It’s not every day that you get to watch a world record being broken, but that’s exactly what happened over the weekend at the X Games in Los Angeles. Two racecar drivers set a world record by defying gravity and simultaneously taking their cars through a six-story Hot Wheels double loop.
And as the action happened on the track, the Bandito Brothers were busy setting up shots and filming the action behind the scenes, editing the footage nearly in real time and finalizing their video at a mindboggling pace. This was the first time the new RED-edition HP Z820 Workstations were used in production, allowing the Bandito Brothers to quickly import high-resolution footage and edit on the fly.
We caught up with Jacob Rosenberg, Bandito Brothers’ chief technology officer and director, and Lance Holte, senior director of post production, to learn more about their use of the new HP Workstations and find out just what was going through their heads as it was all going down.
Check out the interview below, and make sure to watch the final video at the end of the post.
Jim Christensen: What kind of preparations go into filming something like this?
Jacob Rosenberg: Last year we had a similar deadline and turnaround for Mattel’s Live Hot Wheels event at the Indy 500, Fearless at the 500. So going into this year, it was clear that we needed numerous systems networked together and accelerated in order to edit and work with all of the raw r3d and digital files. The post team benchmarked import times for the digital files and built out the networked systems at Bandito so that once we got on site, everything would perform as expected.
JC: What equipment did you use to film and edit the jump?
Lance Holte: We primarily filmed with six RED Epic cameras, with additional footage coming from six Canon 5D MKII cameras. A number of GoPro cameras were attached to the cars to capture POVs, interior action and close angles of the cars during the stunt. More GoPros were placed at various points on the track to get tight views of the cars passing over or underneath. After the loop was completed, our team ingested the media using three HP Z820 RED Edition Workstations, connected with a 10-gigabit Ethernet network. Jeff Tober, our editor, cut on the primary Z820 in Adobe Premiere Pro CS6.
JR: We had a vision of capturing this captivating stunt in slow motion and the RED Cameras were the only ones that provided us with the ability to get what we wanted.
JC: How did the new RED edition Z820 Workstations help you edit footage almost in real-time?
LH: Since we were editing in Premiere Pro CS6 with the raw footage, we weren’t affected by import or transcode times as we would have been on offline editing platforms; Jeff could start editing immediately as soon as the footage was on his system. During the edit, we benefited from RED Rocket acceleration which gave Jeff stable playback with 4K footage. Nvidia cards coupled with Adobe’s Mercury Playback Engine complete the package for realtime editing with RED, Canon, and GoPro media.
JC: This was the first time the new RED edition Z820s were used in production. What has you most excited about these new workstations?
LH: I’m very excited about the dual RED readers on the RED Z820s that allow us to quickly copy media from RED Mags to the internal storage without having to deal with additional cable connections. It’s everything you need for RED workflow in one box. The RED Rocket acceleration--with more than one Rocket if necessary--is essential during the edit and export phase, and the RAM and CPU power in the Z820s should be enough to handle system-intensive RED workflows. And if we really want to amp up the power, there’s plenty of space in a Z820 to toss in a Tesla card or two.
JC: What was the biggest challenge while filming, editing and finalizing a video in just a matter of hours?
JR: The biggest challenge was getting all the material copied into the system as fast as possible and then giving the editor Jeff Tober and director Mouse McCoy the space and environment to creatively cut the piece that they were envisioning. There was a lot of pressure to get the footage in. Once that was done everyone took a step back and let the material talk to the creative people. A lot of times the pressure and atmosphere stays intense. The team did their job properly, so it was very intense for the jump and load in, then simply supportive for the rest of the time.