“The story of evolutionary flight is one I’ve always wanted to tell… It’s our most ambitious yet.” David Attenborough
The spellbinding visual account of how flying animals evolved into the familiar species we see today, became a reality in stunning documentary series David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies, produced by Atlantic Productions with the help of SGO’s powerful and cutting-edge Mistika technology at ONSIGHT. As well as winning a 2014 BAFTA, the landmark series was recently nominated for a British Academy Television Craft Award for Special, Visual & Graphic Effects. The results are announced at the ceremony in London on Sunday 26 April.
The award-winning post division at ONSIGHT used Mistika once again on its seventh Attenborough project for Colossus Productions, which depicted complex flight skills with creative ingenuity. Formats used included 4K, HD, 3D and 2D including a bespoke 4K workflow design built by the ONSIGHT Post division. After also providing R&D and camera solutions for the project, the facility worked with massive amounts of data amounting to approximately 50 terrabytes and a variety of camera formats such as RED Epic. In post, ONSIGHT provided plate preparations, DI, VFX, conform, QC, mastering and deliverables in 3D and 2D across its numerous high-tech suites at its London facility. This included the ability to screen 4K masters, combining 5K live action with 4K VFX and CGI.
ONSIGHT’s Senior Colourist Andy Lee benefited from Mistika’s real-time speed and flexibility which enabled him to freely alternate between the colour and depth grades, as well as the VFX conform. Furthermore, Mistika’s wide spectrum of grading toolsets equipped him with a vivid and colourful array to enhance the remarkable features of winged creatures ranging from birds to butterflies, with eye-catching colour. In addition, he graded subtle tones to convey the changing landscapes filmed in places such as Ecuador to the grey palettes of Scottish skies.
Andy Lee has graded many of the award-winning Attenborough projects from Atlantic and Colossus Productions. He said, “Mistika allows me to work with ease across multiple formats, frame sizes and deliverables. David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies is an example of one of our extensive and innovative projects in 3D and 2D, which requires that level of flexibility, benefiting us and the production team.” VFX Stereo Artist Miguel Camaño Riveiro supported the project with stereo corrections and compositing work.
Anthony Geffen, Producer and CEO of Atlantic Productions commented, “Conquest of the Skies builds on all the storytelling and technology that we have been developing on these programmes with David over the last 5 years. ONSIGHT has played an integral role in this journey, creating solutions and delivering our productions, using SGO Mistika, to the highest standard.”
Previous Attenborough productions in collaboration with Atlantic Productions and Sky that also involved Mistika include David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive and Flying Monsters, both of which have won the BAFTA for Specialist Factual, as well as acclaimed Micro Monsters, Galapagos, Kingdom of Plants and The Bachelor King. David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies’ three episodes aired at the beginning of this year, followed by a special, The Making of David Attenborough’s Conquest of the Skies on Sky 1 HD. Visit the official website here www.conquestoftheskies.com
Sky Continues to Revolutionise its High-End Programming with Mistika
13 September 2014, IBC, The RAI, Amsterdam – SGO Booth A11, Hall 6 – Sky has made significant upgrades and enhancements to its state-of-the-art dedicated 4k-capable Mistika client suites to boost its colour grading and finishing services.
Mistika, which has already been placed at the heart of Sky’s creative pipeline, plays a vital role to meet quality and time-sensitive stringent requirements. At the centre of Sky’s high-end programming, the powered-up Mistika systems boast increased speed storage capacity, based around SGO’s SAN.
Following the upgrade, Sky now has additional capacity to host multiple client platforms from their Mistika systems which have their own localised storage for real time 4K playback, but also integrate directly with their large near-line storage infrastructure, supported by several render nodes that work in the background, for maximum efficiency and delivery.
Cara Cheeseman, Senior Manager of Operations for Entertainment, Creative & R&D comments: “With an already well-established and long-standing alliance with SGO, and the fact that they have been very much involved in the future of broadcasting right from the start, it makes sense for us to continue with significant investment in their technology.”
“With the newly built designated client area, we have consolidated and upgraded our systems, which also include the addition of 4K grading monitors from Canon. Our Mistika systems serve as our client-focused colour grading and finishing suites. Mistika’s open integration, compatibility with other systems and its flexibility, facilitates the process enormously.”adds Cara Cheeseman.
