With this blog post we want to give you an insight APostLab’s annual project based workshop. We have summarized the Budapest workshop of February 2018 by taking a detailed look at the schedule, plenary descriptions and some nice pictures by Nelly Kiss & Niko Remus.
The 8th edition of the workshop welcomed 20 participants from all over the globe in Budapest, Hungary on February 8th 2018. People traveled from: India, Israel, Bolivia, Philippines, Netherlands, Hungary, Luxemburg, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Austria & Belgium.
For to the workshop, producers and post supervisors are teamed up to work on a post production plan for the producers project. This plan could consist of a: workflow, a post budget, a post schedule, and a delivery list – based on APostlab’s templates.
After the participants are selected, the post supervisors have to prepare an assignment for their project prior to the workshop. This is the starting point for the team work. The teams are divided into two even groups: A & B.
The basic schedule of all workshop days is: Group work – Plenaries – Individual Training – with 2 coffee breaks and a lunch break during the day. We start at 9u and are usually not at the dinner table before 20u00, so pretty intense but necessary to get in the workshop mode!
DAY 1 – Feb 8th
After morning arrivals in the lovely Adina Apartments Hotel & the introduction game to get to know each other, Katriel Schory kicked off the workshop with his plenary BEING A PRODUCER IN THE DIGITAL AGE. He spoke about the different kinds of producers and how they approach projects. His talks are always filled with real stories from his vast experience, as a producer but also as a film fund director. One of his main concerns today is creative discipline in a world of making films digitally. He expanded on that and he will explains why “every film is a prototype”. After Katriel’s enthousiastic opening talk it’s time for a warm welcome by Agnes Havas, director of our Hungarian partner the Hungarian Film Fund.
In the first group work session the workshop’s goal is explained in detail: every team is to present a proper post schedule, post budget and if possible a delivery list of the team’s project on the last day of the workshop.
DAY 2 – Feb 9th
Since the teams have been divided into Group A and Group B, they split up for daily morning group work sessions. In the confidential group work sessions all projects get a thorough review – behind closed doors. Budapest’s group leaders were: Post production supervisor and our Head of Studies Niko Remus & producer Roshanak Behesht Nedjad for Group A. Hans van Helden & producer Viktoria Petranyi coached Group B. More info on APostLab’s team can be found here.
The plenaries of DAY 2 were:
BUDGETING POST PRODUCTION – Hans van Helden, Netherlands “Save the money – budget your post production correctly”. Most shooting budgets are rather complex and detailed, most post budgets are not. What are the typical overspends and what is missing in most post budgets? How do you avoid the overspends and how do you align schedules and budgets for post production? Hans went over these questions and pointed out how workflows, schedules and budgets are connected. Afterwards all participants received a template budget to work with.
For the DIGITAL WORKFLOWS plenaries a short introduction is useful: understanding and handling the workflow is one of crucial elements in digital film production today. With changing and evolving technology, it is important to keep up to date and comprehend how the stages of pre-production, production, post production and archiving are connected. The aim of these plenaries is to give the participants an overview of the process to understand the different steps to have an eye-level discussion with everybody in post production. The series of Digital Workflow plenaries is divided into 5 parts.
DIGITAL WORKFLOWS 1 – From Shoot to Post – Niko Remus “The post starts before the shoot!” has become a standard phrase at the workshop. In this plenary Niko walks through the process, starting in pre-production when the format is decided and the camera is chosen, going through the process of tests, shooting, backups, offline-rushes, editing, all the way into image- and sound-post. At the end of the plenary a practical checklist is handed out for shooting digitally.
DIGITAL WORKFLOWS 2 – Digital Intermediate – Niko Remus. When the editing is completed, the projects enters the stage of the Digital Intermediate. This plenary covers the steps of conforming and going into the overview, some valuable tips are given as to what a producer should know to handle the process well.
INDIVIDUAL TRAINING – After the participants have digested these three plenaries just a little bit during the coffee break – the group moves on the first Individual training sessions. All group leaders are present for these sessions, so are the visiting experts for at least one and often two sessions. Participants are motivated to grasp the opportunity to have a one-on-one, ask questions about the project and really use all the knowledge in the room!
DAY 3 – Feb 10th
On the Day 3 the routine is set so Group work progresses nicely and for today there’s in 3 plenaries & an excursion lined up – nice to get out of the classroom for a bit.
First plenary, part 3 in the series of 5:
DIGITAL WORKFLOWS 3 – Creating a DCP and a DCDM – Neeltje van der Heijden. The DCP has been a standard for cinema projection ever since 35mm prints declined. But how does a DCP really work and what do you need to make one? Neeltje goes through the steps of making a DCP and how to fit together all the elements. Encryption will be covered as well as handling different playlists and subtitles within a DCP. In addition, the main delivery element in today’s world for mastering and archiving will be explained: the DCDM.
This plenary is followed by the first ever Flash plenary! FLASH PLENARIES. As the workshop cannot cover all aspects of post production in 6 days, we decided to offer a variety of topics that can be discussed in FLASH PLENARIES. These are 15-20 minutes long and the topics will be decided by popular demand during the workshop. On the list were topics like ‘Trailer workflow’, ‘Six levels of a Post Supervisor’, ‘Working with an insurance bond’. Participants get to vote during the workshop & and suggest topics themselves.
For the next plenary we moved to the animation studio Pannonia that now also houses post facilities including a great music recording studio where Neeltje Mooring (yes we had two Neeltje’s) & Niko presented their plenaries after we got a tour of the amazing building.
