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Film Factory Creates Innovative Color Pipeline for The Immortals


Paris-based post house Film Factory recently finished Relativity Media’s The Immortals. To help bring the visually rich film to fruition, Film Factory senior colorist and postproduction supervisor Lionel Kopp collaborated with the filmmakers to create a unique dailies-to-DI process built around Image Systems’ Nucoda Film Master.

The visual effects-heavy movie, releasing in 2D and 3D, required cutting-edge looks and the right tools to create a strong graphical vision for the story. The Nucoda grading and mastering system gave the company the toolset necessary to achieve the surreal look, and streamlined the workflow, which included over 12 VFX houses around the globe.

From the producers of 300 and director Tarsem Singh, The Immortals is the mythical tale of a power-mad king (played by Mickey Rourke) who assails ancient Greece and threatens to destroy mankind, until a young villager (played by Henry Cavill) rises up against him. The movie was produced in Montreal, and photographed by cinematographer Brendan Galvin.

Film Factory established a workflow that centered around the Nucoda Film Master, which married an on-set process to the final color pass. The Film Master system, which included a SAN and Nucoda Fuse assist station, were installed on set at Mel’s Studios in Montreal. On set, camera dailies from the Panavision Genesis HD camera were sent to the editing room in DNX 175 format with color settings. Those settings were carried through in dailies, with the raw camera data held for future changes and final color. Kopp graded every take from the first day of dailies through completion of the DI, helping to establish a look from the earliest point possible. In dailies, he could adjust the looks with notes from the director or cinematographer, and make ongoing changes to the images. As visual effects came in, they were graded and cut, creating a unified version.

“The Nucoda grading and mastering solution was the hub for everything, which was a powerful home base,” said Kopp. “Dailies settings, visual effects, and the DI were all managed in the Nucoda Film Master.”

Film Factory had made the decision to control the postproduction of the movie in-house. Film Factory’s second colorist Marc Boucrot explained, “A DI, especially one for a huge movie, is usually done in a big postproduction facility, but Film Factory saw value and flexibility in keeping the process in-house. Since most companies don’t have the expertise to build a fully functional and successful DI pipeline, we set out to make it happen. Film Factory built a screening environment and color timing areas right by the production offices. It was a risk, but it was a great success creatively and logistically.”

Kopp added that “our thoughts about how to bring the creative vision of the filmmakers to life was greatly helped by the Nucoda Film Master. It was extremely helpful to be able to start ‘grading’ the film from day one, incorporating color graded visual effects and easily moving elements between set, editorial and DI.”

The Immortals is a 2D and 3D release, but 90% of the feature was shot in 2D. “When we received the conform of the 3D material, we were able to go into the Nucoda and do a final pass of the stereoscopic material,” explained Kopp. “We brought in the senior stereographer from the production to make sure everything was in order for the 3D, and the Nucoda helped make that process flawless.”

“The movie looks incredible; it’s a visual accomplishment, and we are honored to work with Lionel and our talented customers at Film Factory,” said Martin Bennett, MD of media for Image Systems. “We are excited to continue our relationship with them on Mirror Mirror, currently in postproduction, and 10 other films in the pipeline.”

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