Chris Johns, Chief Engineer at BSkyB confirms, “Mistika is such a well-respected and powerful solution and it lets clients know we are serious about our work. It forms the core of all our workflows and continues to impress us with its speed, real-time immediacy, highly developed functionality and much more. The Mistika continues to play a part in the innovation by which that Sky strives to deliver ongoing improvements to the customer experience.”
“SGO is hugely excited to be associated with Sky and delighted that they have continued to entrust Mistika for their post and finishing requirements. Our relationship with Sky remains loyal and strong, and is immensely important to us. This vital move to upgrade SGO’s technology, provides Sky with a future-proof seal and plays a major role to further revolutionise and advance their excellency in speed and efficiency for audiences worldwide.” says SGO’s Director of Global Sales & Operations, Geoff Mills. “SGO is at the leading edge of creative technology and we cherish our relationship with Sky for many years to come.”
Mistika played a significant role in the launch of Sky 3D television and is used to complete numerous long and short form programmes. With many awards including BAFTAs to their name, Sky has recently worked on an impressive number of high profile projects using Mistika which include Inside the Mind of Leonardo.
Creative Week has now drawn to a successful end. Thursday’s HD and Beyond sessions opened interesting debates about 4K and once again SGO was in the spotlight at a key London event about a hot topic within the creative community.
Geoff Mills, Director of Global Sales and Operations of the SGO Group spoke on the Post Perspective panel yesterday, where he made salient points about 4K positively impacting the market and how Mistika is already streets ahead of the resolution revolution. With Will Strauss as Chair, Geoff shared the discussion with ONSIGHT’s Post Production Supervisor Rik Tester and The Farm’s Technical Director and MD Dave Klafkowski. The topic covered how both The Farm and ONSIGHT have already embraced 4K a while back using Mistika. The Farm had worked the Kudos/C4 drama Utopia in 5K and ONSIGHT completed many 4K projects that include Walking With Dinosaurs, Peter Gabriel’s Back to Front and David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive 3D, all with Mistika’s advanced 4K capabilities. “We find solutions for our customers that they can use, not only for today, but also for tomorrow.” Geoff stated and reaffirmed that Mistika’s diverse and versatile creative toolset is not restricted to 4K and is already able to provide for 8K post production pipelines. A session dedicated to David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive 3D, which recently won a BAFTA award, followed the panel.
With Mistika technology at the helm, SGO’s Senior Product Application Specialist Sam Sheppard was also present at the event in a prime position to discuss the future and Mistika to delegates throughout the day.
Sir David Attenborough is the only person to have received a BAFTA in five formats, black and white, colour, HD, 3D and now 4K.
SGO’s Mistika was used at London’s ONSIGHT in David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive (3D) which has just reaped a coveted BAFTA TV Award in the Specialist Factual Category. Produced by Colossus Productions, a joint venture between Atlantic Productions and Sky 3D, Mistika technology played a major role in post at ONSIGHT in the exceptional project.
Showcasing Excellence in Creative Output | 2 – 6 June 2014 – BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly London W1J 9LN
30 May 2014, London, UK – SGO is proud to sponsor Creative Week which takes place at BAFTA from 2 – 6 June, drawing the television, film and advertising worlds together. Creative Week is the perfect environment for visitors to meet SGO and discover even more about Mistika’s remarkable 4K capabilities and Mamba FX’s node-based compositing, within the context of an experts forum. The high-profile event is produced by Media Business Insight (MBI) – the publishers of Broadcast, Screen International and Shots. The full programme covers enticing topics delivered by top industry players from BSkyB, ONSIGHT, The Look, The Mill, The Framestore, The Farm, MPC, Atlantic Productions, and many others.
The Post Perspective session at 15:00 on Thursday 5th June, chaired by Will Strauss as part of the HD Evolved 4K and Beyond seminars, will take place in the David Lean Room and covers Ultra High Definition (UHD) and vital information for anyone working in 4K. Panellists include SGO’s Director of Global Sales and Operations, Geoff Mills, Dave Klafkowski, Technical Director and MD of The Farm and Rik Tester, Post Production Supervisor of ONSIGHT. The discussion includes how the challenges that 4K brings are overcome; the benefits of 4k for both the post sector and producers and where 4K will lead the industry in the future. Mistika is already at the forefront of 4K with all the necessary underlying facilities to post produce 4K projects, even at 60 frames per second, guaranteeing SGO customers a future-proof return in their investment.
