With a background in compositing, creative Bob Kertesz founded BlueScreen LLC (www.bluescreen.com) three decades ago. The company specializes in live, on-set blue/green screen compositing and multi-cam productions for high-profile gaming companies and studios such as EA, Disney, Warner Brothers and Viacom. A core component of BlueScreen’s business involves live blue/green screen compositing for press events prior to the launch of major films, and for this niche market, Kertesz has established a specialized setup comprising high-end cameras and Ultimatte hardware, with AJA’s (www.aja.com) Ki Pro Rack at the center of the workflow for recording and playback.
At each media event, Kertesz is given an average of seven hours to direct, live composite and record more than 60 journalist interviews. The studio typically provides him with an animated environment and characters from the film it is promoting. Kertesz then works his compositing magic to insert each reporter into the scene, so it appears as though he or she is interviewing the animated characters. Upon wrapping the day, each journalist leaves with a Compact Flash card containing the segment in his or her requested format.
Kertesz shoots each interview using a range of Sony and Panasonic three-chip broadcast style cameras, so that clients walk away with broadcast-ready video. Generally, he captures in 1080 59,94i, recording to the reporter’s requested format using the Ki Pro Rack – whether in DNxHD or ProRes 422 HQ.
“I love that the Ki Pro Rack makes it very easy to switch the recording format in less than a minute, and you can instantly generate files that will go directly into clients’ Avid, Final Cut or Adobe systems without a hitch, and that I can use the network connection to quickly copy the Ki Pro Rack files to a Compact Flash card in a USB writer,” says Kertesz.
Tasked with producing such a large volume of content under tight deadlines, Kertesz depends on Ki Pro Rack to not only record each segment, but also to playback animations provided by the studio, often more than 200 times per event. “Ki Pro Rack is a marvelous device for what I do; it cues up, records and plays easily, and I can transfer files to it over a network connection rather than copying them over,” he says. “That’s a huge bonus when I’m setting up and trying out various things with the animations to make the junket work.”
“I’ll be playing back clips a thousand times, and there’s never a hiccup,” he continues. “Everything has to work without fail, or those segments will never make it to air. There are no second chances or take twos, and Ki Pro Rack gives me one less thing to worry about when I’m out there on the battlefield; I can trust it to do what it is supposed to do.”
Kertesz believes that a vast majority of professional projects today are relatively straightforward but depend on reliable gear for successful production. “Today, what creatives really seem to want in the field is quality and dependability,” he stresses. “Having gear I can trust in the field is the single most important thing to me in production.”
When not working on press junkets, BlueScreen LLC also lends its composting and multi-cam production expertise to projects ranging in scope, size and market. When those projects require a quick edit, Kertesz often uses Adobe Premiere Pro with AJA Io XT or AJA KONA.