DPC II shines all over Europe

Since 2009, Digital Production Challenge II (aka DPC II) has been visiting all regions of Europe, holding its annual workshop in 8 different countries (Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Norway, France, Poland, Lithuania, Portugal). Up to now, it gathered close to 250 participants over its first nine editions. Professionals attending are native from 30 European countries and are involved in any stage of production, wearing such hats as producers, filmmakers, production managers, post production managers and supervisors, cinematographers, editors, film funders, festival programmers and co-production platform organisers.

2017 Edition Documentation

General Introduction & Summary

Thirty top professionals from 11 countries were in Amsterdam November 28 – December 1 to get to grips with production workflow, and to understand how excellent planning can save a lot of time – and a lot of money. The production community was represented at DPC II by editors, DoPs, production managers and directors, VFX and DIT directors, campaign strategists, sales supremos and producers alike.

DoP Annegret Sachse (Germany) summed up why she was there: “On lower budget projects without post-production supervisors, the DoP is often the only one who brings any reasonable amount of post-production knowhow to the table, and detailed knowledge is necessary in order to be able to advise the production properly and secure our control over the final image output.”

The 3.5 day event underlined the principles of post- and workflow, from the capture/rendering of HDR to pre-visualisation, shooting in 2K/4K, aspect ratios, delivery destinations, choice of lens and ACES architecture, through to a masterclass on digital cinema distribution given by Tommaso Vergallo using a set of colour balloons to illustrate new delivery possibilities.

Four case studies put the business of production and post- into sharp focus. Gary Beach and Paul Miller highlighted the role of VFX both in creating effects and solving defects, while Filmmore’s Miga Bär, together with Sylvain Lagrillère of Memento Films International, made the minefield of deliverables seem less hazardous. Two further case studies embraced the world of documentary. François Dupuy of Noir Lumière explained the complex workflow on Barbet Schroeder’s acclaimed 2017 doc The Venerable W (Cannes Special Screening) while marketing guru Ben Kempas illustrated ten ways to generate wider audiences for campaigning documentaries. Production manager Kyveli Short joined him to discuss her ground-breaking campaign on the ecologically-themed Greek doc Dolphin Man.

As in past editions of DPC II, core to proceedings was a detailed assessment of future workflow management on seven projects (three documentaries) given by experts Martin Hagemann (producer, Zero Fiction), Florian Rettich (digital workflow expert, ARRI), Philippe Ros (cinematographer, digital imaging supervisor), Tommaso Vergallo (post-production expert, CEO Noir Lumiere), François Dupuy (post-production manager, CTO Noir Lumière) and Paul Miller (producer, Escape Pictures and DPC II Head of Studies).

Delegates commented on the effectiveness of the 2017 event.

“I don’t expect that producers actually understand every technical issue which is discussed here, but they get to learn the new ways that camera people think, how post production supervisors think, how special effects people think now in this new world with its new possibilities, and on the other hand how it changes the way we produce and distribute films. We analysed all of that this year in Amsterdam,” commented producer Hagemann.

UK producer Klaudia Gainza agreed: “The more you know as a producer, through the workflows, from the beginning of the process to the very end, and even down to the granual information, will make your job much easier, and you will understand where frustrations along the way come from – and how to avoid them. It is an incredible advantage to know about how things are made and built, and all the [associated] technical details.”

Miga Bär (DI Supervisor at post-production/VFX at Amsterdam-based Filmmore) argues that all sectors should continue to be fully represented at future editions of DPC II. “Because having an interest in post will make you think about things that will happen down the line, how it can impact stuff that you can think about even years ahead.”

For Italian director Giordano Bianchi, it was important to assess and re-evaluate once again the wider production process. “Knowing about post-production is also important to start the project in the right way and to save a lot of time and money. There is less compromise if you start your project in the right way. If you have a small company you have to know a lot of technical things, post-production, distribution and so on, so you must understand as much as you can, and even more if you have a small budget. This is what makes the difference between just a video maker and someone really working in the production world.”

