“Baba Joon” named Best Film at the recent “Ofir” Awards, Israeli version of the Oscars.
Tel Aviv-based Edit Studios used Mistika’s colour-finishing capabilities to grade “Baba Joon”, named best film at the most recent “Ofir Awards”, the Israeli version of the Academy Awards. “Baba Joon” is a feature-length directorial debut by screenwriter director Yuval Delshad, an Israeli and himself, the son of Iranian immigrants. “Baba Joon” was the first feature on Edit Studio’s Mistika that was shot using Red.
“Mistika is a Massive Benefit to any Business”
Adam Scott, General Manager, Spectrum Films, Sydney, Australia
“It’s an exciting time in our industry. It’s about being more efficient with what you have, there are no longer boundaries – the bricks and mortar post facility model might change completely. That’s why Mistika’s flexibility fits in with this model perfectly.”
Adam Scott, GM, Spectrum Films
4K and HDR are still hot topics in the industry. SGO and Canon have invited two exceptional guests to share their thoughts, insight and experience working with 4K and HDR, at the Academia de Cine in Madrid on the 3rd of December, 2015.
Juan Ignacio Cabrera, Colourist and Stereo 3D Supervisor at Bad Robot, will speak about high-end productions complex workflows. Juan, who has been involved in projects such as Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens, Transformers: Age of Extinction and Star Trek into Darkness, will share his experience working at J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot using Mistika. Juan highlights that “its versatility to work in non-destructive complex workflows, where you work with raw colour and decisions are made using reversible documents preserving metadata that allow to make pertinent changes without quality loss”.
Sebastien Devaud, Director and Producer at BigSensor Films, will talk about a number of different topics including 4K shootings, using real world examples taken from his professional experience.
3Dday’s philosophy continues to be offering a networking event for professionals to discuss latest industry trends. In line with this, after the conference, SGO and Canon will host the #3Dday party at Moby Dick club. This years attendees will also have the opportunity to take part in a raffle, to be in with a chance of winning a Canon XC10 videocamera and SGO’s Mamba FX compositing software license. Make sure you bring your business card with you!
RSVP by confirming your attendance to the conference and party here: http://3dday.eventzilla.net
Make sure you register before the deadline as seats are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first served basis.
Conference: 4K and HDR workflows . Academia de Cine, Calle Zurbano 3, Madrid
10.30 Sebastien Devaud, Director and Producer, Bigsensor Films
11.30 Coffee Break
12.00 Juan Ignacio Cabrera, Colourist and Stereo 3D Supervisor, Bad Robot
3Dday Party: Sala Moby Dick, Av. de Brasil 5, Madrid
20.00 3Dday Party begins! Expect drinks, food, a few surprises, and the chance of taking home a fantastic Canon XC10 videocamera and SGO’s Mamba FX compositing software license.
Mistika’s Ground-Breaking HDR Technology is in the Japanese Spotlight.
SGO’s Japanese Reseller Partner KYOSHIN Communications showcases the performance-leading Mistika colour-finishing post production system again at this year’s InterBEE from 18 – 20 November in Tokyo.
On KYOSHIN’s Booth (4201, Hall 4), two state-of-the-art Mistika systems will be on display to demonstrate stunning HDR 4K 60P content on Canon and SONY monitors. SKY Perfect TV’s HDR test broadcasting programme will also be seen for the first time on the eye-catching 24-inch 4K Canon monitor with a Hybrid Log Gamma. With a secure foothold in the Japanese market, SGO already has important customers in Japan who rely on its innovative Mistika technology, one of them being Tokyo Sound Production (TSP), who have already started to provide HDR 4K / 8K delivery services. Most of the HDR content featured on KYOSHIN’s booth is courtesy of TSP which recently invested in a Mistika system to boost their broadcast services. SGO’s Product Application Specialist Nicholas Recagno will present informative HDR grading demos and Japanese Product Specialist Shinpei Takoshima will outline the efficient and flexible offline-to-online post production process using Mistika.
Also new this InterBEE: – KYOSHIN and SGO are partnering with Canon to display its pioneering advancements in HDR technology. A Mistika system will be on Canon’s Booth 6123 in Hall 6 with Product Application Specialist – SGO Korea, Jihyung Kang, at the controls to show how it plays an integral part of an end-to-end HDR-4K colour-process workflow.
Mistika is a complete post solution, seamlessly integrating colour-finishing, compositing and delivery on one single system. It is also resolution, colour-space and frame-rate independent featuring real-time performance, even at 4K / 8K 60P and above. Mistika can post produce any project, including 4K and 8K, whether it is for broadcast, cinema or commercials, pretty fast and all in real-time. Latest developments on show in Mistika include leading colour grading features to make the most out of HDR images, linked to the stylish Mistika Precision finishing control surface. An entirely new media management sub-system with new features that allow transparent migration between colour spaces.
