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CreativeCOW: Creating Community: A TV workflow that expands creativity and squeezes dollars

CreativeCow has a behind the scenes look at the production of Community

“The Russos were interested in a couple of workflow options, including a file-based workflow,” he says. “They knew enough about it that they knew there were certain speed efficiencies with this workflow. They also expressed an interest in setting up their own post operation. Not just cutting offline, preferably in HD, but also finishing the show short of color grading in their edit bay, so they could make last-minute changes and save some money.”

“They weren’t afraid of new technology,” adds Squyres. “In fact, they were a little aggressive, asking in one of our early meetings about using DSLRs.”

Although DSLRs have now been used on a variety of TV and film projects, this conversation took place well over two years ago when DSLR usage was truly an experiment. “This was before the cameras were capable of doing 24P and could only shoot 30 fps,” says Squyres. “That’s the primary reason I said, wait a minute, let’s see what else is out there.”

Joe Russo notes that they researched cameras for a year, from Canon to RED, examining each camera’s workflow and trying to figure out what was the best fit. Cinematographer James Hawkinson shot the show’s first 26 episodes, replaced by Gary Hatfield, who was the show’s camera operator. “As a producer working in this day and age and economy, everything is about cutting costs and the belt is tighter than it’s ever been,” he says. “If you want to maintain quality, you have to find out how to do things expeditiously because time equals money. It’s part of a whole philosophy in place: how can we work quickly and easily and still get a great product.”

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