Viewers Around the World Watched 14 Productions Created withDaVinci Resolve Studio, Fairlight Desktop Console and Pocket Cinema Camera 4K
Blackmagic Design today announced that the Tony Award® winning Alley Theatre used DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, grading, visual effects (VFX) and audio post production software for end to end post production in order to deliver live performances as digital presentations, reaching audiences around the world.
Based in Houston, TX, the Alley Theatre is a nationally recognized performing arts company and is one of America’s leading nonprofit theatres. With two venues, the Alley produces up to 16 plays each year with nearly 500 performances each season. However, during the pandemic everything changed; providing digital programming became essential.
According to Director of Video Production Victoria B. Sagady, the Alley’s leadership team identified the need to deliver theatrical experiences digitally to further its community engagement efforts, requiring the creation of an in house video production department complete with an end to end post production workflow based around DaVinci Resolve Studio.
During its fully digital 2020-2021 season, the theatre produced 14 productions enjoyed by remote patrons around the world. During the 2021-2022 season, the Alley operated on a hybrid model, offering digital versions of in person shows to be purchased for remote viewing within the two week period immediately following a show’s closing.
“During the pandemic our goal was to bring the live experience to our patrons in the comfort of their homes,” said Sagady. “Right up to the final export, the Alley’s shows stayed in DaVinci Resolve for the entire post process, and Resolve remains a crucial part of our production pipeline. The accompanying Blackmagic keyboards and panels help us keep everything in one system. These resources have made the Alley’s process incredibly fast, efficient, and intuitive.”
During post for the previous digital offerings, Sagady and her team relied on the multicam interface in DaVinci Resolve Studio’s edit page, playing through the shows and choosing cameras just like it was a live event, with the advantage of being able to stop, go back and move the edits around with ease. Once they had a solid cut, the team mastered the performance’s sound in the Fairlight page using a Fairlight Desktop Console, ensuring all audio was properly synced via timecode and EQ’d to sound as much like the live experience as possible. Even the Theatre’s Sound Department worked on mixes using DaVinci Resolve Studio and the Fairlight Desktop Console.
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The Alley’s video team also graded the live performances in DaVinci Resolve Studio with a DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel, and the Fusion page was used for any keying or special effects. Theatre staff has also shot several projects on the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K digital film camera, which Sagady noted produced incredible footage and was easy for members of the Alley’s Resident Acting Company to use, thanks to the intuitive menu and touch screen display.
Today, as audiences return to the theatre for live performances, which is the core mission of the Alley, digital content production is still a major initiative for the theater. Continuing from the 2020-2021 all digital season, the Alley@Home program has become a new facet of how the Alley Theatre continues to engage its audiences both before and after shows, with narrative short films and episodic series that relate to shows or themes in its seasons. In the future, the Alley Theatre aims to continue to expand its digital offerings in ways that bring live audiences a richer and more engaging experience with behind the scenes digital content and educational outreach programs. The Alley Theatre doesn’t just produce content for digital distribution but also relies on Blackmagic Design products to develop content that is seen on stage by live audiences and pushes the envelope of projection design to take audiences on fantastic journeys in new and breathtaking ways.
“DaVinci Resolve Studio makes it incredibly easy to work with different types of projects given all its built in functionality,” said Sagady. “The Alley Theatre makes heavy use of its multi camera editing feature, which has made the Theatre’s process effortless. I spend the majority of my time on the edit page, and the Auto Align tool lets us easily sync audio and video tracks with timecode or even just audio. Most importantly, having Fairlight, color and Fusion available in the same environment means no exporting or fighting with round trips.”
Sagady concluded, “The addition of the Fairlight Desktop Console, DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor, Editor Keyboard and DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel continues to have a major impact on the Alley team’s workflow and flexibility. They save us so much time, allowing our staff to be able to reach over to EQ a channel, use automation to mix a scene on the panel without having to switch screens in Resolve, or use the jog shuttle and specialized keys of the DaVinci Resolve Editor Keyboard, and they reduce the need to use a mouse to click or drag various controls. The Alley has also deployed a SmartView 4K monitor to offer color accurate and crystal clear camera previews during production, as well as several SmartView Duo panels for our multicamera shoots with live audiences.”
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