Based in Cologne, Germany, WeFadeToGrey is a privately owned post facility that specializes in color grading of commercials for prestige brands and for feature productions such as Netflix’s How to Sell Drugs Online and movies such as The Operative. The company was founded in 2008 with a focus on the still-new field of processing data from digital cameras. Since then, curiosity, technical competence, and creative ambition have led to steady growth and a strong reputation in the German post-production landscape.
WeFadeToGrey recently undertook a facility and infrastructure upgrade with the goal of implementing state-of-the-art technologies that support the latest formats and enable more efficient and flexible workflows, now and in the future. The company’s primary technical requirements were a high degree of system scalability and support for high-quality video and peripheral control over IP. With interest in virtualizing PCs at some point down the road, WeFadeToGrey also required a solution already capable of supporting that shift.
The team at WeFadeToGrey carried out extensive research into possible KVM solutions for its updated facility and ultimately opted to implement the Black Box Emerald KVM over IP platform. “WeFadeToGrey is a modern company committed to using best-in-class technologies to support current and future operations,” says Daniel Berkemer, Business Development Manager at Black Box. “The Emerald system delivers state-of-the-art KVM functionality and offers a simple path to virtualized server infrastructure when WeFadeToGrey chooses to go that direction.” The Emerald system extends and switches pixel-perfect HD, transparent USB 2.0, and bidirectional analog audio signals over the facility’s IP network, connecting users working in offices and color grading suites to servers and computers situated in the facility’s secure, temperature-controlled central device room. Because Emerald is an IP-based system, WeFadeToGrey was able to establish these links with a minimum of cabling — much less than would be required by a system using proprietary connections. Color grading workstations are equipped with dual HD monitors, with a single mouse and keyboard, and Emerald KVM transmitters and receivers allow users to enjoy the responsiveness of a local machine while working with DaVinci Resolve software and other applications running on the remote systems. This model gives colorists access to the software they need from any workstation, eliminating the need to shift desks to complete particular tasks with specific software tools. Colorists at WeFadeToGrey use the Black Box ControlBridge touch panel at their desktops for convenient configuration and control over KVM, AV, and other systems.
The Black Box Emerald KVM platform and ControlBridge system at WeFadeToGrey give the facility and its team of creatives a modern, future-proof solution for signal extension and switching. “We were impressed by Black Box and the company’s technology from the start, and now we’ve seen the benefits of working with the Emerald KVM system across our operations,” says Swen Linde, CEO at WeFadeToGrey. “Our colorists and other creatives now work in more comfortable environment with better access to the resources they need to do their work. Emerald will deliver further benefits as we begin to embrace 4K workflows and take advantage of virtualization.” In addition to reducing noise, heat, and clutter across the work environment, the IP-based KVM platform provides greater flexibility in resource usage. The team at WeFadeToGrey can access valuable compute resources (typically Mac Pro systems) and the applications they need from any work area while maintaining a seamless user experience. Because the Emerald KVM family already supports 4K, the facility will be able to shift to 4K displays and take on 4K post-production workflows with ease. The new KVM installation also paves the way for WeFadeToGrey to migrate to a virtualized server infrastructure in the future. With ControlBridge enabling control over multimedia, AV, KVM, and IP-enabled devices, as well as room automation systems, with a touch of a button, swipe of a touch panel, or tap to a tablet or smartphone, WeFadeToGrey can rapidly configure both signals and room elements to suit the user and application. The deployment of Emerald and ControlBridge at WeFadeToGrey already has delivered increased efficiency. The company is moving forward in leveraging these technologies to establish leading-edge postproduction workflows.