to run through a few looks. After importing the LUTs into Premiere Pro we started to cycle through the looks with the Lumetri Panel and found the exact looks that Jonny had envisioned. For the exterior night scene we used Opal from the cine looks category of the Professional Package for that teal and orange contrast. For the flashback scenes we used Cassiterite from the contemporary color films category of the Professional Package for the more flat and warm look. In all of the main boxing scenes we used Heulandite for the blue, slightly higher contrast look. 

Within a few hours we had the the video graded. I ran a few secondary Lumetri passes to fine tune the skin tones and contrast using the new HSL panel in the latest update of Premiere Pro. It's incredible the level of color control that we have within Adobe Premiere Pro, it really helps with short deadlines like this project. By 8 pm Wednesday we had the video locked and graded. Less than 12 hours after wrapping the shoot.

Next came the lengthy process of relinking and exporting the 8K files. I sent an XML file from Premiere Pro to REDCINE-X Pro, the same project file where I initially imported all of the r3d files and transcoded them. I opened the timeline and all of the 2K files linked to the 8K r3d files effortlessly because they had the same naming structure. Next I selected the r3d files that were used in the edit and put them into a bin in the REDCINE-X Pro project file, making sure to remove any in an out points except for the the clips where multiple parts of said clip were used. For those clips I duplicated them and left the in and out points, making a mental note to replace those clips manually in Premiere Pro. I used the 8K ProRes 4444 export preset that we made, selected the bin that the clips were in and began the export process. 

Once the clips exported I opened Premiere Pro and made all of the 2K files unlinked. Then I relinked the missing clips with the 8K ProRes clips and just like that the video was full 8K. On a side note, I also selected the newly relinked 8K clips in Premiere Pro and used the new Proxy feature in the latest Adobe Premiere Pro CC update to reference the already exported 2K clips. Switching between the 8K file and 2K file was effortless because of the Proxy Toggle. 

The Final timeline with sound design.

The Final timeline with sound design.

Finally came the sound design. I had all of the sound files organized that Thomas Ensley and George Krapivko from 3Forty Productions had recorded on set. Thomas and I spent a few hours making extra sounds for the slow motion punches and "whoosh" sounds of the boxers swinging hands. I worked late into the night layering multiple sounds throughout the video until it sounded as realistic as possible. Given the time restraints we didn't have days to fine tune it all so we made the best out of what little time we had. 

It was about 3 am Thursday morning when the full edit with the sound and grade was complete. About 24 hours after the production was done we had the final edit locked and ready to have the approval cut exported. We got the approval from everyone on Thursday morning so we began exporting the final approved cut in various flavors of compression. 

This project pushed us in every level of our abilities

Jonny did an incredible job directing and coordinating this production allowing for all of the puzzle pieces to fit properly ensuring for a quick turn around time.  Without his clear communication and attention to detail this film wouldn't have been a possibility. The satisfaction of completing this video with limited knowledge of the camera we were shooting with will always stay with us. It was an experience we wouldn't trade for the world and we want to thank Jarred Land for trusting us with his personal Helium 8K camera. 

If you'd like to purchase the LUTs we used on this project you can click here and use the coupon code "abandonvisuals" for 10% off your entire order.

-Edward Khoma

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Atomos

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Atomos

Now that we are officially in December we’ve taken the opportunity to look back at our work this year. We’ve had a lot of intense moments, struggles, long nights but beyond all that we’ve had victories, triumphs and success. We’ve built memories with lifelong friends and business partners. We learned a ton about this business and even more about ourselves. As we venture into next year we want to take you back to one of our favorite projects. 

The Atomos Shoot.

Atomos is one of the industries top external recording monitor manufacturers. We had the privilege to work with them on the launch of the “Ninja Assassin.” After a few NDA’s we had multiple meetings discussing their new product, we couldn't wait to get our hands on it. After a few weeks of intense planning we were well on our way to one of the greatest weeks of our lives. We had to plan out a route to highlight all the innovative ways you could utilize the Ninja Assassin in any environment. We booked hotels, got permits, estimated the budget, contacted the right people and got our heads in the game. This was run-and-gun filmmaking at it’s finest. We had an overall plan but timing was key, everything needed to work just right. 

