News Production & Post

Pure picks Mistika for on-set Arriraw delivery

11 May 2011

Data workflow specialist, Pure Digital Services, has unveiled what is claimed to be the world’s first on-location, full resolution Arriraw 3K DPX workflow system. It is built around an SGO Mistika post-production unit, which Pure owner, Dan Mulligan, believes is the quickest, highest quality system available, writes David Fox.

Mulligan set up Pure Digital to compliment his existing company, Rogue Element Films, because: "You’ve got a lot of work to do on set now, more than ever before." The Mistika is a key part of this, as it allows them to do all the processing on location rather than using a post house. "The potential savings are quite considerable," he said. Whereas a post house might charge £2,000-£3,000 per day, doing it on set can cost about half that.

Time savings are probably even more valuable, as processing on location means that productions can view the dailies at full resolution, which is important for checking focus and doing quality control. "It’s difficult to see a soft shot unless you see it full res on a big screen. When you use a smaller screen you often get artificial sharpening," he said. Being able to QC on set reduces the need for an expensive re-shoot later.

Pure Digital worked with SGO to develop the system for the Arriraw T-Link image capture format, and the Mistika allows full 3K resolution playback in real-time and full technical debayer on-set.

He chose Mistika because it demonstrated the fastest processing capability and the quickest, highest-quality debayer. Such systems typically achieve their speed by using a computer’s graphics processor unit, and he believes that the Mistika software simply utilises the hardware better than anything else he’s seen. "It’s almost twice as quick as any other comparable system."

It used Pixelution as its systems integrator to put the equipment together, including 3D monitors, etc., and the system has already been tested on productions in India and Australia. "The time-saving we experienced really impressed the producers on those productions, so much so, that we are already booked in for more shows in Chile, Canada and again in India,” said Mulligan. The system is being used on a feature in Chile next week.

The Mistika can be used for many more formats than just Arriraw, but "if we can do Arriraw we can do anything else," because Arriraw is the most demanding format, requiring 18MB for each full resolution frame. Other formats are smaller and don’t need debayering. It would be a lot easier if shooting RGB 4:4:4 (on an Arri Alexa, Sony F35 or Grass Valley Viper, for example).

The Mistika can apply look-up tables and prepare stereoscopic rushes, as well as convert files to more user-friendly formats, such as: MXF DNxHD for editorial and DPX files for final online finishing. It includes rapid tools for stereoscopic adjustment and alignment, with the ability to handle files from various cameras such as Red Epic, Alexa, SI-2K and Phantom, amongst others. Compositing, grading and conversion of the rushes on-set is possible in Mistika, in real-time. Its debayering and colour balancing of Arriraw is also in real time.

The recordings are captured on S.two OB-1 uncompressed data recorders (recording to flash drives). Only they and Codex Digital recorders can be used with Arriraw, and Mulligan prefers S.two’s workflow (PDS is now UK distributor for the OB-1). It also uses removable hard drive packs from Dulce Systems to enable it to have up to 100TB in a rack on set linked to the Mistika, using eSATA drives for file space or solid-state drives for rapid access, to give it the speed and storage of a post house on location.

Pure Digital was launched last November, and offers full digital motion picture lab, storage services, transcoding and on-location editing. It has offices in Los Angeles, London, India and Australia, with South Africa and Canada coming soon.


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