User Story: Technicolor-Postworks Crafts New Workflows With CineXtools

Technicolor PostWorks is New York’s preeminent post facility and thought leader, having advanced conversations about file-based workflows for over a decade. Leading the charge is Matt Schneider, PostWorks’ Director of Technology. “Most of the dominant platforms we use have migrated away from using a proprietary hardware model. I was really pleased to see that Cinedeck had taken this direction as well with the introduction of cineXtools, their software-based insert edit technology, released at NAB 2016,” says Matt. “A software application that has the ability to insert-edit into files is a strategic must-have for both us and our clients.”


Mike Nuget, Technicolor PostWorks’ Senior Finishing Editor/Colorist, recalls, “I checked out cineXtools at NAB last year on Matt’s recommendation; my day-to-day work consists mostly of conform and online, and we were at NAB in search of tools to help introduce efficiencies into our finishing workflows. I got a 30 second demo and my jaw dropped: I couldn’t believe it was possible to insert-edit to ProRes files.”

Since getting his hands on cineXtools last year, Mike has been creating and implementing new workflows for his clients that are centered around cineXtools. “It gives us a lot of flexibility for those ‘just in case’ moments,” says Mike. “Last year, we worked with Jax Media to deliver Younger for TVLand. Their main deliverable is a ProRes 422 HQ file, and there was a last minute change that the client needed. With the client in the room, I was able to open the file, replace the shot and be done. Jax Media loved the fact that they had the option to make last minute changes almost instantly.”

While insert-edit has proven to be a time-saver for the online process, both Matt and Mike rave about the free AMA plugin for Avid to export CBR ProRes files. “Using Cinedeck’s AMA plugin to export ProRes means I can keep my original project in 444 color-space and directly export a YUV10 ProRes file without an intermediary render, and it’s not limited to just 8-tracks of audio,” says Mike. “This means my export process is now a single step: it’s faster and much less complicated, not to mention that I can also make insert-edit corrections to the file right away.”

“The plugin is extremely useful, even without cineXtools,” Matt agrees. “Recently I had to create reference QuickTime files from a 444 project to send to an audio mix. I used the plugin because it was faster and required less mouse-clicking. It was just easier to use the Cinedeck AMA plugin rather than the ‘native’ exporter found within Media Composer.”

It’s clear that the ability to insert edit is creating opportunities to rethink the conform to online workflow for Technicolor PostWorks. “I believe we’ll be able to provide a DPX-like workflow for our clients without the storage expense of using DPX files,” says Mike. “For instance, if a stop sign needs to be painted out, I’ll insert the new shot, and immediately the correction is available within the colorist’s timeline. When the colorist grades the new shot, I see the changes almost immediately. We’re currently testing this workflow and we see it as a new way to reduce or even eliminate the continuous exporting and re-exporting typically done with online and color workflows,” he explains. “If there are last minute VFX updates, or a lot of new shots to drop in, then I can use the cineXtools multi-clip inserter to insert the patches directly into my ProRes master. All the inserts line up according to timecode because the patches and targets are all from the same timeline.”

“We’re really enthused about incorporating cineXtools to create entirely new workflows,” concludes Matt. “It’s letting us reimagine what’s possible anytime flattened files are used to bridge multiple platforms within a singular pipeline. This took us entirely by surprise: cineXtools was initially meant to save time and reduce redundant steps with finishing workflows, but it’s also proving to be a toolset that helps create new workflows, workflows we hadn’t previously considered.”

Technicolor – PostWorks New York is the largest post production facility in New York, providing comprehensive services for film, television and commercials through an exceptional team of artists, engineers and project managers. We offer unsurpassed resources for dailies processing (on-set and off-site), color grading, editorial finishing and visual effects, and feature the most flexible digital intermediate infrastructure in our market. Through PostWorks New York, we also offer non-linear editing systems (available on-site or on-location) and complete sound services. Our Test Lab is a unique resource, providing pre-flight consultation with expertise in digital cinema camera systems and data formats, data management and workflow design. Contact Technicolor-Postworks NY