April 10, 2024

Strada CEO Michael Cioni: Using AI to simplify workflows

Michael Cioni is one of the film industry’s most influential people in digital cinema and post production technology. He is uniquely gifted at identifying and following fads that turn into trends, and trends that convert into industry standards. Michael was always drawn to the challenge of helping filmmakers figure out their best workflows. “I really wanted to embody knowledge to help workflows, so that I could inform customers, partners and filmmakers. And then together we would figure out what’s the best recipe for this particular film.”

Michael began his career at post house Plaster City, then co-founded the post house Light Iron, which was acquired by Panavision. He then worked for Frame.io where he found several workflow shortcuts, including Camera to Cloud. Shortly after Adobe acquired Frame.io, Michael started paying closer attention to a new trend: AI. Last year he decided to leave Frame.io and together with his brother Peter, they founded Strada. With Strada, Michael wants to enable creative professionals the freedom to work entirely from the cloud, using helpful AI tools. “The most lucrative, and I think the most useful forms of AI is in utilitarian tasks. The first major part of filmmaking workflow that Strada wants to use AI to eliminate is the mundane aspects of creating a story. If creative people can get rid of the boring, mundane, repeatable, low-skill stuff, then it means we have more time to do the satisfying, creative, fun stuff.”

Strada can transfer assets from cloud to cloud without having to download them and then reupload them. Using AI, Strada can provide a transcription and a translation of narrative content early and up front. It can also tag and analyze images so that it’s easy to search using just one word for a specific scene, saving hours in the editing process. Plus, all the work can be done remotely, from any location, because everything is stored in the cloud.

Strada is currently still in private beta but anyone can apply to try it. If you have a project you’re working on, go to Strada’s website to contact them about trying out the beta version. The company plans to start rolling out the public beta by fall 2024.

The entire Strada team will be at NAB Las Vegas next week April 13-17 at the Atlas Lens Co. booth in Central Hall C5539 to provide live demos of the AI-powered workflow technology platform and allow filmmakers to test out Strada’s capabilities firsthand.

Find Michael Cioni: Instagram: @michaelcioni
Strada: https://strada.tech/

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz

October 4, 2023

Silo cinematographer Mark Patten, BSC

Cinematographer Mark Patten, BSC’s most recent project, Silo, is a post-apocalyptic science fiction drama that’s been a huge success for AppleTV+. The thousands of people who live in the silo don’t know why the silo exists, who built it, or why the world outside is uninhabitable. Citizens who express a desire to go outside, or are convicted of a crime, are sent outside to “clean” the cameras and never survive. After being recruited as the new silo sheriff, engineer Juliette starts to uncover shocking secrets and the truth about the silo.

Silo was shot in Essex, England in a huge former cold storage facility. The set had to be completely built out, retrofitting the space into a working film stage. Lighting rigs were hung even before the sets were built so that the set building and production design crew could see in such a huge dark space. The production crew built three working levels of the actual silo set, complete with the spiral staircase. Mark found the richness of the set decoration created a lived-in, worn down place that made the silo itself seem like a character. Everything is very analog or “lo-fi sci-fi” in this dystopian world. It was interesting to think about how society would act together, in a closed vessel, and maintain their sanity in a locked in culture, especially after just coming out of the pandemic. Mark thought of the Silo as a slow ship moving through time, and it felt like shooting a submarine film. The central staircase acts as a helix through the society of the silo, and Juliette is climbing her way up through the layers of it to solve a mystery.

Mark worked alongside production designer Gavin Bocquet to visualize the Silo’s society, honing in and letting the visuals sing. He decided to subtly use different color palettes for each level. It was a great way to add texture to the images, with the mechanical level becoming very desaturated, except for some touches of bright yellow and orange glow from the heat of the power generators. Since the silo is a mile down into the ground, there is no natural light at all, and Mark needed to figure out what would motivate the light all the way at the bottom. He decided the lighting in the top of the silo would be strongest, and the light would filter down from there. Practical lights were built in everywhere throughout the set and as characters descend to the lowest level of mechanical, the practical lights are the only source. Since every light source was designed and built in, there was no hard light anywhere to manipulate, so for Mark it was an exercise in restraint manipulating reflective light.

Mark recently finished shooting Season 2 of Andor on Disney+.

Silo is available to stream on AppleTV+.

Find Mark Patten: https://www.markpatten.tv/
Instagram: @kiesh

Sponsored by Hot Rod Cameras: www.hotrodcameras.com

The Cinematography Podcast website: www.camnoir.com
Facebook: @cinepod
Instagram: @thecinepod
Twitter: @ShortEndz