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Brainy Branding in HD with Unichrome and DeckLink HD Extreme

Unichrome S.r.l. is an Italian production company that offers it all. One might try to sum them up as a full service creative agency, but the firm explains it best by describing their offerings as "brains for your brand".

Clients and projects vary by extremes. A day of work at Unichrome could involve a promotional video for a high tech gadget, or perhaps a 60 second television commercial for baby food. Add a music video for a reggae band to the mix and even then, the possibilities are still endless. Having worked with household brands such as L'Oreal, San Pellegrino, Nescafe and Hasbro, the company knows what it means to deliver high quality, creative work that meets demands and exceeds expectations. In fact, they've earned a reputation for it.

It took some time for Unichrome to get to that point, but the potential was always there. And it was that quality that attracted some of the best creatives in the business to work there.


Manuel Bruscagin joined Unichrome three years ago. For him, the job was literally a dream come true. The now 29 year old has been working in video for ten years, and he wouldn't have it any other way. As a child, while his classmates dreamt of careers as astronauts, singers and doctors, Manuel hoped to become a steadicam operator. His professional aspirations may have been different from the norm, but that didn't make them any more attainable.

Price presented an obstacle, a common occurrence in creative video. Because Manuel could not afford the tools he needed to get started on his own, he teamed up with another professional he met on, Enrico Marchisio. They started with some low budget indie work, and after a few years, Manuel was hired to work on new media at Unichrome.

This would eventually mean 3D modeling and rendering, developing multiplatform and mobile applications and working on web and video. But Manuel's first task at Unichrome was to reorganize their video division and switch older SD equipment over to a full HD system. He was excited to trade their heavy, old and expensive gear in for sleek, new and exciting items. While exploring their options of how to transform Unichrome's capture and playback workflows, Manuel was pleasantly surprised by the affordability of Blackmagic Design's DeckLink HD Extreme.

It served Unichrome's various production needs right out of the box. With its combination of digital and analog inputs, the DeckLink HD Extreme was the perfect solution to simplify the transformation from SD to HD. No other solution came close to the versatility of the DeckLink HD Extreme, while still fitting within his very tight budget. 

The PCI Express-based video input/output card features SDI, HDMI, analog, NTSC, PAL and S-Video capture and playback, along with balanced analog and AES/EBU digital audio. In addition to HD, it also handles 2K and SD. Compatible with Apple's Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, PhotoShop and now Media Composer 6, the DeckLink HD Extreme enables Unichrome to work in whichever format is thrown at them, on the NLE of their preference.

Manuel explained, "We were shooting on Canons, a 5D Mark II and a 1D Mark IV, and we needed a reliable and efficient way to manage the .mov files. The DeckLink HD Extreme worked well with the MJPEG codec and real time HD-SDI output, and provided a speedy and economical workflow that can meet almost any customer's requirements."

With the breadth of different clients and projects, Unichrome has to be able to work with whatever media, formats or technology that their clients demand. This means that Unichrome staff needs to be experts in a number of different NLEs. While they primarily work in Adobe Premiere Pro, they also use Adobe After Effects. And the DeckLink HD Extreme is used with any and all projects being edited on any of these systems, allowing Manuel to be as flexible as his clients need.

Creating Graphics for the Alessi Tab

The Alessi Tab is a new interactive tablet which has a 10.1 inch HD touchscreen with a 180 rotating gravitational center. It is being marketed as the focal point of advanced household communications for the third millennium. In order to show that this domestic tool makes the management of one's home only a touch away, the branding campaign had to focus on not just the technology, but also needed to give the product a personal touch. 

Unichrome was tasked with developing graphics for a video campaign for the Alessi Tab that had to capture a very specific look and feel for the aggressive branding campaign.

The video, which was shot in one day, features a couple at home, engaged in a variety of common tasks. They use the tablet for everything from waking up to cooking dinner, but what viewers don't know is that the gadget was turned off throughout filming. This was so the images that appeared on the screen and the captions used to explain them could be changed and personalized for each region in which the product would be sold. All of this work was done in compositing, and with the DeckLink HD Extreme was accomplished quickly and accurately.

Manuel explained, "The DeckLink card helped us take advantage of a more fluid workflow, and offered an amazing preview on our HD monitor. High quality monitoring is crucial to good compositing; I needed to understand the depth of field to ensure the graphics would merge well with the video."

Television Commercials, Music Videos and More

Manuel also recently used the card for capture, playback and monitoring on a promotional video for a commercial for the Locanda del Sant'Uffizio hotel and resort, as well as the music video for "Lontano", by reggae band Poor Man Style, television commercials for Plasmon baby food and ZEISS optical lenses.

The goal of each project was different, but they all had something in common in that Unichrome had to take a variety of footage and piece it together to create the most compelling message possible. Whether it was conveying the rich history and romance of a renovated luxury hotel, or the technology behind what makes innovative and stress sensing eyewear important, Manuel and his team got the job done.  

"We would have a hard time fulfilling so many different needs without a diverse tool set," offered Manuel. "But the DeckLink HD Extreme was a solid tool that made a big difference from the very beginning, and with update after update, it has evolved with us over time."

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Related Keywords:Blackmagic Design, Unichrome S.r.1., Decklink HD Extreme, HD, SD, SDI, HDMI, analog, NTSC, PAL, S-Video, Apple Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Adobe PhotoShop, Media Composer 6

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  • Brainy Branding in HD with Unichrome and DeckLink HD Extreme by DMN Editorial at Jan. 20, 2012 3:04 pm gmt

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