Pinewood Studios’ award-winning creative teams supports the whole production chain

Whether a cinematographer needs digital dailies support, a post supervisor needs bespoke sound elements, or the VFX department need an actor’s body 3D scanned, Pinewood can deliver a vast array of creative services that blend traditional techniques with cutting edge technology.

Pinewood Studios
Pinewood Studios

Pinewood’s customers include many of the world’s leading film studios. Pinewood Studios’ Group Director of Technology, Darren Woolfson, explained their workflow and product choices for film dailies.

“Our film studio customers are very demanding and not unreasonably so: they’ve made demands on us that they expect us to meet, and we’ve said we can meet them. If it’s a digital production it doesn’t matter how much they’ve created in a day, editorial expect it by the following morning and we want to have cleared the mags by lunchtime or mid-afternoon so they can be used the day after. If it’s a film production, we have a bit longer because the negative has to be processed.

“We collaborate with all the other post contributors at the start of the process – to make sure that we work in the right colour spaces, agree the colour pipeline and resolution extraction and at what bit depth.”

The solution

With Rohde & Schwarz’ versatile, reliable and high performance SpycerBoxes, Pinewood has a range of ingest and storage solutions that meet their exacting needs.

“We set up a system based on how much material we expect to process,” continued Darren Woolfson. “It might be a single SpycerBox Ultra TL (Top Loader), sometimes two striped together and sometimes some SpycerBox Cells. For some movies, where Alexa 65 has been used, we’ve had days where 20TB have come in on a single show. We can be simultaneously running up to three large shows and with some smaller ones running alongside, this could be up to 60TB coming in a day.

“We’ll make one copy on to disc while still retaining the original and we’ll make two LTO tape copies after which they’re verified and after our checks, we recycle all of the mags or keep the film negative. The slowest part is backing up to tape as most of our customers want lower cost LTO6. We just parallel up. We might have 10 or 12 drives running simultaneously backing up two copies of the data.

“We need to do a dailies grade, a QC, render the media for Avid along with a lower res review copy, and sync the sound. Some of those processes require real time playback, while you’re writing to the discs at the same time. It’s all about built-in efficiencies.

Posted by Chris Dickinson, technology journalist and editor of the Always On blog. January 5, 2018.