KYOSHIN’s President Shigeru Ojima states, “InterBEE is an ideal platform to promote Mistika’s powerful capabilities. Many post facilities in Japan are looking to SGO’s Mistika to support their current and upcoming projects to provide consistency with higher-resolution formats being adopted for production, broadcast and display technology. In addition, with the Japanese government encouraging 4K and 8K investments in the domestic retail sector in time for the future Olympic Games, we are in a great position to be able to confidently equip our customers to meet their clientèle’s expectations with Mistika’s unprecedented 4K abilities.”
SGO Group’s Director of Global Sales and Operations Geoff Mills, who will be at the event states, “KYOSHIN are doing an incredible job at raising awareness of Mistika in the Japanese market, ensuring that customers are future-ready, and especially as excitement grows as we head towards the 2020 Tokyo Olympic year. Our presence, in partnership with KYOSHIN at InterBEE2015, gives industry professionals a chance to see how investing in SGO’s future-proof technology brings immense value, by providing a huge competitive edge.”
Visit the KYOSHIN Booth and see Mistika in action. Advanced bookings for Mistika demonstrations can be made by contacting SGO at email@example.com.
KYOSHIN and the SGO team look forward to seeing you in Tokyo! Visitors can register for the show at http://www.inter-bee.com/en
Studio purchases six finishing and grading systems as part of its multi-million dollar expansion.
It’s an NAB Wrap – SGO is Absolutely Fabulous in Las Vegas!
SGO unfolded another enthralling chapter at NAB 2015 as it continues to move in an upward direction away from an increasingly uniform market. SGO presented the latest creative and performance-enhancing developments for the Mistika colour grading and finishing platform, as well as new features for the popular node-based compositor Mamba FX.
Visitors from broadcasters, post facilities and film studios could be seen eyeing out the very latest SGO technology. Positive comments that were heard at the SGO booth ranged from bold exclamations – “Mistika saved the day”, to more composed compliments like – “The Industry has handed SGO the Baton”, to direct statements “We must get a Mistika for our studio!” and “Coming to the SGO Booth has truly been the highlight of my NAB experience.”
SGO announced an uprated product line-up at the show where all systems are resolution-independent, giving all users the ability to work in 4K. Moreover, its commercially creative new “Additional Mistika User Log-in” programme enables customers to add further systems without the need to buy extra licenses, making the ownership of multiple Mistika systems extremely affordable without compromising or devaluing SGO technology in the market. This exclusive approach provides an alternative way for customers to increase their profits while maintaining their competitive edge.
With High Dynamic Range being the hot topic of the show, SGO’s customers are once again the first to embrace new HDR opportunities. On the booth, Mistika was shown creatively manipulating high resolution and HDR material in real time, using the newly integrated Mistika Precision Panel, especially developed for finishing, as well as colour grading.
Mistika also played a key role in Canon’s HDR Theatre at NAB where an end-to-end HDR 4K “Glass to Glass” work-flow was demonstrated – image capture by Canon cameras, HDR grade in Mistika and displayed on a Canon 2000 NIT monitor. Striking footage from “Trick Shot” was used, shot by Gale Tattersall ASC with ACES and HDR supervision by Curtis Clark ASC. The film was originally post produced by Mistika customer FotoKem with grading by John Daro. “The Canon HDR Suite was a great showcase for technology that supported this new and potentially industry changing technology of HDR, it was a must go to location at NAB and a very unique space to demonstrate a new color process.” Colin Ritchie, CEO of Aarmadillo Inc. who was responsible for implementing the Mistika workflow on Canon’s booth commented.
SGO is among the first manufacturers at NAB to publicly announce the use of the NVIDIA® Quadro® M6000 to elevate performance of Mistika and Mamba FX. “As the industry moves to higher resolutions and high dynamic range, the performance demands on finishing and color grading systems increase dramatically”, said Greg Estes, VP Enterprise Marketing, NVIDIA. “SGO is among the first in the world to offer our flagship Quadro M6000 as part of their product line up, providing artists with optimal performance, color accuracy and enterprise-grade reliability.”
Geoff Mills, Director of Global Sales & Operations states, “With the market’s eager scrutiny for incomparable toolsets that make artists stand out from the crowd, SGO provides a supremely unique differentiator. What we are now very excited about is how HDR is coming towards the industry like a train. SGO always has an eye on what is coming next and at the same time, making sure that we are prepared, and staying ahead of the game to the benefit of our much valued customers.”
It was yet another memorable and successful show for SGO.
CEO Miguel Angel Doncel concludes, “The feedback we received about Mistika and Mamba FX has been terrific. We are honoured to be able to provide future-proof cutting-edge technology to those creative companies that drive our industry forward.”
SGO Reveals Future-Ready Cutting-Edge Innovation in Post Production
Booth SL3825 – Las Vegas Convention Centre – 13 – 16 April 2015
Creative post production specialists SGO presents version 8.5 of the Mistika colour grading and finishing system and version 2.06 of the Mamba FX compositing software on Booth SL3825 at NAB2015.
