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Light Iron Colors Penelope in the Cloud

The pioneering workflow is recognized as part of the MovieLabs 2030 Vision Showcase Program.

MovieLabs, the technology joint venture of the major Hollywood motion picture studios, recently announced that Light Iron is among the latest group of 10 participating companies in the 2030 Vision Showcase Program, the case studies for which have now been published in full to coincide with the recently concluded HPA Tech Retreat. The MovieLabs 2030 Vision Showcase Program recognizes organizations in the media and entertainment industry that are implementing MovieLabs’ 2030 Vision Principles with emerging cloud and production technologies. These implementations are advancing the industry and reinventing the media creation ecosystem and, in the process, helping to realize the MovieLabs 2030 Vision goal of enhanced efficiency and interoperability.

Light Iron’s case study, “Coloring Penelope in the Cloud: A Full Color-in-the-Cloud Workflow for Episodic Television,” outlines the company’s work on the series Penelope, which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. As the case study’s introductory summary outlines:

Light Iron developed and deployed an all-cloud workflow that was used to complete dailies, VFX pulls, conform, and color on Penelope, a new episodic television project from Duplass Brothers Productions. The workflow covered everything from capture to post-production; camera footage from a live production shoot was ingested into cloud storage daily, while dailies, conform, color, and VFX pull services were performed using cloud workstations acting directly on that ingested media. The workflow also demonstrated enhanced cloud security approaches as access to the original camera media, and any renders or versions created from that media, were provided to clients and other vendors via granular permission polices (as opposed to making copies). Additionally, as all the media was in the cloud, Light Iron was able to service client requests using on-demand, auto-scaling cloud render engines, accelerating the completion of certain processes to hours instead of days. The technologies utilized in the workflow included AWS’s S3, EC2, and FSx, Colorfront’s Express Dailies (ExD) and Transkoder, FilmLight’s Baselight, Light Iron’s Galixy, and Streambox. Now that Light Iron has deployed and proven the success of this workflow, it will become an option for any show with a global creative team.

Moving these processes into the cloud "better aligns with a more 'run-and-gun' style workflow and allows more accessibility at different levels," says Alex Regaldo, head of production for Duplass Brothers Productions. "We had an editor based in Seattle, but our director and assistant editors were in LA. Even though we were in different locations, we could all be working. So, using the cloud made the most sense. It's just more our vibe."

Directed by Mel Eslyn, Penelope follows its eponymous 16-year-old lead character (played by Megan Scott) as she ventures into the wilderness and attempts to build a life outside of contemporary civilization. Nathan M. Miller served as cinematographer, and Light Iron colorist Pat Fitzgerald performed the final color grade. The workflow allowed Fitzgerald and his collaborators to keep their focus on creative decisions. “The story takes place in the Pacific Northwest, so one of our main areas of focus was on making sure the greens in the environment felt natural,” the colorist shares. “We were aiming for a rich, cool-toned green that didn’t feel too neon or distracting.” 

Richard Berger, CEO of MovieLabs, said: "Since we published the MovieLabs 2030 Vision, it has been broadly adopted by the industry as the roadmap for the future of media creation. The ten principles in the vision establish a framework for more secure and interoperable workflows, which ultimately gives time back to creatives so they can focus on what they do best - creating amazing stories and experiences. We are excited to work with the new showcase participants to publish these technical case studies and share with the industry examples of how the 10 Principles of the 2030 Vision are already delivering real and significant efficiencies, which is critical now in this time of industry change."

Read the full case study on the MovieLabs website here: “Coloring Penelope in the Cloud: A Full Color-in-the-Cloud Workflow for Episodic Television”

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