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‘Skellig’ production finds efficiency with streamlined HD edit workflow

Production of "Skellig," a new children's fantasy film from director Annabel Jankel and Feel Films that will premiere next month in the UK on Sky 1, benefited from an HD workflow that touched every aspect of the production from shooting up to the final color grade.

To make the movie, a coming-of-age drama adapted from David Almond's novel of the same name, the production team relied on the AJA Video Systems’ Io HD video ingest and output device to capture and edit the forthcoming release.

On the set, the production team shot the movie with ARRIFLEX D-21s and recorded to a Sony SR recorder for DI. At the same time, the team used two AJA Io HD devices to record the material in HD to two Apple laptops, explained Keith Mottram, visual effects editor for the project. Mottram, who selected the film’s equipment list, sought to maintain a fully HD pipeline from beginning to end. This approach ensured “everything we did up until the final color grade tapped this HD capture workflow," he said. The AJA Io HD device brings HD editing to the MacBook Pro and Mac Pro using Apple's ProRes 422 technology while also supporting SD editing workflows.

Using this approach gave the production crew immediate access to its dailies. Having the Io HD on the set to provide playback of scenes in full HD as well as a variety of 26in screens set up for immediate playback was “an amazing advantage for both the actors and the director,” Mottram said.

“This allowed us to review material on set while considering edits and shot matching, enabling us to go back to editorial within minutes of it being shot to tweak and refine. The immediacy of this workflow saved a lot of time and money,” he said.

On set, the Io HD was integrated into a customized trolley/ingest station along with two Sony SR decks and two Apple laptops. One each of the AJA KONA 3 and KONA LHe cards were also used in each of the edit workstations.

Material that was recorded to the laptops was transferred daily on portable FireWire drives to the edit suites. Because the files were ingested with the Io HD, they were already logged, giving the team a head start editorially and making it easier to go through the footage, because they already had the slate burned into QuickTime.