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Blackmagic Software Used For CBeebies 'Spot Bots'

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Timeline North has completed full audio and picture post on the new animation show, Spot Bots, for CBeebies. Using Blackmagic's DaVinci Resolve Studio and VFX sister software Fusion, the team needed to complete the conform, grade, and effects for 104 sketches.

Stacey Cain, colourist, said: "My main objective for the series was to make sure that every picture matched and had a colourful, cartoony feel to it. For example, though the majority of the sketches were shot in a controlled, well lit studio environment, several were filmed outdoors. That meant we had to undertake some work to make those scenes match.

"For shots where the sky was over exposed, I used the luminance component in the Qualifier tool to isolate and key the sky. I would then drop the gain to bring back some detail in the shapes of the clouds, and push some blue back into the sky. I also make sure the characters were always colourful, putting yellow through the gamma wheel to give a little tone, and finally used gain to give a lift to some of the overall highlights, making the sketch look brighter.

"Most of the offline wasn't finished, but we needed to make a start with the online edit and the visual effects (VFX). That meant we had to start grading unlocked cuts. Because of this I used remote grades to make it faster when copying the grade onto different timelines. When a cut was ready for me to take, I could then link it back to the RAW files."

Timeline North also used Fusion to create the VFX, which involved traditional compositing work – such as keying and painting – to producing full 3D assets, including particle systems.

"I found Fusion's node based interface especially useful, as it allowed us to process graphical items efficiently. By simply swapping out the source material and rendering you could instantly have several different iterations to start working with," explained Roberts, who took over development of the programs VFX.

"I also used a particle generator to create a pixie glow trail that would follow the flying fairy characters on the show. The flight paths for the effect were created within Fusion's 3D environment, which meant the directional forces on the particles are far more realistic. Also, by tracking a moving shot, I could simulate the original shot's camera positioning and effectively film the glow I'd created with the same perspective. That added a lot of realism to the final comp."

"Both grading and VFX have seen considerable growth in the past couple of years, and Blackmagic's offering of Fusion is a fantastic opportunity for any finishing facility to dip their toes into the VFX world," added Clancy. "This can be especially powerful when used in a pipeline together with DaVinci Resolve. For a growing facility like Timeline North, it gives an immensely creative team the opportunity to flourish and develop new skills."

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