MIAMI -- When Vincent Hogan and Tony Maiorana opened Cineworks Digital Studios almost four years ago, they were determined to raise the bar in terms of post support and infrastructure, here in Miami. "We looked at the market and saw room for a higher-end lab and post facility that could move into data-related post production workflows," says Hogan, Cineworks' president. "Nobody was doing it."
The company quickly established a reputation for its lab, telecine and editorial services for feature films, commercials, promos and music videos. The studio then began to introduce HD transfers and post production to the South Florida community.
"What makes us different from others is the years of experience our core people have working with film," notes Hogan. "It's where we learned our craft. We can deliver for our clients whether they're 20th Century Fox, Crispin Porter + Bogusky or a student."
Hogan is an accomplished cinematographer who has collaborated with leading ASC, BSC and CSC cinematographers on more than 50 major features during a 28-year career in motion pictures and lab management at Continental in Miami, Allied Film & Video in Dallas and DuArt Film & Video in New York. Partner Maiorana, who serves as Cineworks' CFO, has a 30-year background in banking and financial operations. Mark Polyocan, who was president of New York's The Tape House, has recently joined them. He's handling marketing and sales.
Director of engineering Carl Alessi, a 25-year veteran of post facility design, construction and maintenance, designed and installed Cineworks' video and data infrastructure. The 18,000-square-foot facility integrates the professional motion picture laboratory with telecine and nonlinear editing. "Carl has brought the world of film, video and data together in our control room," says Hogan.
The Cineworks lab feeds two Ursa Diamond Y-Front telecines with MetaSpeed, Aaton Key Link, DVNR noise reduction and da Vinci 8:8:8 DUIV.4.2.1 with EDWIN (Enhanced Definable Windows), Silk Scan and Primal realtime digital effects. Colorists Matt Perrin and Leonardo Spagno man the Y-Fronts for supervised transfers while Ralph Perez and Bradley Greer handle dailies transfers for spots, features and documentaries. Dailies may be transferred to Avid hard drives. Cineworks uses the Fostex DV40 studio audio player/recorder for syncing dailies from hard drives recorded on the set.
All of the colorists will be doing sessions on the Sony Vialta HD telecine with da Vinci 2K Plus with Toolbox, which Cineworks installed last month. "This is the newest version of Vialta with the LED light source," Hogan points out. "Although Sony is no longer manufacturing Vialta, we have Sony's guaranteed seven-year support. We felt the capabilities Vialta has, including dual-link 4:4:4 RGB out, worked well with our plans as we start to see more and more features and commercials driven by their deliverables."
About nine months ago Cineworks added an Avid DS Nitris with HD finishing capabilities, the only one in South Florida. Bradley Greer serves as Nitris editor. The system supplements two offline rooms outfitted with Avid Xpress Pro and Meridien XL1000 systems. "We're getting an increasing demand for HD post," Hogan reports." We make the case that if you originate on HD or film, HD post is the way to go to get more bang for your buck with deliverables. We've seen an upsurge in shooting Super 16mm and finishing with 24p HD universal masters for NTSC, PAL and film recording for theatrical release."
For the indie horror film Unaware from Chicago director Marc Selz, Cineworks up-rezed the 720p source to 1080i, conformed in Nitris and delivered the 1080i master on HDCAM. The company also onlined and provided titling and effects in Nitris for the six-camera HD concert The Doors to the 21st Century, which was output to 1080i for delivery.
Although its HD work is growing, Cineworks still has a full roster of film projects. It provided negative developing and video dailies for Three, a survival castaway story under cinematographer Tony Imi, BSC; The Celestine Prophecy, which cinematographer Michael Givens shot in Jacksonville and Ocala; a Visa spot package for Park Pictures from DP Lance Acord (Lost in Translation). The company also provided 35mm lab services, dailies and final color correction by Leo Spagno for two spots in Crispin Porter + Bogusky's Mini Cooper campaign from director Nelson Cabrera. Hogan reports that they are experiencing an influx of PAL work for dailies, too.
The company also plans to invest in a film recorder. "It's the next logical move," says Hogan. "We'll be able to start in film, data or video and finish back to film. In time, the post workflow will be the same for all projects."
Hogan is confident about Cineworks' long-term technology path but acknowledges that day-to-day reliability is what ultimately counts. "I've built relationships in my 28 years in the industry by being consistent," he states.