Image Systems helps Tunnel Inc. bring technological insight and workflow to Studio e in South Korea

IBC, Amsterdam, Stand 7.A28 – 9th September 2011 - Tunnel Consulting, the technology driven arm of Tunnel Inc., is in the final stages of completing Phase One of an international consultation and implementation project for Studio e, a mega studio/facility/media centre based in South Korea’s sixth largest city, Gwangju. Tunnel has chosen Image Systems’ Phoenix restoration tools and Nucoda grading line to power the international project.

The Studio e facility will restore, convert, archive and manage the distribution of thousands of hours of Korean broadcast library content. Studio e will create universal masters of a vast library of film and television programs using the integrated workflow of the Phoenix and Nucoda solutions that are designed for high volume. In addition to the mastering of the library, DI and 2D to 3D conversions are central in the workflow. The Studio e site will be one of the world’s largest implementation of Nucoda and Phoenix solutions.

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Tunnel Inc. is respected for a strong technological focus and creative approach. The team from Tunnel travelled to South Korea in early 2011 to analyse the entire spectrum that would be needed to bring a project of this size to fruition-beginning at one end and going all the way to the other-from ingest, colour management, shot clean up and restoration, to simple visual effects, digital asset management, and finally to storage and distribution. They developed the workflow, supervised the design of the facility, specified and ordered the technology, trained staff, and in some cases created customised solutions. The launch is set for late 2011.

Studio e has 300 workstations, divided into 30 pods of 10 workstations. In looking at the technology needed for a project of this magnitude, Kyle Jackson, Co-Founder, Tunnel Inc., returned to his long-standing relationship with Image Systems. In Santa Monica, Tunnel Inc. has two Nucoda Film Masters and finishing credits on over 180 films and many TV, web, and commercial projects using the Nucoda product line. This core experience with Image Systems gave Kyle and Tunnel Consulting partner, Matthew Treinish, the perspective to execute the restoration and colour portion of the pipeline.

Jackson notes, “We knew from our experience that the range of capabilities – Phoenix for restoration and Nucoda for grading, as well as the tools in the highly regarded DVO toolset – was a perfect fit. By the time you see and access everything that Nucoda can do, there simply are more tools and opportunities for VFX, grading and conform; it becomes a clear choice and viable financial option. As a long time user of the Nucoda grading line, I am now thoroughly impressed with the Phoenix restoration line. The solutions from Image Systems are absolutely the best in the market.”

At Studio e, there are also 15 master colourist workstations with a more robust set up than the pods, which includes Phoenix Finish and many of the DVO tools, as well as Nucoda Compose and Nucoda Fuse and with the Avid Artist panel to facilitate the execution of a wide array of actions. By combining the Avid panel and Nucoda Fuse, in-house DI workflows have a cost-efficient option for high quality colour and image processing tools. The joint solution will be presented for the first time at IBC 2011. Tunnel is the first customer to acquire this integrated package.

There is also a significant asset management component to the project. Digital asset management experts from 5th Kind were enlisted by Tunnel Consulting to help design and implement their DAM as a custom solution. “Managing this quantity of content comes with a significant need for flexible, powerful asset management. We’ve been able to work closely with our colleagues at 5th Kind to develop a custom solution that integrates with the SAN and Nucoda tools that is highly effective,” comments Jackson.

Additionally, Adam Hawkey, Senior DI Colourist for Image Systems, gave twenty Studio e managers from South Korea hands-on, intense training. Those managers will, in turn, train the staff back in South Korea.

Phase Two of Studio e is set to begin late 2011/early 2012, and will further expand operations to include other types of content and outside projects. Tunnel’s involvement in the undertaking is a harbinger of an emerging model of technological consultation, where global experts work to support emerging markets and businesses based on their experience and expertise. Image Systems tools will be designed into the expansion plans.

Jackson and Treinish agree and note, “This project was a major undertaking of over eight years of strategy and execution. Working with our friends and colleagues at Image Systems always has been one of the most rewarding technological collaborations we have ever engaged in, and their willingness to work closely with us to devise solutions on the Studio e project was crucial. They understand real world demands as well as the creative needs. Just as important as the toolset, is their willingness to respond with flexibility, ingenuity and dedication. We look forward to working with them in the expansion of Tunnel, in our global consultations, and as part of the innovation plan for our future.”