Free-ads - Forum News and columns Features & Interviews Film links Calendar dates for festivals Contact details Statistical Info Funding Info
site web
About Netribution Contact Netribution Search Netribution


interviews / reviews / how to / short shout / carnal cinema / film theory / whining & dining

netribution > features > gary napier > page two

What's this process called?
The digital intermediate process is replacing the intermediate process in the labs where traditionally they've done the blow up, the grading and got it to check print stage and then answer print. This is the marriage of traditional film craft so everything up until picture lock is traditional film production. From the neg cutting stage we take the neg with cut handle, ultrasonically cleaned, and then we take that cut neg to check print stage and then it goes back to the lab for answer print. The whole process takes about five weeks and runs very much in parallel with the sound mix and one can normally finish a little bit earlier than the sound so the final mix can be done to the print.

Is that all done here?
All here with the exception of the film re-recording which is done out in Copenhagen but all the artistic input is here.

How do you consult with the filmmakers on the techniques you have available?
Well we try to get the DoP in as early as possible to do some tests. That's the first stage because it's very important to determine what stock or mixture of stocks to use. If the main body of the film is on 16mm but the green or blue screen stuff is on 35mm then we can advise on the best stocks to use.

We do the tests with the DoP so he can grade some material and see what it looks like, stocks, grain structure etc. We have a preview theatre in house so you can see the grain on the datacine and in the Inferno workstation as it's being turned into data and then you can see that material as film print all in the same day. You can go from station to station to see that we've got a consistency through the system that guarantees that what you grade at the front end, you get as your print.

That's a key element to what we were talking earlier about a change of mindset, It's also a change of technology in terms of having software that guarantees a seamless one light print in the lab. What you grade in the telecine is the print you get - that's come from software that we developed in Copenhagen, nobody else has that software at the moment.

Can you give us a specific example of how you've managed to save a filmmaker costs they would have incurred elsewhere or certain new effects now possible?
We can offer different looks for features, from full saturation to de-saturating certain scenes. For example, on a Finnish feature we recently finished we've full colour and slowly de saturated to black and white but leaving some items, strawberries I think, in full colour. In a feature called Wisconsin Death Trip we've taken colour to black and white and back again on numerous occasions and each transition is utterly seamless.

You can really have any look you want for your film through the telecine that would just be impossible to achieve in a chemical laboratory where you are very much restricted to a bleach bypass.

Again for me, ignorant of how things were before, what was the filmmaker limited to with traditional methods and technologies?
In traditional film production you'd shoot with certain lenses to get specific looks or you can go to a lab and simply opt for a bleach bypass (silver retention in the film to achieve different looks). We've much more sophisticated tools here. We can condense high lights and low lights into the latitude of the film so you can retain detail in both, traditionally you wouldn't have been able to do that. We can add secondary windows, we can change sky colours, there really is very little in terms of look or grain that we can't achieve here.

It's a very creative process but what we have honed down is how long it takes to grade a complete feature, from 50 to perhaps 70 hours depending on how complicated it is. It's not an open ended amount of time that a producer has to worry about anymore, we really know that a feature is going to come in on day one and, five weeks later, six weeks depending on how complicated it is, you will have the finished film.

Others will take much longer to grade a feature because they don't have the calibration. We know and have the track record to prove that a feature will come to us and leave again within five to six weeks, as little as three weeks for simple work. That's the guarantee with give with a fixed budget - unless the parameters change dramatically, like paying us to cut the feature.

What has been the reaction from the trade press and from filmmakers to this rather radical advance in post production methods?
The reactions have been extremely favourable and I suppose we are also dealing with the top DoP's…they've seen the material and are very enthusiastic because this is only adding to their craftsmanship. It's not a threat to their skill levels at all, this just gives them more breadth to be creative.

We've been extremely well received by DoP's. For producers it's a question of money and we span a number of budgets. Many have difficulty accepting that this is going to save them money; it's a bit like buying a bus pass - once you've bought it you can go anywhere! (laughs) Traditionally, you pay for most of what we offer separately and that can become very expensive. Rather than a reactionary approach we'd much rather they came in at the very beginning because we then hope to be ale to save the shooting days and be able to do everything cost effectively.

Wonderful! What else should I ask you?
Good God, I don't know! (laughs) Do you want to have a look around?

Yes please.

Copyright © Netribution Ltd 1999-2002
searchhomeabout usprivacy policy