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From the Edit Suite

COW Blogs : walter biscardi's Blog : From the Edit Suite
I have a blog now, so I thought I would take you guys and gals into the Edit Suite and let y'all know what we're working on at Biscardi Creative Media.

2/28/2007, Cutting Episode 4 of the environment series, "Assignment Earth" and this episode focuses on the Mekong River in Thailand. Footage is stunning HD shot by Roger Herr of Atlanta who traveled to Thailand with Producer / Host Gary Strieker.

Roger and Gary took a Sony Z1 HDV camera with them because a lot of travel was via very small boat on the Mekong and if they were going to drop a camera in the river, they figured it was better to lose the Z1 instead of Roger's Panasonic HVX-900. While I'm not a fan of HDV, in the hands of a talented D.P. like Roger, it can look very very good.

I used the AJA Kona 3 to convert the footage to DVCPro 1080i/60 during capture and when we're done, the show will be mastered to DVCPro HD 1080i/60. So far I'm through with the 2nd cut of the show trimming 14 hours down to about 23:30. Need to get the show down to 22:30.

I also had to make a series of animated graphics detailing the location of the Mekong and Salween rivers. I used a combination of Google Earth Pro, Photoshop and After Effects to create them. I love using AE's 3D camera moves for these types of graphics.

In JungleLand, Aaron is working on a new set of stories for our "This American Land" series of environmental news reports. These stories are delivered monthly to PBS stations nationwide. Some of the stories are also repurposed for Assignment Earth on Yahoo! News. I'll get some more details tomorrow.

Posted by: walter biscardi on Feb 28, 2007 at 6:46:45 pmComments (8) after effects, editing, hd, apple, final cut pro


April 11, 2007
by walter biscardi

Wow, has it been two weeks since the last post?  Geez, time flies.

Well, I did have some revisions to make to the Good Eats animation for an upcoming episode about pretzels.  It's a cool little animation with some new looks to our style.  I did a lot more with lighting and shadows this time and AB keeps pushing us to create more of a collage type of look and I think we're getting real close.  

Aaron has been taking a lot of photographs of the shop and working on some other elements as we prepare to re-design and re-launch our website.  He's really doing a great job with that and I'm looking forward to revealing the new look in the near future.

Aaron is also doing the initial editing on China Wood for Assignment Earth.  This is the 5 episode of the environmental series and I have him starting the show while I get ready to attend NAB.  This is his first time cutting a full length show so I look forward to seeing what he comes up with when I get back to the shop.

More after NAB! 

March 28, 2007
by walter biscardi

Well, the Red Cross project went out on time yesterday with a very happy client. Producer Cindy Beckler worked with Cheryl Collins on Monday to do the primary story cutting and they wove together a beautiful nat sound piece on the issues facing families trying to rebuild in the Baton Rouge, LA area. I went in on Tuesday to do the sound mix and found there were some serious issues with the sound recording. Not sure if they used a lav or a boom, but it sounded like the microphones were pointed in the wrong direction for a few interviews. The nat sound was louder than the on camera folks! But I got through that, built the graphics package then we authored it to DVD and shipped it off to Washington, D.C. for the showing. One of the most important things about this session was we introduced Cindy to Wii Bowling! She had a ball and hopefully we have a new client for life!Laughing

Today I tentatively finished our latest Good Eats animation. I say tentatively because Alton has not reviewed it yet, but I'm hoping we got it right! I've gone ahead and rendered it out in full SD resolution just in case, but we'll make revisions if necessary tomorrow.

I also re-mastered and re-shipped Assignment Earth - Damming the Mekong to Post Works in New York today to be converted from 1080i/60 to 1080i/50 for delivery to AlJazerra International.  Last week we were informed by the network that the original title graphics created by Elevations here in Atlanta were going to be replaced by AJI designed title so Mekong was shipped with black holes where the titles would be inserted.  Yesterday AJI decided to leave the original graphics intact so I had to re-insert titles and re-master the shows. 

Aaron has started his first assignment for Good Eats as I have given him a Viewmaster segment to try out. He's been working non-stop on the Assignment Earth / This American Land projects with Gary Strieker I thought it was time to let him have a little fun. Aaron has been a true blessing to the shop with his work ethic and capabilities so it's great to let him experiment a bit. 

Speaking of Aaron, he shipped out the latest round of Assignment Earth environmental stories to NBC today. Look for those on your local NBC stations around the United States. I believe he shipped four stories in this latest feed.

thanks Richard!
by walter biscardi

Well thanks much Richard!  Hope you guys enjoy my little corner of the pasture!


re: Bog Posting
by Richard Clark
Hi Walter, good to see you up and running with a Blog, I love them and have been using mine for 2 years now to keep in touch with friends as I travel. When I started I remember saying to myself that I would Blog every day, however as you said, we get busy and time flies. The good news is that you are busy. I have been back in new Zealand for just over a year and for that year I was busy restoring a small run down vineyard which I sold at the end of 2006, now I am back to film editing, photography, shooting on a Z1 :), running my own Radio Show and restoring a very dramatic house, all in all life is very good. Much gratitude, keep up the good work and I hope to follow you and others who COW BLOG, cheers, Richard.

Richard Clark Film Editor & . . .
Film, Photography, Philosophy
New Zealand
March 23, 2007
by walter biscardi

Well, it was a fun day of chasing our tail around a non audio issue (see related blog entry,  That ate up almost 4 hours of my day between phone calls and emails to finally put the issue to rest.  Nothing like being totally disrupted when you're trying to be creative. 

I delivered the first Viewmaster segment to Good Eats today and am trying to get a full animation delivered by Wednesday.  The hardest part of all of these projects is finding the right artwork.  That seems to take up 75% of the time, both finding and prepping the work.  The actual design and animation go rather quickly once we get there!