Participants’ Projects

Case Studies

Digital Distribution

Technical Presentations

Photo Gallery

2015 Edition Documentation

General Introduction & Summary

22 participants from 7 European countries – among them not only producers (10 of them) and post-production managers (4) but also for the first-time directors (4), film editors (2) and cinematographers (2) – gathered in Vilnius for Digital Production Challenge II 2015. They were met by 11 European experts/tutors (6 different nationalities), ranging from DoPs to producers, who not only offered some precise technical presentations but also generously shared their own professional experience and discussed projects brought by the participants in order to compare and analyse some workflow principles in “real life”.

Among the material which was given to the participants prior to the workshop were a glossary / dictionary on digital filmmaking and distribution and a film project questionnaire in order to assess their projects. Even the participants without project had to read these documents carefully in order to provide everybody with a common technical language. It also helped the tutors and experts to identify in advance the specific needs and interests of the participants.

Before sharing experiences, opinions and visions on the future of the European film industry, the first two days of the workshop has combined different types of sessions especially designed to help professionals to get a better grasp of this complex digital environment and to acquire that shared language thus granting them full access to the decision chain.

The workshop opened in a very practical way giving the floor to 7 participants to pitch their projects in pre-production stage (or advanced development phase), expose the main challenges they face regarding the workflow, thus offering concrete material to the whole delegation to work on. The projects were then discussed in further details in group sessions, with final conclusions and recommendations given the last day.

Between the projects’ discussions on Days 1 and 3, there has been a series of sessions alternating:

  • technical focuses by the French DoP Philippe Ros and the German Digital Image Supervisor Florian Rettich on the workflow skeleton or Decision Tree (including key words such as Compression, Colour Depth and Colour Sampling, CODEC, Bayer/Debayer, Sensors, Dematerialization, Bitrate, LUTs) and the most used digital cameras. Complementary expertise was regularly given by the main post-production provider participating, Tommaso Vergallo (France).
  • case studies presentations on films (from very low, web episodes to 5m€ budget films) recently completed, concretely illustrating key principles and challenges production and post-production professionals often have to deal with such as home- made lab (what is at risks?), delivery requirements, archiving etc.
  • presentations and panel discussions on key topics such as digital – a disruptive innovation, digital distribution and archiving today, co-productions in the Baltic States and decision making in the new workflows.

Throughout the workshop, tutors stressed the importance of communication which triggered interactive discussions on the evolution of the roles played by the various key players of the chain, from producers, DoPs, post-production managers and providers to distributors and the appearance of new, key positions.

Digital technology is demanding since it keeps on changing (lack of standards) and quickly. Not a single professional can be a real Expert knowing not only all the specificities of existing cameras & other digital equipment, having tested all of them but also controlling 100% of the possible problems and challenges. We all learn by doing. Teamwork and sharing experiences have never so important than today!

Participants’ Projects

Case Studies

Digital Distribution

Technical Presentations

Workflows of Participants’ Projects

Photo Gallery

2014 Edition Documentation

General Introduction & Summary

18 participants from 8 European countries – among them 10 producers, 3 line-producers, 4 post-production managers and one film professional event representative – gathered in Berlin for Digital Production Challenge 2014. They were met by 10 European experts/tutors, ranging from DoPs to VoD distributors, who not only offered some precise technical presentations but also generously shared their own professional experience and discussed projects brought by the participants in order to compare and analyse some workflow principles in “real life”.

Among the material which was given to the participants prior to the workshop were a glossary / dictionary on digital filmmaking and distribution and a film project questionnaire in order to assess their projects. Even the participants without project had to read these documents carefully in order to provide everybody with a common technical language. It also helped the tutors and experts to identify in advance the specific needs and interests of the participants.

Summary
The chairman of the workshop, the German producer Martin Hagemann (Zero Fiction Film Gmbh) opened the event stressing the main differences and challenges for film professionals today vs. 5 years ago when the Digital Production Challenge programme was launched.

The film industry is now realising that the changes brought by the digital technology are huge ones: some jobs have disappeared, new ones are appearing. More important, those changes are not just a technical revolution interfering with our way of making and distributing films but they are a “disruptive innovation”, destroying the business field and business models (ex. Internet with the arrival of disruptive players: the flat rate channels).

