It took a unique behind-the-scenes workflow in order for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey to become the first widely released feature film to be exhibited at 48 frames per second. Park Road Post general manager Cameron Harland said that, together with SGO Mistika, it took two-and-a-half years of research, development, testing and refinement to create this workflow. “From on-set services, grading and exhibiting HFR digital dailies through to the DI online, stereoscopic work and final color grading, it was a massive undertaking,” he said.
Using SGO’s Mistika platform as the hub of its DI infrastructure, Park Road in partnership with SGO, co-developed tools across the entire pipeline. SGO worked in parallel with the team in Wellington from pre-production through to final delivery of the film developing the tools and HFR features needed to meet the demands of this complicated production.
“When the decision was made to film and post The Hobbit in 48fps 3D, there wasn’t any one product on the market capable of delivering what was needed,” said Dave Hollingsworth, Park Road’s head of picture and supervising digital colorist for The Hobbit. “SGO had, by far, the best stereo toolset available, and equally importantly, they had a passionate and highly skilled development team that demonstrated an absolute commitment to developing everything else we needed to deliver this film.”
“We wanted to create a complete pipeline, based on one platform, from dailies work and dailies screenings right through to final online, stereo and color grading,” Park Road’s head of technology, Phil Oatley said. “The Mistika provided a platform that was flexible and robust, gave us even greater speed than what is normally required for your average 2D 24fps project and was so good that the filmmakers never noticed that we were dealing with four times the data of a normal feature.”