Aperture in Action

TV Guide: Prime Time Publishing

Assessing the Take

Getting the shots was only the first stage in putting out the magazine. The next steps were carefully laid out in an Aperture-based workflow managed by digital tech Dan Busta, working his second consecutive Fall Preview shoot. He set up Aperture on three separate Macs, one for each of the photographers typically working at a session. The machines were networked to a single Mac that served as the master editing station. “In terms of organising the shoot, the basic functionality of Aperture and the Macs was critically important”, says Busta.

A key part of that functionality was Aperture’s compatibility with multiple formats, says Astudillo: “Each photographer used different cameras. We loved that with Aperture we could open all of our RAW files, from Canon DSLRs to the native RAW Hasselblad files”.

As the photographers tag-teamed the incoming celebrities, as many as eight for each show, their assistants would bring filled up memory cards to Busta. Within minutes, Busta would capture, keyword, back up and organise each photographer’s images in an Aperture library on that photographer’s pre-assigned Mac, available for viewing on a Cinema Display.

Using Aperture’s light table feature, the photographers could look at images side-by-side to compare tests and finals even though they were in separate directories. The photographers also used Aperture’s processing features for colour correcting RAW files and for providing soft proofs for each lighting setup to the retouchers and the editors.

Editing in Aperture

At the end of each shooting day, the projects and master files were pushed across the network to the Mac that served as the master edit machine. The photo team would make a first-pass edit, selecting images, making composites in Photoshop, even creating rough page mockups for pacing purposes, and then consult on the results with the photographers.

“Andy Ryan shot a group photo for 90210”, says Adams. “We looked at it first and did a lot of composition, swapping heads, stuff like that. Then Andy sat down with us and we changed a few things. So it was definitely a group effort all the way through”.

It was also a new way of doing group edits. “It used to be that when it came time to edit we’d all huddle around the computer”, says Adams. “But now with Aperture we can edit independently and publish a Smart Folder with selects and comps in a MobileMe Gallery that gets shared with everybody. That’s been really helpful, especially when we send stuff to John Walker, the creative director in New York”.

To handle the extreme change-tracking required for such extensive collaborative editing, Adams relied completely on Aperture. “I like the fact that you can take an image out of an Aperture project, Photoshop it, put it back in and still have it as part of the whole set. The 90210 image is going to be made up of ten different pictures, so it’s critical that Aperture will keep track of all of the source images”.

After the password-protected galleries were sent to New York, TV Guide’s creative director reviewed updated edits from the photo team and began initial design layouts with high-res, full-size JPEGs. Although the images aggregated during the shoot were intended primarily for use in the Fall Preview issue, the quick efficiency of the production workflow allowed the photos to be used as well for covers and inside pages of the issues that preceded it.

Given the number of images processed and the tight and immovable deadlines, Busta believes that these results would have been unachievable without an Aperture workflow: “If not for the keywording, organisation and file structures that Aperture creates, we’d have to do all of this manually. We can do some of what Aperture does using maybe five different programs, but with Aperture it’s all right there, all in one place”.

For years the TV Guide team actually did work manually to publish each issue. Adams says she is both amazed by and grateful for their newfound efficiency: “Two years ago we were literally cutting and pasting paper images with scissors. Now we don’t even have a printer”.


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