This is the reason why, even if the DPC workshop is focused on technical challenges, it will also trigger larger discussions especially on the future for the films we produce in Europe and for us, professionals. It has become clear that the whole market of film business is over, the old system has to be quickly replaced by new business models, but which ones? And is there still a future for independent professionals (focus on producers)?

Before sharing experiences, opinions and visions on the future of the European film industry, the first two days of the workshop has combined different types of sessions especially designed to help professionals to get a better grasp of this complex environment and to acquire that shared language thus granting them full access to the decision chain.

The workshop opened in a very practical way giving the floor to 4 participants to pitch their projects in pre-production stage (or advanced development phase), expose the main challenges they face regarding the workflow, thus offering concrete material to the whole delegation to work on. The projects were then discussed in further details in group sessions, with final conclusions and recommendations given the last day.

Between the projects’ discussions on Days 1 and 3, there has been a series of sessions alternating:

  • technical focuses by the French DoP Philippe Ros and the German Digital Image Supervisor Florian Rettich on the workflow skeleton or Decision Tree (including key words such as Compression, Colour Depth and Colour Sampling, CODEC, Bayer/Debayer, Sensors, Dematerialization, Bitrate, LUTs) and the most used digital cameras. Complementary expertise was regularly given by the two main post-production providers participating, Tommaso Vergallo (France) and Ruedi Schick / Swiss effects Film GmbH.
  • case studies presentations on films (from low to high budget) recently completed, concretely illustrating key principles and challenges production and post-production professionals often have to deal with,
  • presentations and panel discussions on key topics such as digital distribution and archiving today and in a near future.

Throughout the workshop, tutors stressed the importance of communication which triggered interactive discussions on the evolution of the roles played by the various key players of the chain, from producers, DoPs, post-production managers and providers to distributors and the appearance of new, key positions.

Digital technology is demanding since it keeps on changing (lack of standards) and quickly. Not a single professional can be a real Expert knowing not only all the specificities of existing cameras & other digital equipment, having tested all of them but also controlling 100% of the possible problems and challenges. We all learn by doing. Teamwork and sharing experiences have never so important than today!

Participants’ Projects

Case Studies

Digital Distribution

Technical Presentations

Workflows of Participants’ Projects

Photo Gallery

2013 Edition Documentation

General Introduction & Summary

25 participants from 14 European countries — among them 8 producers, 4 line producers, 5 production managers and 7 post-production managers — gathered in Warsaw for Digital Production Challenge 2013. They were met by 11 European experts/tutors, ranging from DoPs to distributors, who not only offered some precise technical presentations but also generously shared their own professional experience and discussed projects brought by the participants in order to compare and analyse some workflow principles in “real life”.

Among the material which was given to the participants prior to the workshop were a glossary / dictionary on digital filmmaking and distribution and a film project questionnaire in order to assess their project. Even the participants without project had to read these documents carefully in order to provide everybody with a common technical language. It also helped the tutors and experts to identify in advance the specific needs and interests of the participants.

Summary
Although digital technology is now part of everyday life, a plethora of workflows on one hand and a lack of lasting standards/supports on the other make it more complicated for producers to fulfill the demands of their partners (co-producers and distributors).*

In the middle of this chaos, producers are, in addition, very dependent upon the limited digital equipment proposed by postproduction providers, who themselves have limited investment capacities given the flood of expensive and often short-lived formats.

None of all this comes cheap!

The bottom line is that, in order to resolve these problems, producers must create a reliable relationship with partners who understand their needs and seek adequate solutions to them. To achieve this, they must make themselves understood, meaning they must become familiar with the terms of a shared language, rendering communication trustworthy.

As the German producer Martin Hagemann, the chairman of the DPC Workshop, stressed it in its welcoming speech, DPC intends to help producers to get a better grasp of this complex environment and to acquire that shared language, thus granting them full access to the decision chain.
The workshop opened in a very practical way giving the floor to 4 participants to pitch their projects in pre-production stage (or advanced development phase), expose the main challenges they face regarding the workflow, thus offering concrete material to the whole delegation to work on. The projects were then discussed in further details in group sessions, with final conclusions and recommendations given the last day.

