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BBC uses Sledgehammer for Planet Earth series

BBC Post Production will utilize a tapeless workflow based around a 9TB Sledgehammer HD!O dual link system from Maximum Throughput to complete work on the “Planet Earth” documentary. The same process, which includes a Discreet Smoke system, is also currently in use for “Galapagos,” another new three-part HD documentary.

The sheer volume of footage involved (each uncompressed HD frame is 8MB) presented a huge challenge that would normally overwhelm a tape-based system. However, Sledgehammer HD!O dual link can be used as a nonlinear, tapeless telecine suite, eliminating the delays associated with linear methods.

Using a tapeless workflow for its HD production, all of the film footage is transferred to HD, using a Pandora color correction system, and then recorded directly to the Sledgehammer, which processes uncompressed 4:4:4 data at any HD resolution.

Once on Sledgehammer, the HD footage is transferred to the Smoke system for a first shot at the edited piece. For any color grading that needs to be completed outside of Smoke, material can be transferred and accessed directly over the facility’s Gigabit Ethernet network, with finished shots simply replaced within Smoke.

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