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Paparazzi Gets Final Touches At LaserPacificDaryn Okada times DVD, HD and TV versions of film ‘Paparazzi’ (June 14, 2004)
Daryn Okada, ASC put the finishing touches on the DVD, HD and standard television versions of Paparazzi here this week at LaserPacific Media Corporation. The cinematographer had previously timed the widescreen version of the feature film during digital intermediate sessions at the same facility. In both situations, Okada timed the film for continuity, while adding painterly strokes of color, contrast, light and darkness to create a sense of time and place and to visually punctuate the drama.
"I believe this is the way of the future," says Okada. "You have tremendous control over nuances in the look, which affects how the audience experiences the movie. I worked with the same colorist, Frank Roman, while timing both the film and home video releases. That was important because he got inside my mind and saw the film the way I did. We timed the film version in a realistic cinema environment and the video releases in a high definition suite. That makes a big difference in perception."
Paparazzi is a drama spiced with Hollywood glamour about paparazzi harassing an actor and his family. Scenes include a dramatic car chase on the streets of Los Angeles. The film was directed by Paul Abascal with the ensemble cast including Cole Hauser, Robin Tunney, Tom Sizemore and Dennis Farina. It was produced at practical locations in Los Angeles by Icon Productions with theatrical distribution slated by 20th Century Fox during the early fall of 2004.
"At our first meeting, Paul (Abascal) had an image in his head, calling for a slightly hypnotic surrealistic look with very rich black tones and very saturated colors," says Okada. "I didn't think that bleach bypass or another photochemical process was the right approach because they tend to de-saturate the color and give you a grittier look. Because of the Hollywood angle, we wanted a more glamorous look with enhanced contrast and saturated colors."
Paparazzi marks one of the first major collaborations between the creative and technical staffs at Cinesite and LaserPacific since Kodak acquired LaserPacific in October 2003.
"Paparazzi illustrates the power of Kodak's new services focus," says Leon Silverman, director of strategic business development for Kodak's Entertainment Imaging Services in addition to his executive vice president role at LaserPacific. "Our expanding depth of scanning and color timing resources gives our customers enormous advantages in creative flexibility and efficiency."
Okada envisioned a digital intermediate finish from the beginning for Paparazzi, which was produced in Super 35 format in 2.4:1 aspect ratio.
"A digital intermediate finish provides a big advantage in image quality when you produce movies in Super 35 format," Roman observes. "It enables you to skip an optical step at the film lab. Instead, you record the digital files in 2.4:1 aspect ratio directly onto color intermediate film used as a master for release printing. It's a much truer reflection of the intentions of the filmmakers."
Okada says he recommended LaserPacific as the digital intermediate facility for timing Paparazzi because of both the advanced technology and the environment that it provides for timing cinema and television releases.
"The theater where we timed the film at LaserPacific looks and feels like a cinema," Okada explains. "I was looking at the film the way the audience will see it on a big screen. The theater is set up with the latest Texas Instruments 2K projector."
Okada cites his close working relationship with LaserPacific Engineering Vice President Doug Jaqua as key to the success of his experience. "Doug was amazing in his ability to transfer the nuances of the images displayed on a 33 foot digital screen directly to film. He and LaserPacific have created a workflow that yields incredible contrast and dynamic range through the digital intermediate process."
Roman notes that digital timing is an interactive process.
"Daryn would look at the images as we projected them on the screen and say, 'Do you see that highlight on the back of that head? Let's tone that down a bit because we don't want the audience drawn to that part of the screen.' I would tone it down a bit. He would see the results immediately on the screen, and either agree or ask me to tone it down less or more. We paid a lot of attention to making the sky brighter or darker, and also enhancing colors, black tones and highlights to get the organic look they wanted."
Paparazzi was produced during an ambitious 38-day shooting schedule. Okada notes that many exterior scenes had to be timed for seamless continuity because they included elements of shots filmed at different times of day or from various angles to accommodate the schedule. They also had to integrate dissolves and other digital opticals while he was working with Roman to put the final touches on the look.
Efficiency was also a factor. Okada explains that he had to assure the studio and producers they could time Paparazzi in a digital suite on approximately the same schedule required for a traditional optical finish.
Okada says it took six to seven days to time the film with Roman. LaserPacific recorded the timed digital files onto Eastman ESTAR intermediate film. While some of the releases will be a result of the traditional interpostive/internegative route, Okada championed the idea of an ESTAR element. Icon will use this component to create a number of direct "show prints" with first-generation quality, after the normal protection intermediates are struck.
"The power of these new tools and this process allows for enormous flexibility," Okada says. "That's why it is important for this to be done with a single set of eyes by the original cinematographer. I believe this is a natural extension of our role."
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