Colorworks provided 4K postproduction finishing services for Eldorado, a motion picture short, produced by Sony to demonstrate the capabilities of its F65 CineAlta digital motion picture camera. Eldorado, which debuted at NAB 2012, was written, directed and lensed by Curtis Clark, ASC, who also directed The Arrival, a short film shot with the F65 last year.
The new short, which runs eight minutes, tells the story of a woman’s enigmatic spiritual journey in the Nevada desert, one set in motion by a game of chance and conducted from behind the wheel of a gleaming, 1957 Cadillac Eldorado. Shot in Las Vegas and in nearby Valley of Fire State Park, it takes advantage of the F65’s ability to capture detail and rich, finely delineated colors with images of neon signage and magnificent rock formations.
Clark shot Eldorado exclusively with the F65 camera capturing 4K imagery in 16-bit linear RAW format using Sony’s new SR-Master field recorder, including a time-lapse sequence showing a dawn-to-sunrise transition.
“Eldorado shows the latest evolution of the F65 camera, which includes the full 16-bit color space,” explained Clark. “It is the first digital motion picture camera that is able to reproduce all of the characteristics I expect to get with film, at the highest quality and including spatial resolution comparable to 65mm film.”
Final postproduction was completed in 4K at Colorworks. Colorist Steve Bowen performed final color grading on a Baselight system, working directly with the original 4K RAW files in an ACES environment.
“Colorworks’ 4K pipeline includes the tools and infrastructure necessary to handle ACES color management,” noted Clark. “The ability to work in 16-bit, to retain its integrity and take full advantage of it in color grading, was essential to the experience I wanted audiences to have. It depended on that exceptional quality for its poetic image associations.”
Although managing the image data required considerable horsepower, the actual work of grading the imagery was relatively uncomplicated. “The images are easy to work with because you don’t have to fix anything,” explained Bowen. “The images are so clean down to the blacks that you don’t have to chase problems.”
For Clark, the F65 camera and Colorworks’ 4K ACES pipeline open new possibilities for creative expression. “It’s a very effective creative tool for telling stories that take advantage of its immersive qualities,” he said. “Shots can be held longer; they have an amazing amount of textural detail and subtlety. It engages you on an emotional level that you couldn’t have with a lesser camera or a workflow incapable of preserving it.”