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Codex Fuels 3D workflow for Life of Pi

19 December 2012
Codex Fuels 3D workflow for Life of Pi

Codex technology occupied a key position in a 3D workflow used in the production of Life of Pi, the new, epic adventure film from 20th Century Fox and director Ang Lee. Codex recorders were used on the set to capture dual streams of data from pairs of Arri Alexa cameras used to shoot the movie. Additionally, Codex digital laboratory systems were employed near-set to manage and back up the enormous amount of data generated by the stereo production. 3D specialist Cameron Pace Group supported Lee through the creative process by supplying expertise, equipment, and an on set workflow for screening dailies. A number of different camera systems were considered for use with the rigs with cinematographer Claudio Miranda ultimately selecting the then new Arri Alexa camera for its sensitivity to details such as light reflecting off water. Codex recorders provided a way to record data without compression and with 100 percent reliability. Additionally, they greatly simplified the process of recording 3D through their ability to record dual streams from paired cameras in perfect synchronicity. “Codex treats dual streams as if they are one negative,” Cameron Pace Group Co-Chairman and CEO Vince Pace explained. “That really benefits you when you want to playback scenes in 3D. It is far superior to using two recorders as that would require external equipment to play them in sync.” During the production, individual Codex recorders were used with each of three camera pairs. When the recorders were full, they were taken to a near-set laboratory and off-loaded to Codex Digital Labs. The Digital Labs were employed to make LTO back-up media and to load media onto a DVS Clipster system that was used to prepare 3D dailies media for review, editorial, visual effects and post production purposes. The off-loading process was overseen by CPG’s Derek Schweickart, the production’s 3D Workflow Supervisor. Schweickart noted that Codex’s system for managing 3D data also simplified his task. “Codex’s ability to record clips that are the same length is really important,” he said. “It made it very easy to manage the left eye and right eye. When I offloaded the data to the Digital Lab and then onto the Clipster, there was very little data management to do. I simply dropped in the left eye and right eye timelines. That allowed us to focus on other tasks such as colour correction and matching the footage to script notes. That was a huge advantage.”

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