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LE RIDE

Story produced by Mike DesRoches

by Philip Keoghan with contributions from Scott Shelley and Doug Jensen

Phil Keoghan, host of The Amazing Race, leverages cutting edge technology to tell the story of a 1928 cyclists achievement in the Tour de France. The Tour de France in 1928 was twice as long as it is today, the bikes were twice as heavy, and they had no gears. Harry Watson was not only the rst New Zealander to ride in the Tour de France in 1928 but he was also part of the rst English speaking team. Watson teamed up with three Aussies to form an Australian team and ride in what is considered the toughest sporting event on earth. The four man squad were planning on teaming up with 6 French riders to make a team of 10, like the other competing teams, but when they arrived in France the sponsor said they couldnt pay for more riders. Racing as a team of 4 was considered a joke and nothing short of murder like 4 guys going against 10 in a tug of war competition Harry and his mates would have to race alone 150 miles a day for 22 days.168 riders started the more than 3,500 mile race that year, only 41 nished! Miraculously three of those riders were from the Australian team who won the heart of the French public. Surprisingly this remarkable story has never been told until NOW.

Second camera operator Uri Sharon

Go behind the scenes of digital cinematography.


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Retracing the Tour de France 1928 A


fter the success of The Ride, my bike ride across America, I decided to put my old team together and retrace the 1928 Tour de France. The challenge would be to ride the same roads, stick to the same schedule and ride an 85 year old single speed bike like they did in 1928. Le Ride was an extremely challenging adventure, shot as a true verite documentary. We were a very lean crew with our DP (Scott Shelley) covering the action with an F55 while perched on the back of a motorcycle for 26 days and traveling over 3,000 miles. The shooting days were brutal, at one point we shot continuously for 23 hours through Pyreneess mountains traveling over 200 miles and climbing more than 20,000 feet. We shot in all kinds of weather and in every conceivable lighting condition, day and night. The action was constant and free owing, nothing was staged for the camera. We endeavored to never impede the riders progress for any reason. While verite lmmaking has been always relegated to 16mm and 2/3 cameras, the F55 is a proper cinema camera that makes hand held Super 35mm documentary cinematography a practical reality. For our master shots we used the light weight F55 with the Angenieux Optimo 16-42 lens, a simple clip on lens hood and lter holder. We made use of a shoulder mount and handgrips but had no follow focus, or matt box. Our primary focus was on simplicity and balance keep everything as light as possible. We mounted two wireless receivers, and improvised a camera mic mount. A choice had to be made here as we were limited to 2 inputs, and re-patching was occasionally necessary to cover the action.

To get all of this accomplished, the technical crew consisted of only three people, two camera operators and a media manager/editor. The entire entourage including riders was only 10 people. Logistically, we were moving an average of 150 miles per day and stayed in more than 20 hotels.

The cameras and the overall workow exceeded our expectations in every way. In addition to the two F55s we supplemented our footage with Sony Action Cams as well as the FS700. Being able to capture full 1080p images in slow motion has given us some breathtaking footage for our documentary.

THE TEAM
Philip Keoghan Louise Keoghan

Phil Keoghan has been telling stories in front of a television camera for 25 years. He has worked in over 100 countries as an actor, author, speaker, television host (The Amazing Race), producer, director and cameraman on thousands of program episodes. His work has earned him numerous awards including 9 prime-time Emmy Awards.
Jess Bushyhead

Louise Keoghan has worked as a television producer and writer for over 25 years. She has created, developed and produced numerous highly rated, award winning prime time television series. Louise produced The Ride, which sold out in theaters across the US.

Scott Shelley

Jess Bushyhead is the editor of the The Ride (part 1). For more than 30 years, Jess has worked around the world as an editor, colorist, writer and producer for all the major networks as well more than a dozen cable channels. His work has earned him 4 Emmy Awards.

Scott Shelley has worked as a cinematographer and producer for television, After the success of The Ride, my bike ride lms across documentary and independent feature I decided to put my together in America, more than 60 countries. He old hasteam received and retrace the 1928 Tour de France. a number of Emmy nominations and won a prime time Emmy for Outstanding Nonction The challenge would be to ride the same roads, Cinematography in 2006.

