Qube Cinema has installed its XP-I server and Xi 4K integrated media block (IMB) in Super Star Power Productions’ new 4K DI suite in Los Angeles. The combination postproduction facility and theater offers a seamless 4K pipeline from review of uncompressed 4K image files taken directly from 4K cameras, through color grading at 4K, to the Qube XP-I server and Xi IMB and projected via Barco's new DP4K-P postproduction projector. Hollywood producers and directors of feature films will now be able to review 4K images, color grade at 4K in real time and generate 4K DCPs for final QC, all from a single 4K projector in a home-like setting.
The beautiful DI suite is powered by a single Qube XP-I server, which is capable of streaming up to 1 Gbps of data, sufficient throughput to support DCPs at a frame rate of 30 fps at 4K or up to 120 fps at 2K. The postproduction version of the Qube Xi 4K IMB has a Quad 3G interface with four 3G-SDI cables that link to a Quantel Pablo Rio color grading board with 4K output, which then streams uncompressed 4K content directly to the Barco DP4K-P projector. The Quad 3G inputs of the Xi 4K IMB give Super Star Power Productions (SSPP) a simplified 4K postproduction workflow, allowing it to review and process 4K master image files from 4K cameras, and then switch seamlessly from uncompressed 4K color grading to 4K DCP playback without swapping input boards.
“The Qube server and 4K IMB allow us to have immediate comparisons and precise quality control of all content,” said Will Holman, owner of SSPP. “We can be color grading at 4K one minute and the next we can review the 4K DCP that we mastered with QubeMaster Pro. There’s no card to swap out, no cables to switch. It’s seamless and simple.”
Full 4K Workflow in the Comfort of an Elegant Home Theater
Holman designed and built the 4K DI suite on the first floor of the home he recently purchased in Playa Vista, a neighborhood of L.A. The space has a comfortable and elegant home theater feel to it, with sound-proof paneling and four Acoustic Smart seats. It has a workstation where the coloring system and interface boards fit, with a 4K monitor mounted on the wall nearby. In addition to the projection equipment, the 4K DI suite has a Daily Dual screen system from Stewart Filmscreen with two screens. One is a SnoMatte 100 non-perf screen for color grading. This white screen can be rolled up electrically to reveal the fixed silver screen, a 3D RealD Ultimate Screen, which increases light throughout the whole screen for a crisper, brighter image while viewing 2D and 3D films.
“This is the first 4K DI suite that has all the bells and whistles,” said Jeff Battles, vice president of sales at Perception Technologies, the system integrator on the project. “In addition to the Qube 4K IMB and server, it has the best projector for 4K and the first RealD Ultimate Screen. Super Star has everything in this one room that’s needed to color grade and finish 2D and 3D movies.”
After months of research, Holman chose his equipment, starting with the Qube Cinema XP-I server, Xi 4K IMB and the Barco 4K postproduction projector.
“I designed this 4K studio to be future-proof by choosing all the best gear,” Holman said. “When I met Eric Bergez and the Qube team at NAB last year, they really understood my vision for a high-end coloring suite with 4K capability. As I was doing my research I kept hearing good things about them. When you hear something several times, especially from an integration company with the reputation of Perception Technologies, then you definitely take heed.”
The Perception Technologies engineers designed the room as a turnkey solution for Holman. They started with the shell of the room, figured out where to put speakers and how the room should look. Holman selected the seats and the color scheme while Perception Technologies did all of the system integration except put in the color grading system.
From Camera Rental to High-End Film Finishing
“I’m excited to get my hands on all this great equipment and will certainly continue to do some color grading,” Holman explained. “My goal is to create a picture from production through post, leveraging all the connections I’ve made in the industry over the years.”
Holman began his multifaceted career in the film industry as an actor, before turning his hand to writing and directing. After the birth of his son in 2008, he saw post as a good way to stay connected with the industry while expressing his creativity through editing and color grading. He was renting out high-end cameras and editing his own material when he decided to take SSPP to the next level – building his own 4K DI postproduction theater. Although he will do some color grading, Holman’s long-term vision is to rent out the whole space, including the living areas of the house, as a rental property for studios. It would be a private space to stay while completing the color grading and editing of feature films.
“Producers want results instantly and they’ll be able to get them here,” Holman explained. “It is because of Qube that I can show my customers what I’m finishing in real time, going from 4K color grading to DCP review with the flip of a switch, and all in the same room. This increases my value while saving them time and money.”
“Will is providing directors and producers with a less expensive room to rent to finish their movies,” said Jeff Battles, of Perception Tech. “They now have access to the high-quality screens, projector, color grading board and server they’re used to at larger facilities, but in an intimate setting. People are going to find doing 4K here really impressive.”
“Having a full 4K workflow is a huge leap forward for postproduction studios and Will is leading the way with his 4K DI suite,” said Eric Bergez, director of sales and marketing for Qube Cinema. “Super Star is offering Hollywood creatives the best room possible to color grade and finish their films. We’re thrilled that they turned to Qube to help make this happen.”