Posted: Mar 22, 2010
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Software: Autodesk Lustre, Autodesk Smoke
Santa Monica, Calif.-based Ascent Media uses Autodesk software for color grading, conform, and titles on the popular TV show Lie to Me.
Based on the real-life discoveries of behavioral scientist Paul Ekman, the Fox television series Lie To Me, starring Tim Roth, follows Dr. Cal Lightman and his team of deception experts as they assist law enforcement and government agencies to expose the truth. For season 2 of the popular drama, Ascent Media’s Entertainment TV facility in Santa Monica is using Autodesk® Lustre® software for digital color grading and Autodesk® Smoke® editorial finishing software to complete conform and titles.
Image Description: Image courtesy of Ascent Media.
“This tapeless workflow is very efficient, in a large part because of how well Lustre and Smoke talk to each other. Because everything remains as data throughout the process, we can do concurrent servicing. For example, titles can be done in Smoke while color grading is being done in Lustre,” explains Bill Romeo, senior VP at Ascent Media. He adds, “The all-in-one-box approach to editorial finishing makes for an easy integration of the Smoke toolset into our workflow.”
Bajpai credits the facility’s tapeless environment with providing a 30 percent time savings over tape-to-tape workflows. “The true benefit of the process is that regardless of how much time we have, we’re able to spend most of it working creatively,” he adds. “You’re not making compromises, and you’re allowing various people in the chain to have their say and contribute to the final outcome. It becomes a much more satisfying process creatively.”
Bajpai cites the power windows in Lustre and its capability to burn, dodge, and vignette as being extremely useful for the show. He also likes the automatic tracking tools. “Lustre has it all,” he states. “There are an infinite number of power windows for burning and dodging and vignetting, and auto tracking tools so you don’t have to manually track. Keying capabilities in Lustre also allow us to do very fine separations of color. Working on soft skin tones in a gritty environment like we do, all of these tools come in very handy, and are an enormous benefit to the show.”
Ascent uses Smoke for titling the show. Once titles are built, they’re brought in and composited in Smoke. This Autodesk workflow differs from the television standard. With Smoke integrated into the pipeline, titles can be set up far in advance, rather than having to wait until the color grading is completed.