Los Angeles-based postproduction house Shapeshifter recently used Blackmagic Design’s Teranex 2D Processor and DaVinci Resolve color correction software to finish the feature length documentary Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.
Mel Brooks: Make a Noise recently aired on PBS as part of the popular American Masters series. The film combines celebrity interviews with archival footage to shed light on the Brooks’ personal life, creative beginnings and legendary career.
Director Robert Trachtenburg chose to shoot the film’s interviews in 4K at 23.98 fps. This footage was then edited into a 29.97 fps (DF) project and was combined with the archival footage, taken from more than five decades of Brooks in film, television and on stage, which was already 29.97 fps.
Shapeshifter colorist Randy Coonfield began color correction on the film by converting the provided 29.97 fps project back to 23.98 fps, recreating a proper link to the original footage and creating AAF files, allowing him to conform all of the 23.98 fps 4K footage in Resolve to begin color correction. He also did a large amount of zooms to reframe interviews, which had been shot with this idea in mind.
“With Resolve’s ability to work with the full resolution files, zooms of 200 percent and more still looked terrific, which is amazing,” Coonfield said. “Our work included extensive secondary color, diffusion effects and many Power Windows to create a specific look. This required a lot of tracking as well, and Resolve handled all of it perfectly.”
After color correcting and resizing the 23.98 fps material in Resolve, the team used Blackmagic Design’s Teranex 2D Processor to perform a render process that created DNxHD media for conversion back to 29.97 fps. The new, color corrected 29.97 fps footage was then cut into the sequence, replacing the original lower resolution shots. Once the timeline had been finalized at full HD resolution, a mixdown of the entire piece was created, which was again sent to Resolve for a final color pass.
“Some of the footage needed additional work, like noise reduction, sharpening, repositioning and color,” Coonfield said. “A few interviews needed more color correction or different zooming, so we went back to the 23.98 fps project. But since much of the archival footage was already color corrected, this step required very little manipulation to achieve our desired result.”
For the final step, the entire 29.97 fps mixdown was sent back to the editing team, who then overcut the archival footage and any newly created footage from the camera files, adding titles and finalizing the film.
“Using both Blackmagic’s Teranex and DaVinci Resolve really streamlined the process of finishing this film,” Coonfield said. “We combined very different elements together, and Blackmagic helped us achieve the look we were going for, which in the end helped us truly capture the essence of the legendary Mel Brooks.”