Between the projects’ discussions on Days 1 and 3, there has been a series of sessions alternating:

  • technical focuses by the French DoP Philippe Ros on the workflow skeleton or Decision Tree (including key words such as Compression, Colour Depth and Colour Sampling, CODEC, Bayer/Debayer, Sensors, Dematerialization, Bitrate, LUTs) and the most used digital cameras. Complementary expertise was regularly given by the two main post-production providers participating, Tommaso Vergallo / Digimage Cinéma and Ruedi Schick / Swiss effects Film GmbH, as well as by the Polish post-production supervisor Filip Kovcin.
  • case studies presentations on films (from low to high budget) recently completed, concretely illustrating key principles and challenges production and post-production professionals often have to deal with,
  • presentations and panel discussions on decision making in the new workflows, digitisation and distribution/exhibition with a special focus on the Polish market thus involving local professionals such as the DoP Karina Kleszczewska, the distributor Marek Poznerowicz (Spectator) and Renata Pawlowska-Pyra, the film digitisation coordinator at the Polish Film Institute.

Throughout the workshop, tutors stressed the importance of communication and teamwork – which triggered interactive discussions on the evolution of the roles played by the various key players of the chain, from producers, post-production providers to distributors and exhibitors, and on the future of independent cinema.

Digital technology is demanding since it keeps on changing (lack of standards) and quickly. But the new opportunities this phenomenon brings along make it worth being curious and more familiar with it!

* A context that also increases the risk that the major manufacturers who control the entire chain, from cameras to distribution supports, will impose their technical standards, which are often a hindrance to creativity.

Participants’ Projects

Case Studies

Digital Distribution

Technical Presentations

Workflows of Participants’ Projects

Distribution: DigiPoland

Photo Gallery

2012 Edition Documentation

General Introduction & Summary

31 participants from 18 European countries — among them 19 producers, 3 line producers, 3 production managers and 6 postproduction managers — gathered in Paris for Digital Production Challenge 2012. They were met by 10 European experts/tutors, ranging from DoPs to distributors, who not only offered some precise technical presentations but also generously shared their own professional experience and discussed projects brought by the participants in order to compare and analyse some workflow principles in “real life”.

Among the material which was given to the participants prior to the workshop were a glossary / dictionary on digital filmmaking and distribution and a film project questionnaire in order to assess their project. Even the participants without project had to read these documents carefully in order to provide everybody with a common technical language. It also helped the tutors and experts to identify in advance the specific needs and interests of the participants.

Summary
Although digital technology is now part of everyday life, a plethora of workflows on one hand and a lack of lasting standards/supports on the other make it more complicated for producers to fulfill the demands of their partners (co-producers and distributors).*

In the middle of this chaos, producers are, in addition, very dependent upon the limited digital equipment proposed by postproduction providers, who themselves have limited investment capacities given the flood of expensive and often short-lived formats.

None of all this comes cheap!

The bottom line is that, in order to resolve these problems, producers must create a reliable relationship with partners who understand their needs and seek adequate solutions to them. To achieve this, they must make themselves understood, meaning they must become familiar with the terms of a shared language, rendering communication trustworthy.

As the German producer Martin Hagemann, the chairman of the DPC Workshop, stressed it in its welcoming speech, DPC intends to help producers to get a better grasp of this complex environment and to acquire that shared language, thus granting them full access to the decision chain.

The workshop opened in a very practical way giving the floor to 10 participants to pitch their projects in pre-production stage (or advanced development phase), expose the main challenges they face regarding the workflow, thus offering concrete working material to the whole delegation. The projects were then discussed in further details in group sessions, with final conclusions and recommendations given the last day.

