Filmworkers Club/Astro expands DI services in an effort to attract more indie production here

When Filmworkers Club/Astro Labs takes delivery of new digital imaging equipment that’s expected momentarily, Chicago will have its second DI pipeline service for spots and feature films.

En route is the new da Vinci Splice, a stand-alone product that elevates the tools of a telecine suite to a next-generation workflow.

“Our goal is to keep DI work in Chicago, rather than have it go to the West Coast,” said Manuela Hung, Astro’s general manager.

“We already do DI work for commercials, and now we will increase the storage so we can work on features,” as well as the growth of HD and theatrical commercials.

The post house is among the first facilities to order a Splice, which was introduced at 2006 NAB. It will be integrated into one of Filmworkers’ regular rooms and no additional staff hires are planned, Hung said.

Grass Valley’s LUTher color space converter will be a complementary product for film work. It allows the user to monitor grading work on an HD display confident that the image will match the film output.

In anticipation of the new service, Filmworkers added DI-savvy Carol Schaffner, who has the official title of DI coordinator, although she will be in-house producer for DI work and also handle sales.

Most recently, Schaffner worked on the start-up of colorist Mike Matusek and engineer Boris Seagraves’ No Lo Digital. The company launched in early July as the successor to I-Cubed’s pioneering DI service where both had been employed.

No Lo is currently handling all conforming and color correction for “Of Boys and Men,” filmmaker Pemon Rami’s indie feature filmed in Chicago last year, directed by Robert Townsend and starring Angela Bassett.

Filmworkers Club/Astro Labs is located at 232 E. Ohio; phone, 312/664-9333. See