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My Post House: Nice Shoes

For more than three years, Robert Keske has acted as chief technical officer heading up technical services at Nice Shoes, supporting the entire production process. He has been integrally involved in the selection of future technologies used throughout Nice Shoes for content creation and delivery. Keske was also a long-term senior member of the development staff at Autodesk Media & Entertainment (Discreet) Division.

What specific projects do you currently have in the works?

We recently signed our first Nice Shoes Remote Viewing Services (RVS) partner, Engine Room Edit in Boston. We plan to be up and running by Nov. 1, servicing the Boston region.

Specific features include:

  • RVS over existing Internet bandwidth
  • Faster than current solutions available
  • SD and HD capable
  • Viewable from anywhere in the world, while the work is being completed by Nice Shoes artists in its NYC studio
  • RVS are not limited to Color Grading. Any application or toolset, such as Flame, Nuke, Maya, etc., can be viewed remotely
  • Multiviewer-capable (one-to-many)
  • Same studio calibrated display environment.

Similar to Nice Shoes’ RVS, we are finalizing the specs for a Nice Shoes Remote Artist, allowing a colorist, Flame artist, designer, 3D animator, etc. to be on-set or on-location inside an agency or editorial studio providing design, VFX, or color grading services locally, while the conform, render, etc. is occurring in Nice Shoes’ NYC studio.

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What else have you worked on recently?

We recently completed Kanye West’s “Power” which required a myriad of technical and artistic skills from our creative teams. Nice Shoes’ VFX, color grading, and design teams spent a month compositing 150-plus layers in Flame.

Marco Brambilla, the director, filmed Kanye along with numerous nude models individually against a greenscreen. Nice Shoes were called on to work with Brambilla to further develop the multi-layered moving painting by compositing the figures and camera moves in this intricate and dramatic 3D landscape.

Midway through the project, MTV offered a broadcast debut, leading to the need for a clean version. Nice Shoes collaborated with Brambilla to creatively cover up the nude models by draping the female figures with strategically placed garments, jewelry, and flowing fabric.

In the days before the MTV premiere, Colorist Ron Sudul worked closely with the VFX team to hone and tweak the color grade in realtime on the Baselight system. This allowed Brambilla to immediately evaluate and make changes based on a complete picture. As a result, Nice Shoes was able to help the director and West bring their canvas to life with a painter’s consistency.

The VFX involved multiple Flames, 3D workstations, and design direction before the final touch of color grading was applied.

What do you consider to be the next big thing in post?

I think the next big thing is the integration of social media throughout the post process; currently social media is considered a deliverable. Social media will continue to evolve into an integral part of the entire production process.

Another area of concentration is the concept of the virtual post house, where postproduction is not limited to the confines of a studio’s four walls. We are pioneering solutions for this concept in two ways, as mentioned: Nice Shoes’ Remote Viewing Services (RVS) and Remote Artist.

What technology do you currently work with?

As an industry-leading creative studio, we use the best technologies.

  • Color Grading
  • VFX
  • Design

Integrating these products with advanced IT Strategies such as high-performance computing (HPC) and clustering lead to the development of R3Dform.

What new technology are you working with?

To speed up and simplify digital file conversion, Nice Shoes has created R3Dform, a software program that converts Red Cam files (.R3D) to any standard file format, including H264, Prores, DNX, MXF, XDCAM, iPhone, web media streaming, and many others. Also IPTV and HTML 5.

What new products/technology are you looking forward to the most?

I’m looking forward to the continuing development of workflow automation technologies to ensure efficient quality client deliverables.

What gets you out of bed in the morning to go to work in postproduction?

I’m motivated by the people: seeing the results of their hard work and creativity, all while delivering high-quality products and services. I’m also proud to head up a first-class engineering team delivering great solutions.

What is your best post memory?

After a challenging project, I enjoy sitting on the rooftop of Nice Shoes having dinner overlooking New York City.

What are your favorite/least favorite things about working in post?

My favorite thing is that every day is invigorating and challenging; I love seeing our industry mature, morph and recreate itself as technologies change.

My least favorite thing is running out of coffee.

What were you doing 10 years ago and what do you expect to be doing 10 years from now?

Ten years ago, I was managing and developing solutions for Autodesk Flame, Smoke, Inferno and infrastructure products.

Ten years from now, I hope to be doing the same thing I’m doing now: overseeing the advancement of technologies used within our industry and creating solutions to outpace everyone else.