Splice’s latest project, the BBC’s upcoming 6-part comedy series, Siblings , follows the misadventures of a slovenly, unhinged brother and sister. The series, filmed entirely with handheld cameras, presented the award-winning London-based studio with a unique FX challenge. Following a recent expansion, Splice now has thirty nine offline edit suites as well as two online Avid DS Suites, one online Symphony Suite – all of which have Boris Continuum Complete – an eleven-seat Baselight Grading Theatre & audio, VFX & content repurposing services.
Adam Dolniak, an Online Editor (and Colourist) at Splice, tackled the FX work. “Any FX/fixing work is usually subtle, but has to be of extremely high quality. The nature of the footage is quite unforgiving for any shoddy FX work,” says Dolniak. “This type of work can be very time consuming. I have found huge benefits from using the BCC Image Restoration tools.”
The handheld shooting style could have led to hours and hours of complex tracking to composite two plates together from two different takes or, as in another case, composite extra fish into a fish tank over the duration of the scene. Dolniak used BCC Optical Stabilizer to remove the camera movement, do the required FX work, and then add the handheld movement back in. “The BCC Optical Stabilizer is almost an automated correction, i.e., you throw it on and it just works! It’s pretty incredible in that respect,” states Dolniak. “It saved a lot of time (which we did not have) since there was no tracking required to do any of the stabilization.”
Dolniak also relies on BCC Flicker Fixer. “We had quite a lot of instances recently from one particular camera that had very subtle changes in aperture, across one or two frames, almost like a flicker, but this wasn’t solely a luminance shift so it can be quite tricky to fix,” continues Dolniak. “BCC Flicker Fixer does an excellent job at removing these camera faults. BCC Pixel Fixer is also great at removing dead/stuck/hot pixels.”
The time-saving benefits of Boris Continuum Complete extend to Dolniak and Splice’s workflow since the entire team has access. Any effect that is created offline is translated through the conform (via Baselight) into Avid DS, which allows the FX that are already in place to stay in place – again saving valuable time and allowing online to add a final ‘polish.’
Dolniak adds, “Luckily, Boris plug-ins render quickly, which is vital for any long form programming that is FX heavy. It means you can create, render, review, tweak, render, and review in seconds without having to stare at a slow moving progress bar. Neither editor nor client has time for that.”