The All Digital Workflow

Every show I’ve worked on in the last couple of years has embodied a new workflow twist. Before the digital revolution we made movies and television one way: on film with Moviolas or KEMs. We shot film, we delivered film and everybody stayed in synch, and in synch with each other, by referencing the film.

Today we’re rapidly moving to a world where film doesn’t exist. We’ll shoot on something digital, be it HD, 2K or 4K, record images on solid-state media and hard drives, pass it around on hard drives, and deliver it to the theater without the help of chemistry or celluloid.

Many of the big challenges we’re facing all turn on how this new paradigm gets implemented — how we get and view dailies (and what are dailies, anyway), how we picture editors turn over to sound, how we get sound files back, how we deliver to distributors and theaters.

This is not only a headache for us, it’s slowing the evolution of our tools because every manufacturer has to devote significant resources to these workflow issues, trying to stay focused on what amounts to a moving target.

Right now, an all-digital workflow looks like a lot of headaches because we’re losing the single defining standard that held us all together for so long. With luck, we’ll get to another standard, or set of standards. For me, it can’t happen soon enough.

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