Location 1:

We started in San Fransisco. We got beautiful landscape shots and filmed all the random nooks and crannies in the heart of the city. We thought we were going to run into some road blocks when it came to flipping the camera and monitor upside down to get over the head shots but to our surprise we could actually flip the image on the Ninja Assassin! This made shooting inverted on the Ronin so much easier. Around golden hour we got impeccable shots of the product soaking up the last light of the day. 

Location 2:

We headed down Highway 1 to get some great shots of bridges and all the iconic places. Once we got to LA to get aerial shots over the city we found out we couldn't film the night shots due to flight restrictions from the Dodgers game. Our first speed bump. One thing I will mention is on every shoot no matter how planned out you are you will always have something go wrong. Being a filmmaker isn't always about getting the perfect shot, sometimes it’s about adapting to your environment and making something out of nothing. The main thing is attitude. Keep a level head and move on and up. Instead of shooting the night time aerial we were able to get there in time to shoot over LA towards sunset. We used the Ronin to shoot out of the helicopter and turned all the motor tension settings up to handle the wind resistance. Our Ronin was absolutely flawless in this situation. We shot skateboarding of our good friend Kam Krigel that night all over LA to show the image quality of the 4k from the Ninja Assassin. The focus peaking from the Ninja Assassin was perfect for the night shots as well.

Location 3:

After our permits finally went through we filmed at the Pismo Dunes the next day. Wind and sand don't mix well with high end camera equipment so we had to adapt quickly if we were going to get the shots. We can’t overstate how much the Ninja Assassin actually helped us. It was insanely bright out there with the sun reflecting off the sand and would have been near impossible to judge the right focus and exposure but with the Ninja Assassin we had no problem pulling focus and using the waveform for exposure.  We spent multiple hours filming our talented model, Chelsey Rader, in the sand and had all the confidence in the gear we had. It took extra pressure off us as filmmakers giving us the opportunity to focus on the subject at hand not the technical things that come with a shoot. 

Location 4:

We left Pismo and headed back home to pick up some talented friends Slava Daniliuk and Valentin Sevostyanchuk. Slava took some incredible behind the scenes photography of us working with the Ninja Assassin in Yosemite. That is one our favorite things about California you can truly do some much and go to such different locations in a matter of days. In Yosemite we got some fun long boarding chase shots with the Ronin with the beautiful background of the national park. Yosemite was in smaller words, breathtaking. Trying to capture that majestic beauty was a feat but the end product turned out so well we used it as our opening shot. 

Location 5:

We recently saw a photoshoot Tim Engle did where he used UV paint on models to achieve a crazy cool look. We figured it would be an amazing way to show off the detail from the 4k. We came back to Sacramento and filmed a talented model Christine Alward and makeup artist Jasmine Cardenas to achieve the Tim Engle look. Some of our favorite shots came from that part of the shoot, in fact we made a separate video of those shots which you can view and share right here: 

Location 6:

Galaxy Girl turned out great and we were on our last day of shooting at a horse ranch in Elk Grove. We were going for a Clint Eastwood/Budweiser feel for this part of the shoot. Rolling shots of horses, beautiful natural light gracing the faces of the cowboys and cowgirls. Barn shots, riding at top speeds. It was a great day on a beautiful location with great people. Our director, Jonny Mass, even road one of the horses. We had a blast. Special thanks to Julie Lockwood for helping organize that. 

San Fransisco, LA, Pismo, Yosemite and Sacramento. One week and multiple editing hours later we had our final product. Working with Atomos was an absolute pleasure. They are hard working, innovative creatives and they allow us to have a good amount of creative control. We love working with great people and great companies. We look forward to speaking at their NAB booth this upcoming year. We did everything in house, nothing was outsourced. We used our team and made something we are extremely proud of. You can check out the Atomos commercial right here: 

Thank you to everyone involved for helping us create this video! A special thanks to Atomos for providing their equipment and being such a huge support. Please go check out their website here: http://www.atomos.com

Creating isn't just our passion, it’s what we do. 

-Landon Merrell

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