• Viper FilmStream Goes to Iceland’s LazyTown

    DIGITAL Cinematography. March 2005

    Thomson Grass Valley’s Viper Film- Stream digital cinematography camera is being used to shoot LazyTown, a children’s program that airs on Nickelodeon Jr. and CBS. Mark Read of production company Hypercube (Boulder, Colo.) and Magnús Scheving of LazyTown Studios (Reykjavík, Iceland) began collaborating in late 2003 to create a children’s show that would blend puppets, live action and CG backgrounds—and to devise an all-digital, data-centric workflow to make it happen.

    LazyTown’s data-heavy production and post workflow takes advantage of a custom-built tapeless universal production environment that allows ideas and television episodes to evolve from concept to realization all under one roof, and the roof is located in Gardabær, Iceland. Everything from the script to the finished product is produced within the studio building, with offices and rooms for producers, makeup, image data processing, CGI, compositing, editing, color correction, finishing, music and sound composition, recording and editing.

    The pipeline is fed six days a week during production by Director of Photography Tomas Örn and his Grass Valley Viper FilmStream camera. The digital cinematography camera’s three 9.2-million- pixel CCDs capture images at 1920x1080 resolution. In FilmStream mode, Viper records unprocessed, uncompressed video—RGB 4:4:4 10-bit log data—to disk, allowing a completely tapeless production and post process.

    Greenscreen images captured by the Viper and its Zeiss DigiPrime lenses are sent to an Ultimatte HD system for keying and are stored on a 60TB SAN for universal mastering. To record the Viper’s 4:4:4 RGB output, Read employs DVS CineControl, Drastic Technologies WVW series digital disk recorder and Baytech CineRAM. The CG backgrounds are created by 12 artists using Alias Maya, Kaydara’s Online virtual set software and Apple’s Shake. Editing is performed on Avid Adrenaline. Online editing and color correction use Iridas SpeedGrade. Once each episode is finalized, DPX files are recorded to a Sony SRW-5000 RGB VTR.
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