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Blackmagic’s DeckLink Pro gets animated

25 January 2007

‘We Are the Strange’, a 94 minute, mixed-media animation produced in the United States which was screened at Sundance last week, was the first feature whose workflow utilises Blackmagic’s new DeckLink Pro capture card.

In addition to being the only full length feature animation at Sundance, ‘We Are the Strange’ is also unique in that it is composed of mixed media consisting of 3D, stop motion, and 2D, taking almost three years to complete. The film was produced, written and directed by M Dot Strange. Chaylon Blancett was brought aboard for post production.

“We are thrilled to be part of such an innovative animation as ‘We Are the Strange’,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Filmmakers like M Dot and Chay are doing things that have never been done before, moving into uncharted territory with their full length film, exclusively utilising three types of animation. It’s great that Blackmagic can be a part of helping to make this type of creativity possible!”

Strange and Blancett used Cinema 4D and Adobe After Effects 7 to create 1920 x 1080 Blackmagic 10-bit uncompressed movie files. In post, the final movies were exported as SD files to be offlined on an Apple G4 and a Mac Pro using Final Cut Pro 5. The online assembly was also done using After Effects. The After Effects project files were then sent to a G5 dual 1.8 with 4GB RAM. Using the SD files as reference in Final Cut Pro, the uncompressed 10-bit files were then colour corrected in After Effects.

The DeckLink Pro was used to preview the Photo JPEG files for colour correction purposes on both an analogue CRT monitor and a DLP projector with SDI inputs.

“The DeckLink Pro was fantastic and extremely easy to use and install. It allowed us to view all of our 10-bit uncompressed movies simultaneously, taking analogue out of the card to the CRT monitor as well as SDI out to the digital projector,” said Strange. “We also enjoyed the flexibility of previewing anything we wanted through the card in any resolution. Unlike other programs, the DeckLink Pro provided a reliable picture on which to base our colour correction.”

Blancett, co-editor on the film, added: “The DeckLink Pro is the perfect product for young creative individuals to finish what they have worked so hard for. With the DeckLink Pro, we are able to work with the highest quality formats while manipulating and finishing the project perfectly, without any loss of quality. We were not bound by the restraints of digital or analogue signals. The use of the DeckLink Pro card made it easy to complete our vision for the movie because we were equipped with the right tools.”

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