Le Ride

We were a very lean crew with our DP (Scott Shelley) covering the action with an F55 while perched on the back of a motorcycle for 26 days and traveling over 3,000 miles.

An F800 might seem the obvious camera choice with four audio inputs and an ENG lens that offers 15-20x zoom ratios rather than the 3x of a cinema lens. What we hoped to gain with the F55, was the versatility of the 4K S-log recording, with its enormous latitude and the incredible sensitivity of the large single imager. Verite lm making precludes setting up a china silk and bounce card just because the sun is blazing, and riding through a village at 2 AM in the rain the only available light comes from street lamps and the occasional passing truck. The F55 exceeded expectations in all of these conditions.

In the bright light you can see deep into the shadows and still have detail in the clouds and in night shots you can see the clean noiseless black silhouette of the Alps revealed by the last bit of skylight. All this capacity is useless unless you can control it which was made possible because of the OLED viewnder. Keeping focus with a Super 35mm lens and fast moving action was a big concern. Having a super accurate viewing system was essential. The OLED image was sharp and bright with reliable coloration. That, combined with the ability to congure the peaking and having a

well placed, dedicated focus assist button made it possible to keep a sharp focus and proper exposure in a constantly changing environment. Our only addition was a larger eyecup. Our two biggest concerns about the durability of the F55 was the obvious vulnerability of the viewnder cable connector to impact damage and the open vents on top of the camera body exposed to rain and dust. We had to take extra precautions to address these concerns. Another function we hope can be addressed is the difculty of getting at the white balance memory. Though not an issue in S-log, for any project shot in

the other gamma settings one would expect to have a discrete control for capturing a custom white balance. Overall our feedback is extremely positive. The cameras and the overall workow exceeded our expectations in every way. In addition to the two F55s we supplemented our footage with Sony Action Cams as well as the FS700. Being able to capture full 1080p images in slow motion has given us some breathtaking footage for our documentary.

Le Ride

his was no ordinary production. We were shooting 4K video with a pair of relatively unproven Super 35mm cameras and cinema-style lenses in a run & gun documentary production that would typically be better suited for 2/3 shoulder-mount ENG cameras, such as the PDW-F800. In addition, we were recording onboard the cameras with a new 10-bit XAVC video codec that nobody on the crew had used before. And to make things even more complicated, not only did we want to capture the highest quality 4K images that could be used for editing of the nal lm months later but we also had to be able to edit a daily 5-7 minute highlights video and upload it to CBS every day.

Everyone on the crew wore many hats covering all aspects of production to get the job done under extremely challenging conditions.
The principal assignment for our media manager/editor (Doug Jensen) was to ingest and safely backup all of the 4K footage from both of our F55 cameras at the end of each day, then edit a 5-7 minute highlights video of the days ride and upload it to CBS. We called these short videos blogs, but ultimately they were far more elaborate. We all put a lot of effort into these videos and they turned out more like feature stories. As a PMW-F55 owner Doug was able to help us to create a look for the cameras and determine the best menu settings prior to leaving for France. After conducting some shooting and workow tests, it was determined that we would program the cameras to record S-Log2 gamma and S-gamut color plus a few other paint menu modications to ne-tune the look and camera performance. After nally deciding on all the menu settings we were able to email the le settings to the cameramen so they could load them into our cameras before France. This pre-planning worked perfectly and the result was that the cameras were ready to roll the minute we arrived in Paris essential since we only had about 4 hours for prep before shooting began. A unique feature of the F55 is that the camera is capable of recording two separate video les simultaneously on a single SxS memory card. That allowed us to record both a high-quality 4K XAVC le that could be set aside for use later during online editing and a more manageable broadcast-quality XDCAM HD422 le that could be used for the daily blog editing and eventually the cutting of the documentary. The two les always had matching le names, in and out points, and timecode. This dual-recording capability of the F55 worked awlessly during the entire four weeks and in some ways is what made the whole production possible. We couldnt have done this same production with any other camera.