Between the projects’ discussions on Days 1 and 3, there has been a series of sessions alternating:

  • technical focuses by the French DoP Philippe Ros on the workflow skeleton or Decision Tree (including key words such as Compression, Colour Depth and Colour Sampling, Bayer/Debayer, Sensors, Dematerialization, Bitrate, LUTs) and the most used digital cameras. Complementary expertise was regularly given by the two main post-production providers participating, Tommaso Vergallo / Digimage Cinéma and Ruedi Schick / Swiss effects Film GmbH, as well as by some other professionals with a cameraman, DIT or post-production supervisor hat.
  • case studies presentations on films (from low to high budget) recently completed, concretely illustrating key principles and challenges production and post-production professionals often have to deal with,
  • presentations and panel discussions on decision making in the new workflows, digitisation and distribution/exhibition and the archiving issue.

Throughout the workshop, tutors stressed the importance of communication and teamwork – which triggered interactive discussions on the evolution of the roles played by the various key players of the chain, from producers, post-production providers to distributors and exhibitors, and on the future of independent cinema.

Digital technology is demanding since it keeps on changing (lack of standards) and quickly. But the new opportunities this phenomenon brings along make it worth being curious and more familiar with it!

* A context that also increases the risk that the major manufacturers who control the entire chain, from cameras to distribution supports, will impose their technical standards, which are often a hindrance to creativity.

Participants’ Projects

Case Studies

Digital Distribution

Technical Presentations

Workflows of Participants’ Projects

Photo Gallery

2011 Edition Documentation

General Introduction & Summary

37 participants from 16 European countries — among them 21 producers, 8 line producers, and 8 postproduction managers — gathered in Oslo for Digital Production Challenge 2011. They were met by 9 experts/tutors who provided an overview on the different digital production workflows and on developments in digital distribution and 3D.

Among the material which was given to the participants prior to the workshop were a glossary / dictionary on digital filmmaking and distribution and a film project questionnaire in order to assess their project. Even the participants without project had to read these documents carefully in order to provide everybody with a common technical language. It also helped the tutors and experts to identify in advance the specific needs and interests of the participants.

Summary
During the last 20 years, film production has seen a rapid process of digitization starting with digital editing in the 1990‘s. We now live in a digital world almost without standards. Only the part from the digital master to digital projection has been defined in the DCI recommendations. Regarding distribution channels, the Internet distribution has gained importance over DVD-HD.

After an introduction by the chairman of the DPC Workshop, the German producer Martin Hagemann, on the structure and the objectives of this training activity, the participants’ presentation and the pitching session opened the « festivities » in order to have a better idea of who is who and who develops what. Nine participants introduced a project in pre-production stage (or advanced development phase), thus offering concrete working material to the whole delegation. The projects will be discussed more specifically during two other plenary sessions on day 2 and day 3 (conclusions).

Following the project pitching session, Philippe Ros gave an introduction to the Workflow skeleton or decision tree, thus stressing some Key Words and basic principles such as : in order to streamline their workflows, producers have to start thinking from the end of the production chain: Where do I want to go? What is the distribution medium and projection or viewing device? In that process, a producer always has to obtain a balance between quality on the one hand and the cost of production, post-production and exhibition on the other hand.

Throughout the workshop, Philippe Ros gave insight into crucial elements of the digital film production and post-production processes via several technical focuses and with the complementary expertise of the two post-production providers participating, Tommaso Vergallo / Digimage Cinéma and Ruedi Schick / Swiss effects Film GmbH.

The first day ended with an introduction on 3D : origins, technical and aesthetic issues and evolution.

Most part of the second day was dedicated to case studies. Two of them investigated typical pitfalls encountered in the production of feature films in two different budget ranges. Aspects ranging from shooting the film to delivering the copies, via data management, special effects, transfers, etc. and their specific challenges were covered. The third one consisted in a focus on producing a 3D film. Each of the case studies was presented by its postproduction provider, assisted by the producer of the film.

The third part of the workshop dealt with recent developments in digital cinema and digital distribution. Tommaso Vergallo gave an overview on digital cinema and the situation for digital distribution in France. Åge Hoffart (SF Norge), gave a comparative expose for Norway, the forefront country in this field. An interactive discussion followed on the evolution of the roles played by the various key players of the chain, from producers, post-production providers to distributors and exhibitors, and on the future of independent cinema.

