On Sight Facility London

A Tale of Four Cities: International Collaboration for New Concert Film

London-based OnSight teams up with Borderless Films in Seoul to grade concert documentary of K-Pop superstars BTS.

There’s no denying that BTS are the biggest musical act on the planet as of 2022. The Korean pop (or, K-pop) ensemble has found success worldwide with their hit singles such as “Dynamite” and “Butter,” and are noted for being the first artist to have a number one hit in 104 countries simultaneously.

K-pop is a billion dollar industry that includes not only music but movies, television and merchandise, so, it makes perfect sense that BTS would make the transition to film. The 2022 concert documentary, BTS: Permission to Dance on Stage – LA, chronicles the group’s return to the stage with their first series of shows with a live audience since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Produced by Korean production company Borderless Film, in conjunction with HYBE Corporation, the documentary was shot in 4K with Dolby Vision at the SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles during the fall of 2021. The film was picked up for distribution by Disney, and was later released as a surprise drop on their Disney+ streaming service.

So, how do you perfect an international pop sensation for a secret film release? With an equally international collective effort, of course! Enter OnSight Ltd.

UK-based post house OnSight Ltd. has been a key player in the industry for over 30 years. They provide their services for both documentary and narrative features, but are particularly renowned for their work on concert footage and music documentaries. Previous subjects OnSight has worked on include acts such Pink Floyd, AC/DC and Sam Smith.

Borderless reached out to OnSight after seeing the work of Steve Atkins, freelance colorist and frequent OnSight collaborator. Atkins previously worked on media featuring artists such as Taylor Swift, Coldplay and The Rolling Stones. Borderless was impressed by Atkin’s work on Taylor Swift’s 2018 concert feature for Netflix and wanted the same quality for the BTS feature they were developing.

OnSight's London grading suite and top-notch team used Streambox Chroma 4Ks to collaborate with Borderless Films in Seoul.

Edit suite

With Atkins and OnSight on board, the internationally produced project was underway.

OnSight and Borderless Films are 5,500 miles apart, so over-the-shoulder review sessions were obviously not practical. OnSight looked to Streambox for a solution that would allow them to livestream color grading sessions at 4K HDR to Borderless’ office in Seoul for review. Streaming 4K media over IP to the opposite side of the globe is no easy feat. And with the added pressure of grading the biggest band in the world, OnSight really had their work cut out for them.

“There was no space to fail,” said Joana Coelho, post producer at OnSight. Thankfully, Streambox provides solutions for just this kind of task!

The Chroma 4K encoder/decoder was an ideal solution as it can handle resolutions up to and including 4K 12 Bit 4:4:4. The Emmy Award winning codec provides a stable, review quality signal over ordinary IP connections with super low latency. Chroma 4K as both an encoder and decoder, so using the same product on both ends of the connection made setup easy. for convenience and functionality, and even features additional support for Dolby Vision workflows. Its functionality plus dependability made it the perfect choice for OnSight’s task at hand.

“Without it, we wouldn't have been able to stream to Korea,” said Coelho.

To everyone’s delight, Borderless were able to conduct the review sessions in spectacular 4K over IP without any dropped frames or loss in signal quality - in effect, a virtual over-the-shoulder experience. From there, production went smoothly and, on September 8, 2022, the documentary was released as a surprise to Disney+ subscribers to celebrate the streaming service's anniversary.

Reception to the concert film has been universally positive, with many reviewers noting the exceptional film quality and vibrant color palette. It even pleased the band’s most vocal critics—the fans.

“I went on [BTS] fandom Twitter on the day [the film] came out, and saw that people were really liking it,” said Coelho. “They were freaking out! I really enjoyed that we contributed to something that makes a lot of people happy.”

And that’s the story of how a concert filmed in L.A. came to be graded in London and streamed to Seoul using technology made in Seattle. Although it may feel like the world has gotten a lot more distanced from each other over the past couple years, the power of technology has given us the tools to come together virtually and accomplish great things with people all across the globe.

Streambox develops products that help close the distance between us and make the world feel just a little more connected-- no matter where you are.