Le Ride We had a total of eight 128GB SxS cards with us that could each hold about 45 minutes of 4K footage. While we were prepared to off-load cards during the shooting day if we ever ran out of card capacity, that never happened. There were only one or two days when we used all eight cards but six cards per day was typical. Doug suggested we label the SxS cards A through H so it was easy to keep track of them. We used a system of wrapping rubber bands around empty cards so that the cameramen could immediately distinguish between used cards and empty cards. We never once accidentally erased a card or had to wonder if a card had been used or not. It didnt matter to Doug if the cards were used in alphabetical order or which camera used which card, but having unique labels helped keep things straight at the end of the day. Our computer for the production was a bare-bones, refurbished 13 MacBook Pro with only four gigabytes of RAM. Doug was initially worried that the computer would be under-powered to keep up with the archiving and editing, but it proved to be up to the task. We also brought a cheap 13 external computer monitor to help with some much needed extra screen space for editing and grading. Our backup plan for the footage was simple. At the end of each day Doug would collect the SxS cards from the cameramen and set-up an ingest station in whatever hotel room we happened to be in that night. Before leaving for France, we had decided that we would avoid using LTO drives, raids, or anything else that might cause us grief if it broke down while we were on the road. Instead, we opted for a daily routine of backing up each SxS memory card onto two separate hard drives so there would always be at least two copies of every clip. We had several dozen 4TB and 1TB Seagate drives that were used for the backups, we modied two Pelican cases to transport them safely and securely. A big advantage of the Seagate drives was that they could be used via USB 3.0 or Thunderbolt, depending on the adapter that was attached to them. This really came in handy when the USB 3.0 hub died during the second week of the shoot, and we couldnt locate a replacement hub in France. With other drives this would have caused a huge bottleneck with the archiving because the MacBook Pro is woefully short on ports. But we just converted some of our Seagate drives to Thunderbolt and went on working. The card reader we used was a Sony SBAC-US20 that is bus-powered and uses USB 3.0. With this hardware setup, we could ingest and backup each 128GB SxS card in about 25 minutes. This proved to be amazingly fast!

Le Ride Rather than making the two copies of each le one at a time (which would have doubled Dougs workload) he installed a copy of a utility program called ShotPut Pro on the Mac. This allowed him to make two hard drive copies simultaneously without any reduction in transfer speed. Once the backups were nished, those drives were put back into the Pelican cases for safe-keeping and were not used for editing. Depending on the size of a particular backup drive (either 4TB or 1TB) it would be used for several days until it was full, and then another drive would take its place until it was full. In addition to the two backup drives we also copied the XDCAM HD422 les to a third 4TB Seagate drive that was used throughout the production as the editing drive. We didnt need the 4K les for editing so we only transferred the XDCAM les to this drive. This one drive 4TB drive was able to handle the entire months worth of les. Once the backing up and archiving of the footage was completed each night, the raw footage from both cameras was reviewed and Doug started editing the blog video. At the end of each long day, I would record an on-camera summary of the days events. That narrative gave us a blueprint to follow for each blog. For editing we used Adobe Premiere Pro CS6 on the MacBook Pro. We found that the XDCAM footage was no problem for the computer, and we could cut in real time and with no signicant rendering or slowdowns. Once the blog editing was completed, every clip had to be graded because we had chosen to shoot with S-Log2 and S-gamut settings. The advantage of using those settings is that they allow maximum versatility and quality for the footage that will be used in the nal 4K edit, but the disadvantage is that they look washed out, de-saturated, and underexposed before grading.

Due to the run & gun nature of the production, exposures and white balances were understandably inconsistent, so every shot had to be corrected individually. This meant that Doug had to grade about 50-75 clips per day within Premiere. Doug then did an audio mix and added music . . . also within Premiere. Approved blogs were then exported via Adobe Encoder and uploaded it to CBS via Hightail (formerly known as YouSendIt). WiFi at most of the hotels was very slow so sometimes it would take 4-5 hours to upload a 500MB le.

