Trailblazer Post

BORIS FX: Project Story

Conventional wisdom tells us that successful post-houses are in the media hubs of NYC or Los Angeles. As their name suggests, Trailblazer Studios breaks that mold. Trailblazer is a full service production, post, and sound facility located in Raleigh, North Carolina. Their passion is to tell great stories, whether that be in film, TV, commercials or web videos.

Trailblazer works on a variety of content. Recently, that’s included HBO’s Private Violence, DIY’s Salvage Dawgs, PBS’s A Chef’s Life and Twice Born: Stories from the Special Delivery Unit (with Markay Media), TLC’s Sister Wives and many regional and national commercial campaigns.

Alan

We recently talked with Alan Maynard, an editor at Trailblazer about his workflow and how he uses Boris FX. Some kids grow up wanting to become doctors or astronauts, but Alan, a born and bred North Carolinian, always knew he wanted to wanted to work in post-production. He’s living the dream – focussing on online/finishing/color work, as well as creative offline editing for short form projects, while also pursuing a graduate degree in technology and communication from the School of Media and Journalism at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Alan uses BCC plug-ins extensively inside Avid Media Composer to assist in fixing issues with stabilization, flicker fixing, noise reduction, blurring, masking, sharpening and more:

“If there’s something in a shot that might be distracting the audience, we want to help reduce that distraction so that the story shines through. BCC is used as a finishing toolbox of useful, practical plug-ins that improve the quality of our completed projects.”

“I use the Image Restoration plug-ins a ton! We use it to combat trouble shots so they aren’t distracting enough to be considered sub-professional. I regularly rely on the Flicker Fixer, sometimes to fix actual flicker from odd lighting and time lapses, sometimes to help reduce unwanted iris changes mid-scene. I like BCC Pan and Zoom when I need to work with photos because it retains such a high-quality image. Magic Sharp is new to me, but I like what I see and I am certain we will use Lens Correction to counter any GoPro we come across.”

Alan appreciates the well-designed BBC presets, but as a self-described “type of person who likes to tweak the defaults” he really likes the ability to customize settings. He says, “we had a project recently that utilized a very cool lens on one of the cameras. Unfortunately, the hero lens produced a slight distinct jitter when shooting handheld. I tailored a BCC Optical Stabilizer preset to handle the exact shake produced by the camera. I saved the plug-in to a bin and simply dropped the plug-in on any shot that needed it and analyzed the clip. Worked like a charm!”

Private Violence had soft shots that were improved by BCC Unsharp Mask.

A Chef’s Life had a troublesome lens that created a lot of shake and was fixed by BCC Optical Stabilizer.

Salvage Dawgs has many night shots that are improved by BCC Noise Reduction.I use Noise Reduction frequently to reduce the offensiveness of noisy night shots.

Sister Wives had a reoccurring dead pixel that actually made us fail QC once.That didn’t happen anymore after using BCC Pixel Fixer.

sister-wives

One of Alan’s favorite BCC tools is Film Process, he likes it because “it is a great jump off point for more creative color grading options. If I have a highly stylized project, I like to put a basic correction on a shot, and then shop through the long list of presets in the Film Process plug-in to find inspiration or a starting point for a more complicated correction.”

“It is wildly rewarding to help fix a problem shot for a client, especially when they didn’t even know that something could be fixed. The same goes for color correction as well. It feels great to be able to match absolutely disparate shots. The best work often goes unnoticed…and that’s a good thing!”