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  • Article

    AICE Issues Recommended Practices for Digital Prod

    October 8, 2012, 4:52 pm
    The post production industry trade group has surveyed its members and released recommendations for digital camera masters and digital dailies.

    New York, NY – October 8, 2012 – AICE (www.aice.org), the post production trade association, has released a new series of Recommended Practices governing digital camera masters and the creation of digital dailies. The guidelines, which were finalized after a national survey of AICE member editorial and post production houses, provide agencies and production companies with technical recommendations for digital camera masters and procedural guidelines which clarify and simplify the preparation and delivery of digital dailies to editorial houses.

    A copy of the Recommended Practices document can be downloaded from the AICE web site here:


    The Recommended Practices were developed in response to an increasingly complex post production environment due to the industry’s rapid shift from shooting on film to digital acquisition, explains Burke Moody, Executive Director of AICE. “We’ve gone from a format and a workflow – 35 and 16 millimeter film – that’s been in place for 50 or 60 years to one that’s constantly changing and evolving,” he notes.

    “Digital picture acquisition has turned everything in the post production world up-side down,” Moody continues. “Our Recommended Practices have been issued to help provide some benchmarks for stakeholders to adhere to.”

    The Recommended Practices document, developed by the AICE Technical Committee, establishes criteria for digital camera masters and digital dailies. It strongly recommends that responsibility for dailies be assigned prior to production to ensure that the dailies are properly prepared and delivered to the editorial house and that the cost to prepare them is included in either the production company's or the post facility's budget. Finally it warns that failure to provide dailies completely and correctly will result in additional and unnecessary costs to the client, loss of time in the post production schedule and delays in the finishing and delivery schedules.

    The AICE Technical Committee's recommendations were confirmed by results of the national survey conducted this past June. A detailed questionnaire was distributed to Owners and Executive Producers at AICE member shops in all eight chapters in the US and Canada. A total of 75 editorial houses from all 8 markets took part.

    With roughly 90 percent of all projects now shot with digital cameras, the survey strongly suggests that procedures for making dailies need improvement and that the responsibility for making digital dailies must be clarified.

    According to a majority of survey respondents (between 60 and 70 percent), digital dailies are often provided incorrectly, incompletely, or generally require more work before ingesting into the editing system. The survey also indicated that when dailies are not provided, most editorial facilities are performing the tasks of a 'lab,’ such as performing one-light corrections.

    Billing for dailies is increasingly problematic for editorial houses, the survey notes. Only thirteen percent of the respondents said they have been consistently compensated for dailies generation, a quarter said they were compensated frequently and nearly half said they are only able to include costs for dailies on certain jobs.

    Furthermore, if the dailies are delivered incorrectly, over half the respondents said they are rarely successful collecting overages for re-making the dailies.

    A key goal of the Recommended Practices document is to improve awareness and provide useful criteria for production companies and agencies, says Moody. “Educating everyone about digital production and the generation of dailies is essential for a smoother, more efficient post production process,” he notes.

    The survey findings also indicate a need for better communication between production and post. For example, only 57 percent of respondents said they were able to communicate regularly with production companies regarding digital capture formats and specs before the shoot; the remainder said this happened on a hit or miss basis. Similarly, discussion with the DIT prior to a shoot is reported to be spotty. Only half of the respondents said it happens on a regular basis.

    Overall, the survey indicates that editorial houses are most successful in obtaining properly formatted and prepared digital dailies when they are delivered by a digital lab rather than by the DIT.

    The AICE Technical Committee which developed the Recommended Practices was headed up by Jeff Drury, Technical Operations Manager of the Whitehouse in New York, and included Clayton Hemmert of Crew Cuts, Knox McCormac of Optimus in Chicago, Justin Lee of 567vfx in Toronto, Carl Jacobs of Splice in Minneapolis and Austyn Daines of Rock Paper Scissors in Los Angeles. It was established in the fall of 2011.

    Drury says the Recommended Practices grew out of discussions among AICE members over the explosive growth of file-based production and the problems it presented to editorial and post production facilities. “We all felt there was a desire for some technical guidance from the organization on the part of the industry as a whole,” he points out.

    In the rush to transition to digital capture, says Hemmert, “a number of steps in the post production process have been conveniently forgotten,” most notably the role of what used to be the film lab. As a result, he says, “there are a lot of jobs that come in with dailies that have not been properly prepared. As post production companies, we have to spend money, buy software and train people to correct these problems. Most importantly, we lose time in the edit.”

    With the explosion of footage typically shot on any given job, incorrect digital dai-lies can be a real headache, Hemmert continues. The common use of multiple cameras, cameras left running for extended periods and no guidance from script notes has required editors to slog through hours and hours of material, all of which must be screened in real time. “You still have to build your selects reels and filter all of this content,” he says. “And often we’re getting a late start because the content is not being delivered in the proper form. Yet our ship dates don’t change. We still have to deliver on time.”

    For more information on the Recommended Practices document, contact Burke Moody at AICE at 212-665-2679 or at burke@aice.org.

    About AICE
    AICE is an international trade association whose members are independent creative editorial, design, visual effects, color grading, audio, music and post production companies. It is dedicated to the advancement and promotion of these companies and the essential role their artists play in the media creation process. With chapters in Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco and Toronto, AICE represents a significant segment of the vibrant post production industry, and continues to maintain its strong collective voice in the commercial advertising and marketing industry. Among its signature initiatives and programs are the annual AICE Awards, which highlights creative excellence among its member companies; the regular publication of white papers and advisories on relevant trends and developments in post production; and active participation with other industry organizations on the establishment of standards and best practices for the post production process. For more in-formation, visit www.aice.org.www.aice.org.

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