AJA KONA 3 Enables 2K Workflow and Digital Intermediate for "The Flock"
March 12, 2007
AJA Video, a leading manufacturer of professional video interface and conversion solutions, today announced that the KONA 3 video capture card was used to facilitate a unique 2K workflow and Digital Intermediate (DI) for the Bauer Martinez feature release "The Flock." KONA 3 is AJA's top-of-the-line uncompressed capture card for SD, HD, Dual Link HD and 2K for PCI Express (PCIe) Apple G5 Power Macs and Mac Pro systems, and was an integral part of the film's Apple Final Cut Pro editing pipeline. Warner Bros performed scanning, color correction, and film out for the project.
"The Flock," starring Richard Gere and Claire Danes, was directed by Andrew Lau, and will be released in the U.S. in 2007. The film centers around a vigilant state agent (Gere) who, while training his young female replacement, must track down a missing girl who he is convinced is connected to a paroled sex offender he is investigating. The film is being produced and distributed by Bauer Martinez Studios.
David Blum of Phoenix, AZ-based Catalyst FX served as the visual effects supervisor on the film, and recruited George Rizkallah of Burbank, CA's Product Factory to develop a customized 2K pipeline that would enable the team to do a final conform on the film using Apple's Final Cut Pro. The pipeline employed four KONA 3 cards running on Apple Mac Pro systems with Final Cut Pro on an XSAN network with 26 terabytes of storage. The systems were connected via 2-Gigabit fibre-channel.
"Because of the way that our visual effects shots were created-many multi-layer timeline effects on over 800 shots-the only practical way to complete the film on time and budget was to do our final conform in Final Cut Pro," said Blum. "The AJA KONA 3 provided the perfect solution and performed brilliantly. I could not have finished this film without the KONA 3 card. The folks at AJA were great and worked very closely with us to ensure that our pipeline was running smoothly."
"The Flock" is the first major feature film finished in 2K, DPX, 4:4:4 log color space, using Final Cut Pro, and both Blum and Rizkallah credit the success of this workflow to the AJA KONA 3 card. Because the offline Final Cut Pro sequence was too complex for all of the visual effects and editing to be replicated within the production company's timetable, Rizkallah customized a pipeline using Cinema Tools combined with original software to create pull lists for scanning, and then set the handles of the scan to match the Media Manager handles set in Final Cut Pro to the KONA 3 2K setting. Using AJA's DPX-to-QuickTime Translator, the sequential DPX files were wrapped as QuickTime files for proofing and rendering, and then converted back into sequential DPX frames, which were then delivered to Warner Bros. for color correction on a Filmlight Baselight system.
"We chose the KONA 3 for several reasons," says offline editor and Product Factory owner George Rizkallah, who was the DI Supervisor for "The Flock." "When you're doing a 2K conform in Final Cut, you have huge file sizes and amounts of data to work from. AJA is the only solution that can handle files of these sizes. The fact that the KONA 3 can do HD or SD down converts from the 2K in real time is a huge timesaver, as is the fact that you can look at an accurate 2K image on an HD monitor, especially when the alternative is renting a very expensive 2K or 4K projector. Most importantly, AJA has the best tech support-they provide immediate solutions to problems as they arise, and have local resources making them very accessible to the production community."
"The entire project would not have been possible without AJA's ingenious DPX Translator," Rizkallah adds. "The fact that AJA technology can convert DPX to QuickTime is incredibly efficient-QuickTime can be easily read in Final Cut or just about anything else that uses QuickTime out there."
KONA 3 is the ultimate uncompressed capture card for seamless operation with PCI Express (PCIe) Apple G5 Power Mac or Mac Pro systems and Apple Final Cut Pro. Supporting any uncompressed SD or HD format, including Dual Link HD and 2K, KONA 3 captures and plays back uncompressed 10-bit and 8-bit digital video and 24-bit digital audio, providing unparalleled power and workflow efficiency. KONA 3 also includes a variety of 10-bit broadcast-quality features, such as hardware-based up-, down-, and cross-conversion to and from HD, and adds a live hardware HD/SD keyer for compositing bugs, live clips, and other elements over video.
Catalyst FX is a visual effects and post production company located in Phoenix, AZ and Los Angeles, CA. For more information, visit www.catalystfx.com. Product Factory is a visual effects and post production company located in Los Angeles, CA. Call 818-788-7445 for more information.