Armed with a roaming Mistika, Senior Product Application Specialist Sam Sheppard at SGO will also be at hand on Thursday to provide delegates with a taster of Mistika and a unique opportunity to gain a sense of the system’s immense power and capabilities. For VFX creatives, SGO’s Mamba FX equips artists with resolution-independent compositing with unlimited layers. VFX Sessions at the dedicated The VFX Summit – Imagination Unlimited are outlined here. Other seminars at Creative Week include the Media Summit and the International TV Forum.
SGO’s Director of Global Sales and Operations Geoff Mills states, “In a dynamic and ever-evolving sector, Creative Week provides an inspiring platform from which key figures can discuss their thoughts for pushing beyond the world of HD. SGO is delighted to be involved in this engaging event that encompasses the very best in the television and film markets, of which SGO’s technology is recognised as playing an integral revolutionary leading role.”
Find out more about Creative Week at their website.
Follow SGO on Twitter @SGOMistika for the latest updates and news.
The Precision Grading Panel for SGO Mistika has proven to be a big hit at the National Association of Broadcaster’s Convention (NAB) in Las Vegas this April. Within hours of the show opening, pioneering London facilities company ONSIGHT placed an order for two Precision Panels to help drive their state-of-the-art Mistika grading and finishing suites in 4K, 3D and HD. They will be installed at the company’s stunning new WC2 premises by St Martins Lane, which also includes 4K projection.
The Precision Panel from Digital Vision provides a high-end grading control surface to match Mistika’s market-leading post production features.
Simon Craddock, CEO of ONSIGHT said, “With our dedication to new techniques, the ONSIGHT team quickly recognised that the Precision Panels will complement our existing Mistika offering and the skills of our creatives. Mistika clearly continues to advance its toolset and offer reliability, further cementing our long-term partnership with SGO.”
Geoff Mills, Director of SGO’s Global Sales and Operations confirmed, “Mistika already plays a major role in ONSIGHT’s entire production pipeline. Their decision to order the Precision Panels to enhance their high-end Mistika suites is an indication of their commitment to SGO, as they expand and continue to provide cutting-edge post production services for their clients.”
ONSIGHT’s recent credits include Peter Gabriel’s Back to Front in 4K (for Done and Dusted/Real World/Eagle Rock Entertainment) and BAFTA-nominated David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive 3D (for Colossus Productions). One of the team’s current projects is Walking With Dinosaurs (for BBC Earth).
ONSIGHT is a pioneering facilities company, providing production and post production services for film and television. With 25 years’ experience, the team has developed a unique end-to-end solution, comprising the latest in cameras and equipment rental through to full post production. From Shepperton Studios, the camera division supplies bespoke packages, involving digital cameras, lenses, accessories and guidance. While the award-winning post department, based in London, provides digital film, TV, Giant Screen and editing solutions, fully supported. The ONSIGHT team helps clients design, execute and ultimately, create stunning content for any screen in HD, 3D, 4K and beyond.
Visit them at www.onsight.co.uk
Press Release Date: 30 April 2014, London, UK
“Mistika was the only viable choice. SGO’s technology offered a coherent all-in-one piece of kit with fast turnaround of the kind of high quality stereo finishing that was required on every shot of the show.
Mistika gave us the power to achieve advanced stereo refinements that just weren’t an option on any other system.
Mistika’s advanced stereo toolset proved so capable that we actually ended up downgrading a number of challenging shots out of VFX and into the Mistika where we could make improvements more quickly, saving time and allowing us to keep the VFX budget down.”
David Wigram, Stereo 3D Consultant, Doctor Who 50th Anniversary Episode
Mistika’s involvement included the conform, online and stereo 3D finishing work. Every frame of the iconic Doctor Who show went through Mistika, prior to the delivery of both the 2D and Stereoscopic 3D versions.
