My Post House: Sunrise Pictures
Oct 20, 2010 12:00 PM
Taylor Warren is the owner of Sunrise Pictures, a Telly Award-winning post house based in Middletown, Conn. He has been in the film industry for 19 years, and has worked on everything from feature films and documentaries to corporate projects.
What specific projects do you have in the works and have worked on recently?
I just finished the color-correct and mastering of a feature that I edited called Being Michael Madsen, which stars Michael and Virginia Madsen, Daryl Hannah, Harry Dean Stanton, Lacie Chabert, and was one of David Carradine's last projects. After that, I did some final editing/compositing and then the color-correct and sound design/mix for a documentary about African-American sacred music for the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. After that, I created a 2-minute animated piece for the United Way's 75th anniversary capital campaign.
As to the future, there are a couple of features in the works and, in the new year, I'll hopefully get to renew a relationship with the film department at Wesleyan University. For the last couple of years, I've been helping the students in the film program with the mixes of their thesis films. It's been intense and a real joy to collaborate with these fresh creative voices. I'm really looking forward to continuing to do so.
What do you consider the next big thing in post?
Many distributors and manufacturers would probably want to hear "3D," but right now I'm far more interested in the possibilities of secure web videoconferencing. We're very close to being able to easily stream the live content coming out any NLE, compositing system, or DAW workstation direct to the monitoring environment of an offsite client. You can already do it using iChat Theater in FCP but I'm interested in a system that would take the output of any systemPC, Mac, switcher/videohub, etc.and stream video/audio/and multiway communications between the client and studio at high resolution. Collaboration is critical in the postproduction process and using technology to take geography out of the equation is going to open up all kinds of opportunities for small shops like mine. As a feature editor, I could be "on-set" without being away from my family for weeks at a time. My LA clients could participate, in realtime, in a session in at Sunrise Pictures (in a 1940s-era barn in Connecticut). Or my corporate clients could sit in and have quick give and take approval sessions without giving up a day of work.
Don't get me wrong; I prefer the dynamic, human interaction inherent with having the client in the room, but sometimes that just isn't feasible. When it isn't, secure videoconferencing could preserve human interaction and collaboration and provide new opportunities that would be otherwise geographically impossible. It's a really exciting possibility.
What technology do you currently work with?
- Avid Media Composer 5 and Avid Pro Tools. They are the central hub or backbone of the studio, but I supplement them with all sorts of third-party plugins and software.
- After Effects and Photoshop
- Sony SD monitors and FSI HD monitors
- JBL 4300 series monitors throughout. My current suite has 4326s, and the new suite has 4328s as main LCR and surrounds and a 4312 sub. I've found that these monitors work very well with my ears and translate extremely well to theatrical venues and home environments.
- For DVD authoring, I use Sonic DVDit Pro, Avid DVD, and DVD Studio Pro to build discs and Sorenson Squeeze and Compressor for video compression. I've got a license of FCP suite that I'll use when I client requests it.
As to acquisition, it seems that file-based workflows are becoming more and more popular and HD is now the norm. I haven't done a lot of work with digital SLR-based footage yet, but that is probably only a matter of time. HDCAM is still the standard for masters unless the project is strictly destined for the Web or intranet, in which case FTP delivery is most common.
It's all a moving target, though, and thankfully, trade publications and the Internet provide an extremely fertile network of articles, reviews, bulletin boards, blogs, and commentary which help keep end users educated on technology developments and creative techniques. In this industry, no one can afford to stagnate.
What new technology are you working with?
I recently added a Blackmagic Design UltraScope into the monitoring chain in the studio, and it has been a real revelation. I've used scopes before, both hardware and software, but seeing all the information together in one window, updating in realtime with little or no latency on a 24in. monitor that is easily visible across the room is wonderful. I firmly believe that being able to see the electrical signal changes you make as you grade gives you an education and precision that you cannot get any other way. Being Michael Madsen was the first project that passed through the UltraScope and we passed the visual QC on the first try. More importantly, the client loved the grade.
We also added a Flanders Scientific LM-2460, which is a brilliant monitor. Color accuracy is great, and the attention to detail and service provided by FSI is wonderful. I like being able to open up the scopes on the monitor. Seeing that the monitor and UltraScope agree with each other really adds to the confidence that what you see is what you get.
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