CREATIVE MUSIC SUPERVISION – Neeltje Mooring. Clearing music rights, getting recording and publishing rights are the basics to the trade. But what else should a good music supervisor do? Neeltje Mooring goes through the questions of when to start with the search for the right music for a film, how to find and approach the rights holder and how to negotiate a good deal for all rights related to music. In addition, a music supervisor can also give a great deal of creative input to a project. At the end of this session we had an Q + A.
SOUND WORKFLOW OVERVIEW – Niko Remus This plenary gave an overview of the basic steps in the sound workflow for a feature film from the POV of a post supervisor. With samples from different projects, Niko Remus gave insight into handling and connecting the different people involved in sound post production, starting from the recordist on the set, the dialog editor, sound designer, Foley artist and the re-recording mixer. At the end an overview of sound deliverables and the explanation of the mixes and audio stems.
After individual training to wrap up the day we went on to the split group dinners where post supervisors & producers are split up for dinner for two consecutive nights.
DAY 4 – Feb 11th
After morning group work, Day 4 opens with the longest and most eye-opening plenary for a lot of producers: Visual Effects!
VFX-TECHNIQUES – Hans van Helden, Netherlands When do you need green screen and when do you better do without? What does it actually mean when a VFX-supervisor talks about modeling, rigging, texturing and lighting? And when they say that the need to “roto” that, what do they mean? Why do you need a 3D model for an object in a film that is not in 3D? In this plenary Hans van Helden goes through the basic techniques of visual effects work and explain the terms that everybody likes to be familiar with when dealing with films in post production. He shows many examples from real projects and give valuable advice on planning and budgeting VFX.
Every year we aim to include a case study with a relevancy for post production during the workshop. We were very proud to highlight on the editing & sound post of Martin Koolhoven’s Brimstone in Budapest:
“BRIMSTONE” – A CASE STUDY Herman Pieëte and Job ter Burg, Netherlands – To talk about their work, Job ter Burg (film editor) and Herman Pieëte (sound designer) shared their approach to the project and also address how and at which point they communicated between the different departments in post production. The participants had seen the film in a local cinema the night before.
FILM EDITING – Job ter Burg – Adjacent to the case study, Job ter Burg elaborated about the editing process of „BRIMSTONE“ and on how shooting digitally has affected the editing, also define some tasks which are the responsibility of the editor, and some that are not.
After this intense day with al lot of in-depth on post processes, Job & Herman were around for individual training & dinner as well.
DAY 5 – Feb 12th
Even though the hotel had a great swimming pool to get some excersice – the participants were looking forward to combining the today’s group work & plenaries with a City Tour excursion to the Hungarian Filmlab. But first a plenary:
DIGITAL WORKFLOWS 4 – Delivering your Deliverables – Neeltje van der Heijden, Organizing deliverables for a digital project, especially in a co-production, is one of the most challenging tasks when completing a film. The numerous formats and ever increasing demands from world sales and distributors are adding to the complexity. Neeltje van der Heijden went through the different elements and depicts which materials you really need and what you might want to negotiate out of your delivery schedule. Template list is handed out at the end.
VISIT to the HUNGARIAN FILM LAB – János Polyák, Éva Haraszin, Hungary Since it is part of the workshop is to visit some local facilities, the Hungarian Film Lab was high on our list. It is a centre of creative work, offering the chain of digital work as well as a full functioning film lab. We got a full tour and did not want to leave – especially after seeing the chemical lab and touching physical film for a change!
FILM WORKFLOW and ARCHIVING – János Polyák – In the era of 35mm projection we automatically created a master that could be archived. A film print or an Internegative / Interpositive would be good for centuries after the initial release of the film. Since the decline of 35mm film distribution, we are also lacking the most important way of saving our films for the long term. Seeing and understanding the film workflow in a film lab will make the differences between the analogue and the digital way of working even more clear. As the film lab has kept up with the transition, Janos did plenary on film workflow showcasing some of their recent work.
There is one free evening in the workshop without a pre-arranged dinner, usually on Day 5. So a bunch of participants jumped off the bus downtown Budapest to have dinner & drinks.
DAY 6 – Feb 13th – Final day
Last day to deliver assignments and wrap up. After final Individual training to finalise – it is time to hand in assignments at 13u. During Edmond’s plenary the Group leaders review the assignments and prepare the last 120 minute group work session.
DIGITAL WORKFLOWS 5 – Future Formats and Re-Mastering – Edmond Laccon, UP.GRADE Germany – Along with the changes of evolving technology in displays, cinema projection and broadcast quality, the requirements and contents of delivery schedules change as well. But where are we going with the new formats and how does this affect our way of producing films? Edmond Laccon is a colorist and joint head of UP.GRADE program, a post graduate course at the film school Berlin to train colorists. In this plenary he explained how to re-master 35mm film and how to take it into the future of High-Dynamic-Range (HDR) and 4K. He also advices on how to store films today to create new masters in the years to come.
Two more Flash plenaries to round up the sessions and give out as much knowledge as possible untill the very last minute (-: After that groups were sent off to final group work sessions where the delivered assignments are reviewed.
And ofcourse there is always a final assignment: for the last wrap up dinner prepare to stand up and speak in front of the group and share what you have learned! Joost de Vries handed out diploma’s to all participants. Afterwards we celebrated with drinks out on the town. Tired but happy (-: