Nucoda Stars in Keep Me Posted Television Pipeline

 Download the case study as a PDF

Keep Me Posted (a FotoKem Company) is a post production facility specializing in the finishing of television, commercials, promos, trailers, and feature productions. For over a decade, the team at KMP has successfully delivered thousands of hours of programming to every major network and cable outlet for an enviable list of drama, comedy and reality shows. In designing a workflow that would be successful for the facility while responding to the needs of their creative customers, KMP chose Nucoda Film Master, crowning the facility with the biggest throughput on Image System’s DI color grading and finishing solution.

In today’s dynamic media environment, facilities face a challenging production landscape with a changing and technically diverse range of deliverables. Good facilities respond to these changes, but great facilities strategically develop workflows that answer the demands facing their customers. Regardless of origination format – film or digital – KMP works closely with production, post and editorial early in the process to ensure success from dailies onward. After careful investigation of systems that could support their vision, KMP chose Nucoda Film Master.

David Duchovny as Hank in Californication (Season 4, Episode 9) (Photo: Jordin Althaus/Showtime)

Integrating Nucoda Film Master into the KMP Workflow

Early in 2010, KMP purchased the first Nucoda Film Master to integrate and power KMP’s television pipeline. Within a few months, as work increased and powerful applications of the Nucoda infrastructure and color grading tools became more engaged, KMP ordered its second Film Master. This summer, a third system was installed to bolster color grading capabilities on the majority of their TV shows. KMP has also taken on a new Precision panel, the state-of-the-art control surface for Nucoda grading solutions.

Tim Kelly, Senior VP, notes, “Our customers are not interested in the ‘how’ we do what we do behind the scenes. What they are really interested in are great images, flexible schedules, affordability, and the latest technologies that actually deliver what’s promised – quickly and efficiently. The Nucoda has delivered on all of those points. When I speak with our customers about their projects and experiences here, they are very impressed with the colorists and color grading experiences, and we owe a big piece of that success to the Nucoda.”

“We have built a flexible, file-based, customer-centric, technical powerhouse,” notes Andrew Hanges, senior VP/GM. “After using FotoKem’s nextLAB system for the dailies process, the converted, uncompressed selects from nextLAB are stored until the client is ready for online, then those files are transcoded directly to KMP’s TerraBlock storage, which is shared by each of KMP’s editorial and color grading suites. The footage is accessible, secure and we are able to operate with incomparable efficiency because of this design.”

Josh Lawson as Doug, Kristen Bell as Jeannie Van Der Hooven, Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan, Dawn Olivieri as Monica, and Ben Schwartz as Clyde Oberholt in House of Lies (Photo: Patrick Ecclesine/SHOWTIME)

Serving 24 offline rooms as well as a number of offsite clients, dailies come through KMP in a variety of formats; the ability to place dailies directly to the storage network streamlines the overall post workflow. When a project is ready for conform, the original dailies media is transcoded to uncompressed Avid files and is stored on the TerraBlock for Symphony conform. Hanges adds, “We rely upon the Avid Symphony to manage the final assembly workflow, and that’s shown itself to be a really elegant solution. We offer our clients a 100% conform, then instantly and securely share that same media with the Nucoda for color grading and finishing.”

“It is the Nucoda’s interoperability with Avid solutions that helped us create this tapeless pipeline,” comments Brian Drown, Director of Engineering at KMP. “We thought very carefully about how to build the best pipeline at KMP with the goal of managing and keeping a number of color grading, storage, conform, duplication, and ingest options working simultaneously with no loss of quality and securely. Nucoda Film Master was a clear choice and perfect fit. The OpenEXR architecture is flexible and strong, the color tools are stellar, and its design supports many of our requirements like shared storage and access, and integration with editorial.”

Taking Advantage of Powerful Color Tools

Most often, the colorist and DP meet at the start of production and decide upon the look for the show. Colorist Keith Shaw says, “Nucoda’s color tools are incredibly responsive and flexible. Television is where some of the most innovative work is being done, and we want to pull out all the stops every day to support the storytellers in their endeavors. Nucoda combines the best in DVO tools with editorial and effects processing to create a single system. That fits perfectly into our integrated pipeline, and helps us to keep delivering pristine images to our clients. It has been a great experience for me and for our customers. Another useful feature is the system’s OpenEXR functionality.”

In addition to a breadth of color grading tools in the Nucoda Film Master, there are a number of other functions available to the colorist that linear color systems could never achieve. Nucoda’s unlimited windows, shape-based tracking, and dirt and grain reduction and/or removal are all powerful aspects that help DPs, directors and producers get the look they want to achieve. Hawk Hamilton, VP of Sales at KMP, comments, “The Nucoda in our nonlinear pipeline offers us so many options for color grading and other functions in the process – the variety of tools may just mean the end of tape to tape. We are also proud to have built into our pipeline the American Society of Cinematographer’s (ASC) Color Decision List (CDL) protocol, which supports the images and goals of the cinematographer from the beginning of the dailies process though final color.”

Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in Homeland (Photo: Ronen Akerman/SHOWTIME)