Platform Post has completed its first long form 4K project, providing picture post services for CBBC show Hank Zipzer.
Director Matt Bloom said he wanted to shoot the 13 x 30-minute series in 4K to overcome the restrictions of working with child actors and a limited budget.
“You can’t make a modern show without a lot of coverage, so you either shoot for a long time or create shots digitally. Shooting at 4K allowed us to double or triple our coverage,” he said.
“Kids are only allowed on set for a few hours at a time before they are whisked away, so you can’t waste any time and Americans often think our shows look dull, so we needed to keep up with their style.
“[Hank Zipzer] is very visually dynamic in terms of the camera moves and style and we wouldn’t have been able to make it any other way.”
As well as director of photography Len Gowing’s Red Epic, the production used a boom-mounted Canon 7D for top shots and GoPros for extra coverage.
Bloom estimates that 40% of the show is made up of resized images, such as singles cropped from wide shots and close-ups taken from two-shots.
“It put pressure on Platform Post but they were extremely innovative and they coped extraordinarily well,” Bloom said.
Platform Post director and colourist Simon Cruse said the approach “doubled, if not tripled” the online edit and required an additional half day in the grade.
“The process works but it increases the cost and can cause log jams,” he said.
The series took up 25TB of storage, which was one of the main challenges for Platform, which runs off a 22TB Avid Isis.
To cope with the additional demands the amount of SataBeast nearline storage was increased. Platform also invested in a Red Rocket card to speed up the transcoding process.
The workflow required a pre-grade online edit to deal with the resizes and cut outs from the 4K, some of which required sharpening and filtering during the Baselight grade. From there, the programme moved to an Avid DS suite.
“We could have used Smoke but we opted for DS because it was quite a complicated show. With the 4K acquisition and FX work like crowd replication and animations we needed a system that was more toolset heavy,” said Cruse.