Avid recently served as co-producer of Two-Legged Rat Bastards, a short film directed by Scott Weintrob from a story by Daniel Wallace (screenwriter of the cult hit Big Fish). Currently on the festival circuit, the film is the darkly humorous tale of Eddie, an aging, ill-tempered alcoholic (Orson Bean) who tries to reconnect with his estranged son Winstead (Derek Waters).
The film was produced by Tova Dann and Weintrob of the Hollywood-based production company Limey, in association with Avid and digital camera-maker RED. A number of other prominent companies, including color grading specialist FilmLight, provided equipment and services. “Avid has a long history of supporting the creative community,” said Avid worldwide marketing manager, postproduction Vincent Maza. “Personally, I was hooked when I read the script. It was very good. It had an edge that you don’t see very often.”
Two-Legged Rat Bastards also provided an opportunity to test drive an innovative 4K workflow. The film was shot with RED’s RED One digital cinema camera, equipped with a Mysterium-X sensor (which can record at resolutions up to 5K), and edited on Media Composer 5.5, the latest version of Avid’s industry-leading editing system. Final grading was accomplished via FilmLight’s Baselight FOUR color grading system, which has the ability to grade native 4K RED files in real-time while working directly from a Media Composer AAF file, containing editorial information.
This workflow has important implications for film production, Maza noted, especially for budget-conscious independent projects like Two-Legged Rat Bastards. “The great thing about this RED workflow is that it is very simple,” Maza said. “When production wraps, the raw RED files go through a one-step transcoding process to DNxHD and they are ready for editing in Media Composer. Once editorial is completed, the raw RED files are imported into Baselight along with Media Composer’s AAF file. The project is then ready for grading at 4K. There is nothing difficult about it.”
An early version of the film was screened in April at NAB at the RED booth in its 4K theater. It has since screened at the London International Film Festival and will screen at the St. Louis International Film Festival, Nov. 14. It is also screening at Laemle Theatres in Southern California.