DOCTOR WHO ONE-OFF SPECIAL MAKES GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS
Part of British popular culture, Doctor Who has influenced generations of television professionals, many of whom grew up watching the series. Starring Matt Smith, David Tennant and Jenna Coleman with Billie Piper and John Hurt, the 75 minute BBC Cymru Wales produced anniversary episode was seen on BBC One and was also broadcast on three BBC channels and shown in cinemas across the country, and top of the box-office draw of the night. The one-off special was the most requested programme ever on BBC iPlayer in 24 hours with 1.27 million requests, beating the Olympic opening ceremony, and is also the most tweeted drama ever.
The programme is listed in the Guinness World Records as the longest-running science fiction television show in the world, the “most successful” science fiction series of all time and now for the largest ever simulcast of a TV drama with its 50th anniversary special, airing in 94 countries and also shown in 834 cinemas around the world.
DOCTOR WHO IS WORLD’S FIRST MAJOR TV DRAMA FILMED IN NATIVE STEREO 3D
The Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode was the world’s first major television drama to be filmed in native Stereo 3D (S3D) providing a natural and vivid experience for the viewer. Steven Moffat and the Doctor Who producers wanted to give audiences a memorable experience for the show’s 50th birthday, by choosing to bring their ambitious story to life in the immersive S3D genre for maximum impact.
THE VFX TEAM DELIVERED GROUND-BREAKING RESULTS
Following the enthusiastic lead of Producer Marcus Wilson, the Doctor Who team broke new ground both in terms of affordability, and in freeing the director from limitations normally associated with 3D. The team which included Lead Stereographer Adam Sculthorp and Stereo 3D Consultant David Wigram successfully delivered an excellent 3D programme that can be appreciated on the big screen as well as at home on TV.
David Wigram emphasises Mistika’s reliable capabilities from the outset, “During the testing phase, it was determined that one of the VFX teams had a gamma inconsistency somewhere in their pipeline when working directly with the ARRI ALEXA camera originals, so we used Mistika to take everything into high bit-depth DPX so that they were successfully able to round-trip without error.”
FILMING – MISTIKA’S OPTICAL FLOW CREATED A COMFORTABLE VIEWING EXPERIENCE
Director Nick Hurran and Steven Moffat, filmed the feature-length project in S3D. “The show was originated at 1080p 25 on the Alexa, with some high speed sequences shot at 4K on RED Epics.” Adam confirmed. Director of Photography Neville Kidd tested various combinations of lenses before selecting ARRI Ultra Primes. Consistency was maintained with the regular Doctor Who production, which was always filmed using ARRI’s cameras, choosing the AlexaM light weight hand-held camera for this episode.
David explains further, “The tools driven by optical flow in Mistika also helped us out of a particularly tricky issue with a rolling shutter that caused very slight temporal artefacts. It occurred at the camera stage and fortunately was noted fairly early on in the shoot, and Mistika came to the rescue of solving a large number of non-traditional stereo refinements. In other situations these would have been upgraded to full VFX shots, but the optical flow tools in Mistika clamped down on the eye-to-eye differences with just a couple of simple clicks, and left us with a comfortable viewing experience.”
MISTIKA’S STEREO FINISHING TOOLS SET EACH SHOT IN S3D SPACE
Supported by long-standing Post Supervisor Nerys Davies, David Wigram set up a picture workflow that allowed each VFX supplier to keep their internal data-flow the same. Unlike 2D productions, every shot in S3D needed to go through a special online Stereo 3D finishing process to make sure it was comfortable to view, before the creative depth-grade which sets each shot in S3D space. The industry-leading Mistika was used for the conform, online and Stereo 3D “fixes” in post giving complete control over the stereo image and was achieved by David using the Mistika suite based at The Look in London’s Soho.
CEO and award-winning Colourist at The Look, Thomas Urbye states “We were thrilled to provide our Mistika based Stereoscopic facilities for consultant David Wigram to use for such an important and well loved show.”
David Wigram expands “When creating a picture workflow we looked at other options for the stereo finishing stage, including combinations of different manufacturer’s offerings, but Mistika was the only viable choice.” David continued “SGO’s technology offered a coherent all-in-one piece of kit with fast turnaround of the kind of high quality stereo finishing that was required on every shot of the show. Over and above that, Mistika gave us the power to achieve advanced stereo refinements that just weren’t an option on any other system.”