Participants’ Projects

Case Studies

Digital Distribution

Technical Presentations

Workflows of Participants’ Projects

Photo Gallery

2010 Edition Documentation

General Introduction & Summary

39 participants from 18 European countries — among them 21 producers, 7 production managers and line producers, 11 postproduction managers — and 2 observers gathered in Potsdam for Digital Production Challenge 2010. They were met by 7 experts and the general moderator who provided an overview on the different digital production workflows and on developments in digital distribution and 3D.

Among the material which was given to the participants prior to the workshop were a glossary / dictionary on digital filmmaking and distribution and a film project questionnaire in order to assess their project. Therefore, everybody started with a common vocabulary. Based on the results of the questionnaires, the experts gained an idea of the specific interests of the participants.

Summary
During the last 20 years, film production has seen a rapid process of digitalization starting with digital editing in the 1990ies. Right now, we live in a digital world almost without standards. Only the part from the digital master to digital projection has been defined in the DCI recommendations. Regarding distribution channels, the internet distribution has gained importance over DVD-HD.

The workshop started with a brief introduction to a workflow skeleton or decision tree by Philippe Ros: In order to streamline their workflows, producers have to start thinking from the end of the production chain: Where do I want to go? What is the distribution medium and projection or viewing device? In that process, a producer always has to obtain a balance between quality on the one hand and the cost of production, post-production and exhibition on the other hand.

Throughout the workshop, Philippe Ros gave insight into crucial elements of the digital film production process in several technical focus subjects.

Three case studies investigated typical pitfalls encountered in the production of feature films in three different budget ranges. Aspects ranging from shooting the film to delivering the copies, via data management, special effects, transfers, etc. and their specific challenges were covered. Each of the case studies was presented by its postproduction provider who was assisted by the producer or director of cinematography.

The beginning of the second day of the workshop was dedicated to the participants’ projects. Nine projects were presented and reviewed by the experts.

In the afternoon Wolf Bosse discussed technical and aesthetic issues of 3D-film-production. He also showed a 3D-trailer of Wim Wenders film on Pina Bausch’s dance theatre.

The third day of the workshop dealt with recent developments in digital cinema and digital distribution. Tommaso Vergallo gave an overview on digital cinema and the special situation for digital distribution in France. Johannes Klingsporn, the director of German Filmverleiherverband joined Tommaso Vergallo and Martin Hagemann for a discussion on digital distribution in Germany and France. The panel questioned whether a direct relationship between producers and cinemas could be established. That scenario would see the technical part of the distribution being handled directly between the post production labs and the cinemas while the role of the distributor would change into a film marketing agency.

Participants’ Projects

Case Studies

Digital Distribution

Technical Presentations

Photo Gallery

2009 Edition Documentation

General Introduction & Summary

This workshop provided the 27 participants — all producers, no technicians! — and the 12 experts/supervisors with an overview of the digital production workflows and the specific challenges of each aspect of these workflows. It investigated each step from shooting the film to delivering the copies, via data management, special effects, transfers, etc.

The workshop started with a brief introduction to basic techniques, thus providing a common vocabulary to all participants. A focus on other crucial technical elements was developed within brief segments throughout the workshop.

The spine of the workshop was composed of 6 case studies comparing the most reliable solutions now available in Europe from the high to the low end of the range.

The workshop concluded with 8 reviews of participants’ projects.

Summary of Martin Hagemann’s speech as general moderator of the workshop
There is not yet a standard for the digital shooting of films. There is only a standard for the film screening and this is currently 2K, sometimes 4K.

The future of filmmaking will be digital and less shooting on film material.

According to the digitalization of the movie theaters it will be more and more difficult to shoot on film material in the future. Film labs are making their living of selling a lot of prints for theatrical releases!

The importance of the DoPs and of the postproduction labs will increase.

The preparation will become more important than ever, the postproduction lab has to be involved from the beginning, the “control tower” (mostly the postproduction provider) has to be established.

The script writing remains the same, at least more or less: there will be changes in writing the shooting script and bigger ones in writing for the production of a 3D movie.

The biggest changes will be in the film market: e.g. more flexibility, more transparency, new distribution systems, much better and different screening qualities, some new jobs.

Participants’ Projects

Case Studies

Technical Presentations

Photo Gallery