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Framestore CFC Provides DI and Effects on The Proposition

A mesmerizing Australian western that occurs in a raw and brutal land (February 24, 2006)

The Proposition opens in the UK on 10th March 2006, arriving on a wave of critical acclaim from Australia, where it opened last year, and from film festivals around the world. Featuring a stellar cast, including Guy Pearce, Emily Watson, Ray Winstone, David Wenham, John Hurt and Danny Huston, The Proposition was directed by John Hillcoat, with Cinematography by Benoît Delhomme. The film was written (and scored) by celebrated writer, musician and artist Nick Cave, and produced by Autonomous' Chiara Menage and Cat Villiers. The film's Digital Intermediate, as well as its digital VFX, were created by Framestore CFC.

The Proposition is a powerful and epic story, an uncompromising Australian period drama, where conscience competes with loyalty and love spurs revenge. Set in the 1880s, the film opens in the middle of a frenzied gunfight between the police and a gang of outlaws. Charlie Burns (Guy Pearce) and his brother Mikey are captured by Captain Stanley (Ray Winstone). Together with their formidable brother Arthur (Danny Huston), they are wanted for a brutal crime. Stanley makes Charlie a seemingly impossible proposition in an attempt to bring an end to the cycle of turmoil.

Shot on location in the remote town of Winton, Queensland, The Proposition is more than a gripping drama. It features, in the words of one critic, "Some of the most gorgeous photography of the Australian outback ever committed to film, showcasing its unique desolate beauty." Cinematographer Benoît Delhomme, who has worked with directors as diverse as Mamet, Winterbottom, Figgis, and Beineix, came to the arid locations of The Proposition fresh from the liquid streets of Venice, where he shot The Merchant of Venice. His cinematography here emphasizes Australia's harsh glare and limitless landscapes, making the outback look like a living hell during the day and heaven on earth at night.


Delhomme oversaw The Proposition's Digital Intermediate, working with Framestore CFC colourist Adam Glasman, with the film's director, John Hillcoat also attending many review sessions. It was Delhomme's first experience of the DI process. "It gave me the tools I never had before," he enthuses, "One of the key ideas John Hillcoat and I shared from the start was to feature the Australian landscape as one of the main characters in the story. So, as an actor, it needed a special treatment in postproduction...I really enjoyed being able to pause the images and think about how to make the compositions stronger and more graphic." Says Glasman, "As so often with great cinematographers, most of what Benoît wanted had already been achieved in camera. But there were areas of emphasis he wanted to address, as well as the occasional circumstantial fix."

"Working with Adam (Glasman) we often desaturated the strong blue skies towards pale blue grey," recalls Delhomme, "And we saturated the dusty yellow beige texture of the ground and rocks. We pushed the feeling of harshness and heat, making the place look really inhospitable!" Adds Glasman, "Winton, the area in Queensland in which the film was shot, has a strikingly red soil, and Benoît wished to bring this up a little in some of the shots. We made sure that it had that sort of scorched, red earth look - sweaty and hot."

In addition, a few scenes had taken a long time to shoot. "The flogging scene was shot over the course of one or two days," explains Glasman, "Which entailed massive changes of light. With wide open spaces like that, when the light goes it really goes very quickly, so some of the shots towards the end were extremely dark. So we had to pull up areas of the frame to make it match it worked very well."

The Proposition also features some 25 digital VFX shots, the work on which was supervised by Framestore CFC's Rob Duncan. "The feel of the film is very gritty, very real," he says, "So the work we did was very discreet. We did a little matte work, extending the town. We added some digital flies though they had plenty of the real thing in most shots. And we enhanced some of the violence, doing things that would have been impossible practically."
 
 
The Proposition
Director John Hillcoat
Producers Chiara Menage, Cat Villiers, Chris Brown, Jackie O'Sullivan
Director of Photography Benoît Delhomme

For Framestore CFC
VFX Supervisor Rob Duncan
Compositing Artists Sule Bryan Hurst, Kate Cuffin, John Sharp
VFX Producer Piers Hampton

Digital Intermediate
Colourist Adam Glasman
Producer Maria Stroka
Senior Producer Claire McGrane
Executive Producer Jan Hogevold
Digital Assembly Brian Krijgsman
Editorial Donna Smith
Neg Logger Oliver Deen
Scanning and Recording Manager Andy Burrow
Scanning, Recording and Digital Clean Up James Clarke, Dan Perry, Annabel Wright, Jonathan Dredge, Matina Skouteri, Paola Varvaro, Joe Godfrey, Kevin Lowery, Paul Doogan, Jason Burnett, Tom Bunnell, Gareth Jones, Adam Hawkes, Benedict Gillingham-Sutton
Data Operators Dianne Gordon, Maria Michalopoulou, Charlie Habanananda, Stuart Nippard
Film Mastering Engineer Alistair Hamer


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