Michel Trudel Inc., operators of Canada’s largest production studio, supplied Codex recording and workflow technologies to the long anticipated sequel to Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick, tentatively titled Riddick. Codex Onboard recorders were used to capture ARRIRAW data from two ARRI Alexa cameras. A Codex Transfer Station was used for on-set dailies processing, backup and deliverables production.
As with the franchise’s first film Pitch Black, Riddick united director David Twohy and cinematographer David Eggby, ACS. Principal photography was completed on four stages with full sets. The sets described alien landscapes that filled the entire floor space and allowed Eggby and his crew to shoot 360-degrees. One stage alone was rigged with more than 500 feet of green screen material.
The Codex recorders used in the production not only facilitated the capture of ARRIRAW data, they also proved flexible in demanding production situations. The recorders were mounted to the Alexa cameras using Anton Bauer adapters installed by technicians from Trudel. That allowed camera crew to switch from top mounts to back of the camera positions without unplugging cables.
“Being able to record up to 46 minutes at 23.98 fps on a single 512 GB data pack was a major plus,” said Eggby, “especially as we were using a Technocrane every day. We didn’t have to stress about running out.” Eggby added that the Codex recorders allowed him to change recording speeds without having to change data packs, which also helped the production to work rapidly.
The recorders held up well under unusual shooting conditions, including sand and rain storms. “We encountered zero events in either situation,” said Eggby, “even with recorders that were on the Technocrane, underwater, banged up and subject to very little ventilation over long stretches of time. They never failed, never shut off and never lost data. The Codex recorders performed without a glitch – they were dirty, but that was it.”
Riddick was the first film shot at the facility using the Codex/Arri Alexa/ARRIRAW workflow. “The crew were very happy with the Codex system; they experienced no problems and found it easy to use,” noted Frederic Boucher, director of Michel Trudel’s camera department. “This was only the second digitally-captured film for David Eggby and he was very impressed with the results. If the next film is shot digitally, Eggby would like to use the Codex/ARRIRAW workflow for it as well.”
Michel Trudel was also impressed by the experience. “Codex is the best system for shooting ARRIRAW,” Boucher said. “Now that we know the system, we can offer it to local producers and to the major studios.” Michel Trudel has recently supplied gear and shooting facilities to Columbia Pictures, Fox and Warner Bros.