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March 2012

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But before long, Hollywood DI was beta testing DaVinci Resolve and was "genuinely surprised" by the experience. "It was obvious that Blackmagic had not only preserved the functionality of DaVinci but also fine tuned it to run on GPU cards. We discovered the PCI expansion box — we use Cyclone — so you're no longer limited by the architecture of Mac Pro. The software function- ality of Resolve combined with the power of GPU gaming cards opened up a whole new world." Hollywood DI was still beta testing DaVinci Resolve 8 when colorist Bjorn Myrholt opted to use it to color grade the Kevin Hart feature, Laugh At My Pain, last year. Now, he and colorists Andrew Balis and Aaron Peak have migrated entirely to Resolve. "To demonstrate the diversity of the system, Andrew graded the Discov- ery Channel series, Weed Wars, and Aaron did the Bob Goldthwaite feature, God Bless America, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival," says Smith. "And Bjorn is finishing the company's first indie stereo 3D film, Static. "Stereo 3D grading requires a lot more horsepower," Smith notes. "Origi- nally Blackmagic didn't recommend the Mac version for 3D grading, only the Unix platform, but we tested [the Mac version] using three Nvidia GeForce GTX 480 graphics cards and were able to do 3D. Then, at the end of last year, Blackmagic came out with a PC version of Resolve that runs 3D natively. So we bought a new PC with an expansion box from our local integrator, Globalstor, and moved Static over to the PC version running on three Quadra 6000s." Hollywood DI is providing a full package of services for Static, in fact. It was conformed on one of the company's Avid Media Composer 6 systems. "Using Avid's own cool 3D tools you can cut in stereo and quickly see the 3D pacing on the stereo monitor," says Smith. "Then we took Static into Resolve for color grading and stereo sweetening at the same time as enhancing the 3D VFX shots that were delivered from Maya Digital Systems in India. We were able to do the final geometry finessing and color all on one system at high quality with tremen- dous cost benefits, especially for indie filmmakers." To mark the change in the role of DI in post, Smith has even changed the tagline of this company name: The DI in Hollywood DI now stands for "Digital Imagination" — the digital revolution going hand-in-hand with the creative revo- lution, he explains. STUCK ON ON At Austin finishing house Stuck On On (, colorist/part- ner Parke Gregg observes that, "DI is part of everything today." But the term itself can be problematic for clients who don't come from the film world. "DI has quickly become a legacy term associated with feature films," he says. "But now it covers the whole post process and the mature tool set that you use whether you're doing a commercial, a documentary short or a film going into theaters," a range of work that comprises Stuck On On's clients. After locking picture, projects come to Stuck On On for one-stop finishing, says Gregg. "We can do everything from digital lab services — dailies and one- lights — to a spit-and-polish finish, including audio." The facility is equipped with Assimilate Scratch, its "workhorse" color tool, and DaVinci Resolve. "We were originally attracted to Scratch for its Swiss army knife set of tools," he says. "It has a wide variety of capabilities and very efficient processing and performance; we run it on a pretty beefed up computer system so we can crunch quickly through high-resolution imagery like 5K Red footage and DPX scans." Last year Stuck On On did all the finishing for the indie film Take Shelter, released by Sony Pictures Classics. "While the production was very traditional 35mm, the post was very modern," says Gregg. "We brought all the VFX elements and films scans into Scratch for finishing, polishing and making final deliverables." The story features some supernatural events although it's rooted in reality. "There was an effort from the beginning to get into a space where the picture was beautiful but also very realistic so the audience could relate to it," Gregg explains. "That can be the most difficult kind of color work — there's nothing to hide behind. The skin tones, ambient light, color of grass all were very important and couldn't be off or go into a different space. Although we were starting from negative and had a lot of latitude, we had to really work it to get to a place direc- tor Jeff Nichols and I felt comfortable with." Stuck On On just finished the indie comedy Somebody Up There Likes Me, Stuck On On worked on Assimilate Scratch for Take Shelter. Parke Gregg (seated) is pictured with co-owner Lyman Hardy. The studio's third partner is Allison Turrell. which was shot with a Sony PMW-F3 camera and has been accepted to SXSW. "Although it had a smaller budget than Take Shelter, because of our toolset and the structure of a boutique finishing house, we could give the same attention to it as to a bigger-budget project," says Gregg. "We put our all into every project we work on, and Scratch makes it easy to fulfill our promises." Somebody Up There Likes Me is a dark comedy, he notes, "so to a certain extent the look was established on the set. We needed to uplift it in some parts; it still looks normal and realistic but the saturation levels were a bit higher. And there were certain thematic elements throughout, like flowers that always needed to be well lit and colorful. In DI you can relight a shot and add focus to help guide the audience to pick up on certain cues." DPs using digital cameras have to be careful about protecting highlights and shadows, he says, although they can use the limits of their cameras to their own advantage. "With the F3 there was a good chance that the highlights would be blown out. But director Bob Byington and DP Sean Price Williams built that look into a scene: They backlit it so they'd have a blooming window — it became a style and was quite effective." Located in the film capital of Texas, Stuck On On has DIs for two more features on tap. The Taiwan Oyster is a "road trip" film about two expats teaching English in Taiwan; Boneboys, from the writer of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, is a "very stylized" horror story with a DI designed to "heighten the scariness," says Gregg. INCENDIO At eight-month-old post production boutique Incendio ( in Venice, CA, a pair of Image Systems' Nucoda Film Masters with Precision panels is manned by founders/colorists Clark Muller and Adolfo Martinelli. They agree that the DI nomenclature may be out of date. "We're hesitant to call it DI," says Martinelli. "It's not really an intermediate to anything for us." "The telecine or scanner used to be the centerpiece of our process, but these days you don't need them," says Muller. "We're smaller and more compact but offer the same or more power — you don't need masses of infrastructure. Set- ting up a nonlinear system without a film scanner isn't a new model; we're just a leaner version." "We try to be more efficient," Martinelli adds. "We conformed a whole movie, The First Time, within Film Master in less than two hours with the help of our own custom data management software. We try to use technology where we can instead of manpower." For The First Time, a 2011 Sundance selection, after Martinelli and Muller loaded in the EDLs, their data management software "traversed the whole direc- tory structure of the production drives, finding clips and copying only the trims of shots we were using with handles," Martinelli explains. "That saves a lot of time as well as storage on the SAN." Post • March 2012 21

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