Skip to main content

Post house goes digital

Walter Lefler has been waiting a decade for high-definition technology to catch up to post-production demands. And now, manufacturers have equipment for doing post-production in HD "as quickly and easily" as in standard resolution, says Lefler, creative director for New York City editorial, graphics and post firm Rhinoceros.

Rhinoceros recently took delivery of a Sony HD edit suite and HD transfer suite. "The advances are such that [HD systems] are very creative-process-friendly and able to give producers the opportunity to optimize quality in virtual, working real time," Lefler says.

The basic infrastructure of the HD-edit suite and film-transfer suite was completed in March at Rhino's 27,000-square-foot facility on East 42nd Street. Sony Electronics Inc.'s systems integration arm spent three to four weeks building the rooms, for which Rhino spent around $4.5 million total.

Choices for an integrated solution were limited, says Lefler: going with Sony or piecing together systems from a variety of manufacturers. Rhino opted for the former.

"It's really an upgrade path from our [Sony] component high-end suite," says David Binstock, CEO of Rhino's parent company, Multivideo Group. "The learning curve was almost nothing. It became pretty transparent, and everything was vertically integrated."

There is equipment from manufacturers besides Sony, and Rhino is about to acquire tape formats other than Sony HDCAM, such as D5 and D6. "I understand coming down the pike is DVCPRO HD," Binstock says. "There is going to be a lot of competition, price-wise and otherwise."

Rhino's existing edit suite contains a Sony DVS-8000 digital switcher with two channels of Sony DME-3000 effects; D1 and Digital Betacam decks; Beta SP decks with A-to-D/D-to-A converters; a DME-7000 digital multieffects generator; and a Sony 9100 editor. The suite also contains a Chyron Maxine! character generator.

The HD edit suite has the same high-end 9100 edit controller and an HDS-7300 3 M/E production switcher with HDME-7000 two-channel DVE. "The control panel is similar to the SDI [switcher], so if you know it, it's easy to use," says David Kuklinski, systems integration manager with Sony.

Rhino's new edit suite also has an Antero HD 3-D character generator from RTSET, Graham-Patten audio boards and a Post Impressions SpiDDR disk recorder with integrated storage, I/O and networking. An animation stand next to the HD room will be outfitted with Sony's HDCAM camcorder.

The HD transfer suite contains Sony's new Vialta HD telecine, plus a da Vinci 2K color corrector, a Digital Visions noise-reduction unit, Digital Visions image enhancer, another HD SpiDDR and a smaller Sony HD production switcher-the HDS-7100-along with a 601 switcher running parallel to the high-def path. The display surfaces are Sony and SGI flat-screen monitors. Five HDCAM VTRs are assigned to both the edit room and the film-transfer room.

Together, the new rooms will give Rhino's clients the option to work virtually tapeless until they commit to a final master.

Though Rhino didn't formally begin booking HD projects until the week of March 27, Lefler says he's "blown away" by what he can accomplish with the new stuff.

"We had some elements we shot on film and elements we shot in HD, and we had to match the color correction of the two," he explains. "We had a tremendous range of color correction in the edit room-more than I've seen in any edit suite."