workow summary
by Jess Bushyhead

LE RIDE

Software used
Sony Content Browser Version 2.2 Avid Media Composer Version 7.02 Sony AMA Plugin for XAVC/XDCAM Version 3.2011 Workow is being done on both Mac and Windows platforms
In the eld the camera cards were ofoaded continuously to Seagate 1TB drives and Seagate 4TB drives with snap-on USB3 or Thunderbolt adapters. The entire card structure (4K, proxy and metadata folders) was maintained and double backed up to the two different types of drives at Seagates suggestion. A separate 4TB Seagate drive was used on a nightly basis to consolidate each days proxy media only. This created a onestop-shopping source for screening any shot from any day and protected both masters from having to be accessed again. In post the eld-consolidated proxy only drive was used to literally within minutes ingest the entire 22 days of shooting into Media Composer using Sonys AMA plug-in for XAVC. Then a basic LUT was applied to all the clips to give the footage a golden look then a 2nd conversion was stacked on top of the rst to reduce full-scale 0-255 RGB to video 709. These LUT modied clips were used only during ofine editing. Full-scale color grading from the 4K Slog2/Sgamut les will occurred after picture lock. Separately the masters were logged using Sonys Content Browser 2.2. Clips were annotated keep, NG, good etc., named and a description was added to clips for which they were appropriate. Information logged was passed through into Avid via AMA. A current speed-bump is Sonys 2047 character limit in their comments eld, and Avids 255 character limit on bin columns. This caused any clips annotation exceeding 255 characters to be truncated at that point during AMA linking.

Another limitation is the Content Browser cannot log individual proxy clips from the proxy only drive as it must access the Clip folder containing the 4K XAVC les and their associated metadata documents. The workaround was to manually copy and paste descriptions longer than 255 characters into a text-searchable spreadsheet. This complete spreadsheet was formatted and printed as a PDF then converted into simple text and imported into Media Composer as a textsearchable script for use with Script-Sync. There were two F55s and an NX used on this project and linking via AMA allowed me to sort the bins by camera serial number which allowed me to easily identify the cameraman that shot it.

WORKFLOW

Le Ride
I link to the full-rez clips using XAVC Folder as the choice of AMA plugins. This pulls clips in that have Content Browser appended metadata (up to 255 characters).

relinking from 4K to XDCAM 50Mbps HD 4:2:2 Proxy


I got to work sorting and screening the footage as soon as I acquired it but the logs were not nished till some weeks later. So I re-ingested the metadata modied 4K clips when they were nished being logged into new bins in a separate folder. This was to remind me these clips were originally linked to 4K and needed to be re-linked back to the 4K from the proxy after picture lock in order to consolidate 4K only clips for color-grading. I had no luck with the advertised Modify AMA resolutions... procedure Avid recommends. It never worked so far for me.

STEP 1

STEP 2

I link to all the individual proxy .MXF les in a days folder on the eld-consolidated drive using Sony XAVC_XDCAM (*.mxf) as the plug-in. This pulls XDCAM 50 proxy clips into the system.

I was also confused by the options of Highest Quality and Most Compressed. That was a more meaningful choice when selecting between XDCAM full-rez and proxy. That distinction has blurred in the realm of 4K XAVC and HD 50 Mbps Proxy.

Until these issues are resolved Im using the method described here.

WORKFLOW

Le Ride

STEP 3

I modify both the 4K and Proxy clips to give them a Tape number.

STEP 5

When both proxys and 4Ks have the same tape tape number and both bins are open, you can relink.

STEP 4

In this case its LR022. Ignore the warnings (left over from tape days) and proceed.

WORKFLOW

Le Ride
Tell Media Composer the source les arent the default REC709 gamma but Sony S-Gamut (Slog2 gamma).

Now your full-rez clips (with metadata descriptions etc.) are linked to proxy media. Youre ready to apply a LUT to make the material look reasonable in ofine and edit.

STEP 3

STEP 1

When both proxys and 4Ks have the same tape tape number and both bins are open, you can relink.

STEP 2

A box pops up with the middle tab Color Encoding selected.

STEP 4

Select a LUT to apply. Here Im applying a LUT from Dennis Hingsberg he calls Golden Texas. Note the histogram shows crushed blacks. (www.hingsberg.com)

WORKFLOW

Le Ride

STEP 5

Fix it by adding another adjustment called Levels scaling (full range to video levels).

STEP 7

When the editing is nished you will have an HD 1080x1920 sequence (note the Clip####S02 clip names in the timeline denoting proxy les) with the basic LUT information indicated by the green dots (realtime effect) applied to the clips in the timeline.

