Burbank-based AlphaDogs is the brainchild of Finishing Editor/Colorist Terence Curren. Curren, whose love of production and post-production began as a teenager editing his own 8MM movies, predicted that once video editing went digital it would mark the end of the “big iron” post house model. As a result, he founded AlphaDogs in 2002 which specializes in finishing (color correction, VFX, graphic design, and audio mixing) for reality TV shows, indie features, and documentaries.
Current projects include: Lifetime’s Project Runway and All-Stars of the Runway, NBC Universo’s Jenni Rivera Presents: Chiquis 'n Control, and Discovery’s En Espanol Texas Trocas. Most recently, AlphaDogs wrapped up the independent feature film, Danger Diva, a cyberpunk musical thriller set to release next year.
AlphaDogs Demo Reel
AlphaDogs strength lies in its constant pursuit of working efficiently. “I have always been on top of current technologies as my main function is to run the business as economically as possible without sacrificing quality,” says Curren, who also leads the Editors’ Lounge which AlphaDogs provides to editors as an open community platform to discuss and learn about the latest trends and technologies.
Curren has been a Continuum Complete user since its first version inside Media Composer. As Continuum Complete has added new features and filters and expanded its supported host applications, AlphaDogs has kept up with the tech to help them work more quickly on image restoration fixes, beauty work, and more. The team now uses the latest version, BCC 10, inside Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro, and DaVinci Resolve.
The new PixelChooser/mocha tracking feature inside many BCC 10 effects has proven beneficial to AlphaDogs day-to-day tasks.
“We frequently blur faces, licence plates, addresses, etc. The addition of the mocha tracker into these effects is extremely helpful.”
“Also with higher resolutions, slight imperfections in skin now jump out at the viewer," continues Curren. "If you want to smooth out an actress's face with BCC Beauty Studio, you can now easily isolate and track those areas without affecting the rest of the scene, which is very helpful.”
In the Danger Diva before & after footage below, AlphaDogs used mocha’s tracking and BCC Gaussian Blur to remove artifacts. "There was a device hanging around the actress's neck that is integral to the story," Curren notes, "However the very fine lines in it caused a lot of chroma noise or wringing in the actual image. I was able to use a BCC Gaussian Blur to hide the artifacts, and then the built in mocha tracker made is super easy to track and just blur that device."
Danger Diva - Artifact removal with mocha tracking
In addition to using BCC Beauty Studio, Curren relies on other filters inside the Image Restoration category to make quick work out of typical reality show issues. “BCC automates steps creating huge time-savers. For example iris shifts are common with ‘run-and-gun’ shooting,” states Curren. “Without BCC I need to chase those iris shifts and hope they are linear so it’s only a few keyframes. If it’s a jerky iris adjustment that can take 10 minutes or more to smooth it out. BCC Flicker Fixer knocks it out in a few moments. BCC Pixel Fixer is handy as cameras with dead pixels will get a QC rejection for a show almost every time. And BCC Magic Sharp fixes footage with soft focus.”
As in most productions today, including reality TV and indies, AlphaDogs also works with a lot of green screen. “I am currently using BCC Chroma Key Studio extensively as it is much more powerful and flexible than Avid’s Spectramatte layer,” notes Curren.
Danger Diva - Green Screen Clean-up with Chromakey Studio
Curren turned to BCC not only for clean-ups, but to also add VFX to Danger Diva. The film had a few nighttime shots with cars coming straight toward the camera. The scene was shot at different times which led to lens flares from headlights in some shots but not others. “I was able to use BCC Lens Flare to reproduce the flares and match up the shots seamlessly. That’s an example of a filter I rarely use, but having it there when I needed it saved the scene,” comments Curren. “I use the presets a lot with plug-ins that I rarely use. Instead of having to figure everything out from scratch, a preset will usually get you close.”
Danger Diva - BCC Lens Flare addition
AlphaDogs goal is deliver “great post with a personal touch” while saving clients money. By continually investing in education both individually and as a team, and staying up-to-date with the latest tech in post, AlphaDogs accomplishes just that. “I love when clients come in for their final viewing and are blown away with how good their projects look,” ends Curren.