The Digital Intermediate Paradigm
The phrases “never been done before,” “pushing the envelope,” and “attempting the impossible” crop up rather often in the film industry, particularly in post-production. But the methodology used to finish HBO’s “Band of Brothers” mini-series in 2000 involved a completely new work flow, justifying the frequent use of these comments to some extent. Every scene of the production was shot on 35mm photographic film (with the exception of a number of computer-generated visual effects and a few seconds of 16mm footage), but by the time of completion, the entire, edited series existed only as a bunch of data stored on a number of hard disks and digital tapes. This wasn’t anything new in itself. Disney’s Toy Story had been an entirely digital production, and the film Pleasantville involved scanning and digitally color-grading a cut film to a set of digital files, before recording back onto film.