David added further “Mistika’s advanced stereo toolset proved so capable that we actually ended up downgrading a number of challenging shots out of VFX and into the Mistika where we could make improvements more quickly, saving time and allowing us to keep the VFX budget down.”
S3D AND SPECIAL EFFECTS
Special effects can prove challenging with S3D productions and David Wigram also provided assistance and feedback throughout the VFX process, from shot design to compositing in Mistika, making sure the 3D was the best it could be. Director Nick Hurran tested with Real SFX to get the right combination of explosives and shooting style to get the most out of the 3D. Millennium FX adjusted their creature effects and prosthetics to minimise issues associated with stereoscopic shiny surfaces. The visual effects were spread across a number of companies, with Jellyfish working on the hero Zygon transformation, Bluebolt providing the Digital Matte Paintings of the desert, and BBC Wales providing laser blasts, holograms and flying composites. The BAFTA Award-winning team at Milk did the majority of work including full CG shots of Dalek ships and aerial attack runs over Arcadia, as well as all the key 3D painting effects, and the challenging portal composites.
David concludes “At key emotional points in the episode we were offered extreme close-ups of the Doctors, and the shots came to us with significant differences in the sharpness between the left and right eyes. The most common stereo improvement technique in this type of scenario is to perform a 2D to 3D conversion with the sharper eye, but in Mistika we were able to bring back the sharpness in the soft eye selectively across the frame. This gave us a pair of images matched in sharpness and clarity that, nonetheless, maintained the unique glistening quality characteristic of a native stereo image, something that couldn’t have been achieved through conversion techniques, thanks to Mistika.”
ABOUT DOCTOR WHO
Doctor Who is a British science-fiction television programme produced by the BBC. It follows the adventures of a Time Lord time-travelling humanoid alien known as The Doctor. He explores the universe in a TARDIS, a sentient time-travelling space ship, appearing as a blue British police box, a common sight in 1960’s Britain when the series first aired. The Doctor faces enemies while trying to save civilisations and help every day people. Further information about the special Doctor Who 50th Anniversary episode can be found here and here.
SOME KEY POST CREDITS INCLUDE:
Executive Producers Steven Moffat and Faith Penhale
Producer Marcus Wilson
Lead Stereographer Adam Sculthorp
Post Supervisor Nerys Davies
Stereo 3D Consultant David Wigram using Mistika at The Look in Soho, London owned by Thomas Urbye
Post Production System for online, conform, and Stereo 3D refinements – SGO’s Mistika
Mistika is a 3D Vision at Vision3
“Our reason for purchasing a Mistika system is to improve our ability to supervise the stereo on the Native, VFX and Conversion 3D projects that we work on, particularly studio productions such as “Gravity” which I recently finished supervising for Warner Brothers and which premièred at the Venice Film Festival. The film is an indication of the sort of high-end calibre projects we will be putting Mistika to work on, doing the Stereo 3D format full justice.”
Chris Parks, Vision3’s Founding Partner and Stereo Supervisor
“It is important that Stereo 3D can be handled as efficiently as possible in post, to encourage programme makers to embrace the medium. Mistika is an important tool when it comes to making this a reality.”
Angus Cameron, Vision3’s Founding Partner and Post Stereographer
Soho, London, 21 October 2013 – In a move to further expand their capabilities, Vision3 has invested in a Mistika post production system from SGO to offer clients an advanced 3D post production pipeline for high level cinema productions in London. Vision3 now hosts a state-of-the-art cinema suite with Mistika and their bespoke shot management and workflow system integrated with SGO’s technology. This will enable Vision3 to further develop the creative and narrative set-up that is the hallmark of their approach. Vision3 specialises in stereography within numerous fields of expertise such as studio and independent feature films, high-end natural history documentaries, IMAX, unique special events and commercials.Chris Parks, Vision3’s Founding Partner and Stereo Supervisor possesses both technical and creative stereoscopic experience spanning more than 20 years, with skills that encompass the full range of 3D expertise including direction, production, specialist film and special visual effects, from storyboarding through to production, post production and delivery. Chris states “Our reason for purchasing a Mistika system is to improve our ability to supervise the stereo on the Native, VFX and Conversion 3D projects that we work on, particularly studio productions such as Gravity which I recently finished supervising for Warner Brothers and which premièred at the Venice Film Festival. The film is an indication of the sort of high-end calibre projects we will be putting Mistika to work on, doing the Stereo 3D format full justice.”
