How the Disney+ Feature Film 'Safety' Scored Using DaVinci Resolve

It turns out that behind this inspiring story there is an inspiring story.

The new Disney + movie, Safety, is the Former Clemson University Football Security Story Ray McELrathBey (Jay Reeves), a young man facing a number of challenging circumstances whose dedication and perseverance help him triumph over repeated adversity. With the support of his teammates and the Clemson community, he's thriving in the field while also raising and caring for his 11-year-old brother Fahmarr (Thaddeus J. Mixson).

It's a heartwarming and powerful story, but it turns out that something pretty cool was going on behind the scenes in the post-production.

Safety used a Blackmagic Design workflow from main photography to publication. During production, the team used a The DAM (Digital Asset Management) system on set was built around its switches, recorders, routers and monitors and then processed and assessed with DaVinci Resolve Studio.

Why is that cool?

There is a free version of DaVinci Resolve, which means you or I can do the same thing. Even though this was a studio film, they still chose Resolve as their nonlinear editor because they felt it was the best way to get their story on screen and really save money on their budget on effects, locations and others expensive parts of production.

Where did the choice of Resolve come from?

When the team behind Safety started the film, they knew it had to be more efficient and less expensive both on set and in the mail. Executive Producer Doug Jones knew the practical answer was to improve the tech workflow on set, remove the unnecessary barriers between set and post, and allow editors to better interface with production.

Recognition: Black magic

Fortunately for the film, Jones had been one of the first to advocate fully digital filmmaking and always felt that technology was something to be applauded.

The DAM workflow for film was born out of an understanding that many of the tools used in broadcast work are equally compatible with the production of feature films. Jones began to see how DaVinci Resolve, when combined with on-set Blackmagic hardware, could provide an “always online” pipeline that could save not only time but money.

The money is shown on the screen and helps them find additional emotional settings and some of the huge crowd scenes. It worked out very well for director Reginald Hudlin. He, cinematographer Shane Hurlbut, and editor Terel Gibson explained how the pipeline can help make production more efficient.

"There are amazing things we've done in over a century of filmmaking that have proven themselves, and you just don't piss off that apple cart," Hurlbut said. “And then there are things that look like they're going to reverse the paradigm and somehow change the channel. When Doug Jones came to me with this digital asset management system and showed me how it completely unified the process from pre-production to production to post-production, I found it to be quite extraordinary. "

Having a fluid process creates dynamic teamwork between filming and post production. This was something that they all want to use for future projects.

The process they developed was simple and manageable by one operator on the set. As the cameras rolled, they automatically triggered Hyperdeck Studio mini recorders on the DAM cart to simultaneously record with the appropriate time code, and instantly created playback material.

The same video feed was rated live on set using DaVinci Resolve, so video village and remote subjects can only display colored footage instead of uncolored RAW images. Thus, the color reproduction was instantly available, with the daily newspapers available twice a day, both initially and remotely when uploaded to secure cloud services. Live images and recorded footage were instantly available throughout the set via ATEM 1 M / E Production Studio 4K switcher and Teranex Mini SDI Distribution 12G boxes. Audio was processed by the Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G.

Neither of these are expensive, and to hear that we're working together we can definitely emulate. The beauty of it is that this has helped them shoot and put scenes together and get them to the studio for approval, all at a fast pace.

Recognition: Black magic

Hurlbut said he appreciated the ability to ensure clear communication all the way to the studio.

"We were able to track all of the metadata coming from the cameras and insert it directly into our RAID system, send recordings all the way to Disney and keep everyone on the same level of communication, with daily newspapers on the same day that the studio felt very connected to the film," he said .

The comprehensive system not only gave creatives at all levels a sense of participation, but also the ability to interact directly, which Hurlbut found critical.

“The system allows us to give the studio decisions as they now see daily newspapers on the same day. Imagine we are shooting in Atlanta and doing all the daily papers for lunch and again for closing. The studio sees newspapers at four o'clock on the west coast just before they go home. You can talk to Reggie. You can talk to the other producers. They all get dialed. Everyone feels like they have a voice. And everyone feels absolutely involved in the creative process. "

I think we all like to hear this: Because of all of these things, not only did they put the daily papers together, they also worked on the whole feature. Editor Terel Gibson set up the editorial in the same building as production.

"We were able to stay very close to the camera, which was great."

Gibson edited the film entirely in DaVinci Resolve Studio.

The editorial process began on set when digital asset manager Michael Smollin synced the audio with the camera files, added a non-destructive color correction, and then created an editorial timeline in Resolve.

“The daily newspapers are delivered from the set and incorporated into the system more quickly than with a conventional workflow. Working with RAW daily newspapers meant no need for transcoding. We were essentially the laboratory. "

The daily newspapers were visible within six hours of the start of each day, and a full day of daily newspapers was available and was uploaded within 16 hours of the start of the day. The editorial was never more than six hours behind shooting, so the whole process reacts to changes and notes, even from the studio.

That meant they could schedule reshoots and include notes as quickly as possible so they didn't waste time.

With such a quick turnaround, the editorial could put together scenes from the day of shooting on arrival to the editorial, and sometimes edit scenes while they were still being shot. Rough cuts were often seen at the end of the day or the next morning.

"I've never felt as close to the camera as I did on this project," said Gibson.

So if it works for Disney + it might be a workflow to consider for your next project.

Have you ever worked with DaVinci Resolve as a Post-exclusive program? What tips and tricks would you offer the Safety team?

Let us know in the comments.


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