THE DIGITAL INTERMEDIATE - A GUIDE
On starting this project way back in 2006, a web based guide to the Digital Intermediate, my ideas of what I thought would be an interesting and a useful guide to DI soon became downtrodden with the technicalities of how the Digital Intermediate works. Tackling this vast subject from a purely technical viewpoint would be extremely dull and uninspiring; whereas the creative work on films produced is nothing less than visually spectacular.
Digital FX are now synonymous with film and storytelling and we have grown accustomed to epic blockbusters with computer characters and digital enhancement. However, a certain depth will need to be covered, so if I miss or gloss over certain areas, it probably highlights how dull it actually is, in my humble opinion anyway – plus there are probably websites dedicated to an individual section I may have neglected. I also would like anyone visiting at random to glean enough information to understand, or at least have a good idea of what the Digital Intermediate is and to have a fair idea what that new credit is all about at the end of a release.
Throughout the nineties the full impact of digital VFX became apparent – Steven Spielberg realised the terror of living, breathing dinosaurs in Jurassic Park. Then James Cameron conjured ‘the ship of dreams’ into the consciousness of billions with Titanic. It does seem possible ... if we dream it, we can begin to realise it. The noughties saw VFX truly come of age seamlessly becoming part of the narrative. The teenies seem to have thrust 3D to the forefront becoming a staple part of our cinematic experience. Hopefully the imagery will be pushed harder with full 4K and high frame rate technology becoming the standard.
Through this technological march, manufacturers and pioneers developed equipment to bring us this spectacle allowing film to be scanned into a digital format. This allowed us to manipulate it within a computer adding FX, print it back to film and seamlessly reinsert the ‘enhanced’ sequence back into the final edit. Reaching further than digital FX, the digital intermediate process was born as these technologies progressed and the ideology grew. Creative possibilities which previously were only seen in advertising and the television industry, such as creative colour timing, is now truly embraced by the cinematographer to enhance the look or style of their project. Pioneered by smaller budget feature film makers, the Digital Intermediate or DI has become yet another tool for the film maker’s repertoire.
Digital capture and digital presentation make this process even simpler, as the footage can be directly imported to the project. The scanning and final "film out" process' are slowly changing but the process is still a massive part used for restoration and the final optical printing for other markets, where digital projection is not yet the norm.
Within this website I will look at the ideas and workflow encapsulating the Digital Lab, moving away from the chemical alternative. Not just because it offers a more flexible approach but mainly because it is in tune with the approach in which most directors cut their teeth, entering the industry.
I am sure I will have missed something, be it technical, which would not be my intention but I may have overlooked or written something incorrectly - after all I am only human and doing this for fun - or I may have quoted something about a manufacturer that is simply incorrect or since changed, or obviously a link on this website will at some point fail to work because it will have been moved or deleted.
The point is I'm not infallible, if only. If you wish to make contact and discuss a project or idea I can possibly help with, then feel free to drop me a line. I'm more than happy to help in any way, shape or form. Click on author and follow the links from there, I look forward to hearing from you.