The Red Cross project is right on schedule and I've got a good friend who's a Producer / Editor coming in to cut that one.  Cheryl Collins is someone I've worked with for years and also was the writer / producer of our short film, The Rough Cut.  A local transfer house, CineFilm, completed all the HDCAM to DVCPro HD transfers today and we're on track to cut that on Monday.

Spoke to a few companies about upgrading our storage possibly back to Fibre Channel.  SATA has been a mixed bag for us.  Our LaCie units are chugging right along for almost a year now without a hiccup.  Other brands we've tried are just not holding up to the day to day editing grind.  So while it's expensive, it's looking more and more like we're going to go with a shared SAN solution to bring two of our edit suites together with the capacity to bring in the third later. 


March 22, 2007
by walter biscardi

Wow! It's been 14 days since I updated this thread. Been busy, too busy!

I finally mastered Assignment Earth - Damming the Mekong on Tuesday and shipped it off to PostWorks in New York for conversions from 1080i/60 to 1080i/50 for final delivery to the network. Al Jazeera International broadcasts in 1080i/50, but we decided to produce the series in 1080i/60 for eventual U.S. distribution.

Tuesday I did a quick turnaround edit on an HD project for the Carter Center here in Atlanta. It was a 5 minute highlight of Jimmy Carter's recent trip to Africa in support of the health care programs the Carter Center oversees there. Some amazing footage, though some of it was hard to stomache on our 50" Plasma screen. Let's just say I really would rather never see a Guinea Worm again. Got word today that the video was well received and that's always a good thing.

Aaron has completed the re-design of the entire graphics package for This American Land for PBS. When Gary Strieker first brought the series to our shop, he brought a pre-built graphics package that we weren't all that thrilled with. So over the past two months, Aaron has been playing with a few looks and made a real nice use of 3D Stroke from Trapcode as a final touch to bring the entire look together. The new graphics package was included in the April feed of the series shipped off today. For somone who just graduated from Full Sail in December, Aaron is performing like a seasoned professional in his role with Biscardi Creative.

I'm currently working on some Viewmaster and Animation segments for the 11th season of Good Eats. The Viewmaster segments are actually pretty tough because instead of being able to animate an entire scene, I have to tell a story through a few still images as if you're looking at a Viewmaster. Can't tell you too much about them right now, but as soon as I can, I'll post some images and let you know what the shows are about.

Got a frantic call from a producer who has a Red Cross project on HDCAM that needs a quick turnaround next Monday. Problem is, we don't have HDCAM equipment right now. We're looking to purchase an HDCAM deck at NAB, but right now, we're still DVCPro HD and HDV in house, HDCAM stuff has to be rented. Of course all the HDCAM gear in Atlanta is on rental right now and we can't get any. So our only suggestion is to have a local transfer house dub all the footage to DVCPro HD for the edit. Hopefully that will work out and we'll turn around the edit on Monday.

March 8, 2007
by walter biscardi

Big Panic Day here at the shop as we had 8 new masters of Good Eats returned to our shop with massive dropout issues. We reviewed all 8 masters here in our shop and it turns out that our Panasonic AJ-HD1400 very likely has a bad record head. When playing the masters back in our particular machine, video / audio playback is perfect. Take those tapes to any other DVCPro HD machine and the errors show up big time. So our 1400 is on its way back to Panasonic, our VAR is delivering a new machine to use on Saturday and I'll work through the weekend to master all 14 Good Eats Masters and get them off by Monday. This will be our third attempt to lay off the shows with since we sold our trusty 1200A. Really starting to miss that old machine.

I finished color correcting Assignment Earth - Damming the Mekong so now we're just waiting on the audio mix and a fully functional 1400 so we can master that show off.

Aaron continues to work on This American Land stories for the April feed of that series.

Walter Biscardi, Jr. Creative Genius Biscardi Creative Media

March 7, 2007
by walter biscardi
Well I let a week slide by, so here's an update.

Due to the issues with the AJ-HD1400 deck (see related blog entry) I'm having to re-master all 14 of the Good Eats shows to tape. It's really not that bad as I enjoy watching these episodes.

We got final approval from Al Jazeera International on "Assignment Earth - Damming the Mekong." Will start color correcting today and will hopefully have that done either today or first thing in the morning. The audio OMF was sent off to Patrick Belden for the full sound mix. Pat also does all the audio and original music for "Good Eats."

Over the past three days we've made timecode window burns of about 20 hours of material shot by the Carter Center during the Nicaragua Elections. Jimmy Carter was part of a team overseeing the elections with Roger Herr and Rhett Turner documenting the event in high definition. The windows burns were done for Jonathan Demme for a new project he's working on. We'll also make the HD clones of all requested footage.

Yesterday Aaron pulled about 10 minutes of 'pollinators' footage for the Martha Stewart show. You know, bees, hummingbirds and stuff like that who pollinate flowers. This was done at the request of the Environment News Trust for a guest appearing on the show in two weeks.

Professional Video Editor, Producer, Creative Director, Director since 1990.

Credits include multiple Emmys, Tellys, Aurora and CableAce Awards.

Creative Director for Georgia-Pacific and GP Studios, Atlanta. Former Owner / Operator of Biscardi Creative Media. The show you knew us best for was "Good Eats" on the Food Network. I developed the HD Post workflow and we also created all the animations for the series.

Favorite pastime is cooking with pizza on the grill one of my specialties. Each Christmas Eve we serve the Feast of the Seven Fishes, a traditional Italian seafood meal with approx. 30 items on the menu.

If I wasn't in video production I would either own a restaurant or a movie theater.



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