STEP 6

Click Apply to all to apply these LUTS to all the clips in the bin.

LE RIDE

F55 post workow


by Jess Bushyhead

after picture lock relinking from 4K to XDCAM 50Mbps HD 4:2:2 Proxy


In the 1st workow document, LUTS have been applied. The LUTS in ofine are simply to help establish a ballpark mood... in our case we're going with a deliberately golden tone that compliments the feeling and tone of our recreation of the 1928 Tour de France. Also for editing you have to have a decent feel/look going for you to pick the right music and sound-bite / interviews. Using washedout raw S-Log2/Sgamut footage isn't ideal to spend months drawing inspiration from so these LUTs sufce as a temporary way to assist the creative process by giving the footage a dramatic look that will approximate the more nuanced nal grading to be done after picture lock. Sometime next spring by Deluxe will be handed the nal 4K S-Log2/Sgamut clips to use via an AAF export to either Baselight or Resolve in a projection room with a 4K projector and/or OLED monitors.

This part of my write-up is about the extensive testing Ive done with Sonys Content Browser 2.2, logging and adding descriptive metadata comments and transcripts to the source clips themselves, then using AMA to link to Avid Master Clips with as much descriptive data as possible fused into the clip. This makes logged clips incredibly accessible at any time with a key word search query.

WORKFLOW

Le Ride

4
This shows the rst step to be taken after picture lock has been achieved. The blue box on top shows the bin into which I'd used the AMA Link to XAVC_ XDCAM Folder option to pull master clips that were 4K in size yet had all the Content Browser descriptive metadata applied. These clips will be most often used in the majority of edits since descriptive metadata had been applied and looking for them would have been most simple. The yellow box shows the XDCAM 50 proxy media les that were consolidated to one 4TB Seagate T-Bolt / USB3 drive, mounted on a Windows system in this illustration and assigned as the LR_EDIT_2 (O:) drive.

Step one in getting XAVC media and an AAF (edl) into color-grading is to give Media Composer a simple way of knowing that the proxy HD XDCAM 50Mbps clips used in the nal locked sequence have the same source as the original XAVC 4K les.

The most reliable method I've discovered of achieving this is to put the old-school Tape Name column to good use again. I do this by simply modifying all clips shot on any given day (derived by the Date Created metadata column) to any unique source. For example, in the case illustrated here, I modied clips in both bins so the system knows they both come from SOURCE001, the same source. The difference is that we've been editing up to this point with XDCAM 50 HD 1920x1080 from drive LR_EDIT_2(O:) and after giving them the same tape number we can easily relink based on same source to highest quality on drive (J:) from most compressed on LR_EDIT_2 (O:)

Now I made a reddish colored bin for my test sequence and cut 3 short clips into it.

WORKFLOW

Le Ride

7 5

8
LUTS are applied and active on the video media as indicated by the green real-time effect dots. Also note that the clips are named as if they are 4Ks but are playing proxy XDCAM 50 media.

I've changed my bin settings to reveal source clips in the rose colored bin. This shows the 3 masterclips that make up the cut sequence and will need to be relinked BACK to their original 4K media les for export and color-grading once editing is nished. I found it simplest to Unlink the master-clips from the Proxy media. Unlink is achieved by selecting all the clips in a bin, holding down SHIFT, COMMAND and CONTROL simultaneously and clicking Unlink... as shown here. This pulls the XDCAM 50 proxy media ofine including any used in the sequence.

Now a nal AMA-link to the F55's top folder structure repopulates these clips with XAVC 4K media and the sequence media is 4K.

Now you're ready for export video for use in a color-grading system like Resolve or Baselight. In our case our masters are on 4 4TB Seagate drives with Thunderbolt adapters which will be daisy-chained. No need to consolidate media, simply link to it (much faster) since daisy-chaining 4 4TB drives with Thunderbolt will make all 4K clips available for color-grading. Your nal AAF will be small in size as it only contains links / pointers to 4K media. But this AAF will open in most AAF compliant colorgrading tools and NLEs. A good test of an AAFs integrity is to drag it back into Media Composer to make sure it is identical to the sequence you exported.

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