Mac workstations, PowerBooks, Cubes, and Apple software help produce scenes for the CBS series, “The District,” according to an
Apple Hot News article.
The TV show concerns, in part, how the police chief of Washington, D.C., uses statistical analysis, crime mapping and old-fashioned police work to lower the crime rate in the nation’s capital. The series is based on the real life story of the late Jack Maple (played by actor Craig T. Nelson) who applied his crime fighting techniques as Deputy Commissioner of the New York Police Department.
Maple developed Mac-based statistical tracking system software to target heavy crime areas. Within two years, New York’s murder rate decreased by 50 percent and overall crime declined by 39 percent, according to Apple. Naturally, on the show, Apple products have an important role.
Much of “The District” concerns COMSTAT (COMputer STATistics), a high-tech nerve center where historical data about the city’s crime is geographically mapped, revealing patterns and distributions of where the crime is focused, according to Brenton Fletcher, computer visual effects supervisor. All the graphics in COMSTAT are created on Macs.
“When we shoot film in the COMSTAT set, Macs are interactively displaying the crime statistics,” Fletcher told Apple. “Six Macs sit in a multimedia room, where a staff of two edit images and video footage for computers on the set, faux television shows to run in the background of scenes and images that run on three screens on the COMSTAT set. The huge COMSTAT screens in the show run off of two Power Mac G4 Cubes.”
You can’t necessarily see that the screens are Mac powered, but they are. Apple technology also plays a key role behind the scenes as well. At almost all times on the show at least two PowerBooks accompany Director Jim Charleston.
On Mac editing stations, the show’s staff creates 3D elements in Maya, add Photoshop elements in After Effects, bring that into Final Cut Pro to add live action video, then create a module to play back in Director as a fully interactive playback element. Not only does Apple products facilitate the show’s production, but the crew of “The District” has been very impressed by the hardware and software they’ve seen and used.
In fact, in just one year, 60 percent of the crew on “The District” switched to the Mac, according to Apple. “There is simply no other option for creative professionals in an industry like ours,” Mac evangelist Mellanie Bradfield, who works as consistency expert on the series, said.
Bradfield herself bought a couple of iMacs for her kids. She liked them so well that she now uses iMacs to keep track of scenes and details on “The District” set.