Founding Partner and Post Stereographer Angus Cameron founded Vision3 with Chris Parks in 2008 and has over 20 years of industry experience in VFX supervision, project management, digital pipeline development and creative and technical consultancy.
He says “I have always been impressed with Mistika’s stereo capabilities. Vision3 embracing Mistika makes sense allowing us to better interface with the numerous VFX and DI companies that we work with.”Angus expands further with recent Mistika-related project examples “We recently worked on Inside the Mind of Leonardo an IWC Media feature documentary for Sky, as well as the BAFTA award-winning Flying Monsters with David Attenborough a key 3D programme for BSkyB that had to be produced to the highest possible standard. Vision3 are again working with Colossus Productions, supervising the stereo on the upcoming David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive where the Vision3 team will again be working closely with ONSIGHT. The toolset Mistika provides, in particular the Stereo 3D options, makes it the most powerful and interactive tool on the market when it comes to tackling high quality projects. It is important that Stereo 3D can be handled as efficiently as possible in post, to encourage programme makers to embrace the medium. Mistika is an important tool when it comes to making this a reality.”
SGO’s Director of Global Sales and Operations, Geoff Mills confirms “The team at Vision3 demand the very best leading-edge solutions and Mistika is the perfect fit for them. Mistika provides not only a system they can tailor to their specific pipeline and toolset needs, but it also strengthens further the relationship with SGO, required as their business expands into new areas. With their well-respected presence in London, Vision3 set a great example of native and converted Stereo 3D excellence, and we are delighted that they have invested in our award winning technology.”
The landscape of shooting in 3D is rapidly changing and evolving, and Vision3 are leaders of intelligent 3D methodologies and productions. Vision3 acts as the bridge between emerging stereoscopic technology and film and television productions shooting in 3D. Vision3’s vision is that shooting in 3D should be idea-led, embracing the innovative set of narrative tools now available to directors and creative teams. Vision3 plays an integral role in pre-production where the company’s stereographers and producers work closely with productions from the early concept stage, ensuring 3D is used to create original, exciting and fully immersive 3D productions. Vision3’s stereographers and stereo teams have years of on-set practical experience working seamlessly alongside traditional 2D camera teams with a dynamic “tools for the job” philosophy ensuring the project and production schedules are not compromised by technology and that creativity is not stifled in the process. Vision3 holds a firm belief in the value of carrying a stereographers vision from set, into post production ensuring quality of the final product. They also offer bespoke and unbiased advice on suitable equipment, providing efficient and individually designed production workflow.
Other high profile projects Vision3 have worked on include ‘Jack The Giant Slayer‘ (Warner Bros.), ‘‘World War Z’ (Paramount) and ‘John Carter’ (Disney). Directed by Alfonso Cuaron, Warner Bros. production Gravity is due for cinema release in the UK on 8th November 2013. The ambitious, edge-of-your-seat Sci-Fi thriller features Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, with over 80% of audiences choosing to see it in 3D, the highest percentage ever, beating both Avatar and Life of Pi. Vision3’s Chris Parks acted as the film’s Stereo Supervisor overseeing stereo work from Framestore, with additional Post Conversion Sequences at Prime Focus. “Alfonso wanted to ensure 3D remained at the heart of the project from its inception. Throughout the production process we were able to use 3D in new and innovative ways, to take audiences to a place that they have never been before. In this film, we were really able to utilise 3D to change the audience’s emotions and draw them deep into the experience of the lead characters,” states Chris.
Experience the 3rd Dimension
ABOUT VISION 3
Visit them at www.vision3.tv
“We have been users of Mistika for a long time. It continues to help us meet increasing and complex requirements in DI and Stereo 3D productions with impressive and importantly, real-time results. …Updating our Mistika facilities was vital for the benefit of our creative and technical teams, in order to keep delivering high quality and time sensitive material.”
Simon Craddock, CEO of ONSIGHT