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Modern Videofilm Delivers DI Expertise To FOX

Post facility lends expertise and talent to upcoming ?I, Robot? (August 18, 2004)

?I, Robot, the 20th Century Fox Sci-Fi Thriller starring Will Smith and set to be released July 16th, is getting a DI finish at Modern VideoFilm. The facility was selected to head up the digital intermediate work for the film because of its expertise in both film and digital disciplines; the facility is highly regarded in its ability to bring the right tools and people to each project.

Patrick Esposito, Post Production Supervisor for 20th Century Fox, credits his prior experiences in working with Moderns Pat Repola, Vice President of Feature Post and Vice President of Sales, Marcie Jastrow, as a key factor in choosing Modern VideoFilm on this project, ?Its my responsibility to make sure all our facilities and personnel involved are working together to achieve the same goal, says Esposito. ?Pat is one of the best at what he does; very few people today have the understanding of both film and digital processes, and not many facilities have dedicated salespeople like Marcie shes great at spearheading projects. Working with the Modern team has been fantastic.

Modern debuted its digital intermediate service for film in 2002 with the production of James Camerons ?Ghosts of the Abyss, a 3D Imax movie shot in both SD & HD. On ?I, Robot, master colorist Skip Kimball, presents a version of each scene to the director, Alex Proyas, who attends the sessions because he ?enjoys the process and the amount of control it affords. Knowing in advance that he wanted the films look to reflect increased contrast with lots of rich blacks, the director shot the film using lots of big soft light sources ?which made the robots look great -- and now were relying on the DI process to a certain extent, to bring out the mood, he explains.

Kimball is using the Da Vinci 2K to grade for color on the film. ?The most compelling feature of the 2K is its isolation capability; says Kimball, ?multiple layers of isolation allow the director to create more powerful images. This is a creative persons dream and is fueling DIs rise in popularity. Visionary director, Proyas (?Dark City, The Crow) praises the efficiencies of the digital intermediate process saying, ?Its a joy. As a veteran of countless television commercials, Proyas has confessed his frustration with what he calls the primitive approach to timing film in the lab. ?Timing the DI way is a process that feels second-nature to me, he remarks, ?It might take traditional film-makers a while to get used to secondary color correction and windows, but due to my experience timing via telecine, Ive been counting the days for this to become a reality on my movies.

?The DI process is significant, says Repola, ?because it delays negative cutting. It provides freedom to filmmakers by allowing more time for editorial and creative decisions to be made, and allows digital effects to be timed in as you go. It also provides for the initial look to carry over to the HD masters for the home video market.

?Whats unique to this project, adds Repola, ?is that we are actually working from negative selects for 4K scanning. Were scanning the selects and conforming them using Quantels iQ in 2K with an EDL. Foxs Esposito expands, ?It is the smarter of all the models we discussed. Moderns Northlight Scanner enabled us to scan all of our production negative at 4K as opposed to industry standard 2K. In fact, all of our vfx and practical shots are scanned at 4K. It has made all the difference. This will be the first show where we will not finish cut the o-neg.

?I, Robot is set in the year 2035, when robots are an everyday household convenience. This robotic world is brought to life through a stunning array of visual effects techniques; approximately 1100 individual effects in fact which comprise nearly half the movie are being delivered from around town and as far away as New Zealand to be dropped into the film. In addition to Modern, Digital Domain is a major vendor of effects on the project as are WETA, Rainmaker and Pixel Magic. This extremely intense, around-the-clock, data management is handled via fiber link between the participating facilities; with a proprietary new network being used to ship effects back to the client. Modern also utilizes Brite Systems for storage, a Nucoda for quality control and Arrilaser Film Recorders.

Quantels iQ is the centerpiece of the MVF finishing environment with its near real-time rendering offering the ability to edit and output all formats in resolution coexistence. iQ artist, Roger Berger, individually imports the digital effects files as they are received; dropping in each new delivery with time-coded material in the order it will be used in the movie to expedite the editorial process. ?The iQ is a hub in this process, explains Berger, ?were able to gather visual effects scenes from literally around the world on a daily basis, integrate them into the editorial stream, and fold them directly into the film at the same time. There will be upwards of 100 optical and motion effects built on the iQ as well.

?This is one of the most challenging projects I have worked on in my short tenure as a post production supervisor; says Esposito, ?simply because of the magnitude of vfx, optical and production fixes that must be finished in time to meet our delivery date.

In summary Proyas concludes, ?On a film, like ?I, Robot, well be cutting in vfx shots until the very end, but we can be timing the rest of the film before hand and putting in the new shots as they become available. I cant imagine how we would have done this the old-fashioned way.

About Modern VideoFilm
Modern VideoFilm is a full service post production company with four facilities in the Los Angeles Area.

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Related Keywords:Modern Videofilm, DI, FOX, I, Robot, 20th Century Fox, digital intermediate, Patrick Esposito, Pat Repola, Marcie Jastrow, Skip Kimball, Da Vinci 2K, telecine, Quantel?s iQ, Northlight Scanner, Digital Domain, WETA, Rainmaker, Pixel Magic, Brite Systems, Nucoda, Arrilaser, Roger Berger, vfx,


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