Be Distinctive with Mistika
Leading the products on display is Mistika, the market’s most powerful comprehensive visual creation suite designed for ambitious artists who aspire to be at the cutting-edge of post production. It has gained kudos by redefining the “Hero suite” model with seamless integration between colour grading, visual effects, conforming and editing. It effortlessly handles any client and project size including 4K, 8K and beyond, for broadcast, cinema and commercials at impressive speed in real-time. The Mistika product range offers scalable solutions for a variety of applications, including Mistika Air which provides efficient and prolific capabilities for broadcasters of content, from HD to 8K 60P, and everything in between.
Discover the Radical Effects of Mamba FX
Affordable Node-Based Compositing
Mamba FX is the Complete Real-time VFX Suite. It is SGO’s dedicated VFX compositing software which can either be used as a stand-alone visual effects platform or as the perfect add-on for any editing or colour suite. Mamba FX includes infinite layer compositing, tracking, keying, painting, restoration, optical flow, warping and many built-in effects. It can also be extended with OFX plug-ins and is available for Windows, Mac and Linux. With an intuitive node-based interface which can be set to flow in any direction and with its very wide file format support, it fits seamlessly into almost any post production pipeline. From under $260, it represents unbeatable value. More information and a free trial are available at www.sgo.es/mamba-fx.
Read the latest review of Mamba FX published by highly regarded industry publication Post Magazine.
Geoff Mills, SGO’s Director of Global Sales and Operations states, “SGO develops technology for aspiring artists that want to stand out as being the best in their field, and with Mistika, we provide a high-end system that enables them to achieve this. We are passionate about excellence at SGO, continually striving to make the difficult easy with determination to make technology accommodate creative intent. Our motivation is always to best serve the creative industry by equipping every driven artist with exceptional tools.”
Highlights for NAB 2015
The Mistika Precision Control Surface, unveiled for the first time at NAB is an enticing differentiator. The Panel provides the ultimate interface for complete project-finishing and is not restricted to purely manipulating colour; but also provides a tactile and intuitive surface for controlling every facet of the finishing process.
Pioneering facilities company, ONSIGHT, invested in the Mistika Precision Grading Panel hours after SGO’s announcement at NAB last year, complementing its long-standing Mistika offering and the skills of its creative team.
Max Horton, ONSIGHT’s new Senior Colourist with a wealth of experience in film and high-end television, remarks,
“As I begin to use the Mistika Precision Panel more and more, it’s clear it offers increased flexibility and time efficiency. Having four track balls means I can work faster when accessing additional Mistika tools in a grade, particularly luminance specific functions. I also noticed accurate and quick control with the mini-joy stick. The surface design looks great too!”
“Cluster Playback” is another revolutionary feature for Mistika. Already the envy of its competitors due to its real-time performance and incredible processing speed, the Mistika Cluster Playback facility allows Mistika operators to create stunning images in real-time no matter how complicated the processing is that is required, or how high the image resolution needs to be.
Not only can Mistika make use of multiple GPU cards within a host platform, it can also harness the CPU and GPU power from multiple computers to provide limitless scalability. Unlike a traditional “render farm”, Mistika aggregates the available processing power to permit the artist to create images in real-time, rather than having to wait for rendering before playback. The result allows Mistika users to out-perform their competitors, to benefit from greater project throughput and to take on complex projects that were previously inaccessible.
Mistika’s AAF conform features have also been further developed, offering the benefit of advanced compatibility with Avid-based workflows. Editing effects created in Avid are accurately replicated in the Mistika timeline, including animated re-timing curves, shot framing, multi-camera groups and multi-track conforms. Mistika can read and write Avid compliant media files which permit “round trip” pipelines between Avid and Mistika.
“The Mistika is a great conform environment, with its truly mixed media format timeline, re-link and versioning tools. The new enhanced AAF features build on this solid foundation and are another useful tool for the online editor.” Rob Gordon, Senior Online Editor at Park Road Post Production, New Zealand
Mistika’s Extended and High Dynamic Range (EDR/HDR) workflows are another exciting upgrade addition that have undergone supplementary refinement, including PQ support according to SMPTE 2084 regulations. Supporting next-generation technologies such as these, ensures that SGO’s customers are the first to embrace new opportunities and provide market-leading services for their clients.
Mistika also boasts over fifty new enhancements, including updates to accommodate the latest ACES specifications, interface advancements such as user-inspired upgrades to the “story board”, as well as even wider file-format support.
Emerge from the crowd and dare to be different with SGO’s future-proofing technology.
Meet the welcoming team at the show where industry professionals are at hand to provide expertise and helpful solutions on the booth. Register at www.nabshow.com and gain free entry using SGO’s Visitor Guest Code LV8948. Book a Mistika and Mamba FX Demo in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org
NAB Show® is the world’s largest electronic media show covering filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums. www.nabshow.com
World Première in Official Selection of the Berlin International Film Festival 2015
Wim Wenders’ production company Neue Road Movies entrusted online artist Christian Tröger and SGO’s Mistika at ARRI Mitte to complete the post production of “Every Thing Will Be Fine”.
The film celebrates its World Première in the Official Selection at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival this week. It was produced by Gian-Piero Ringel with DoP Benoît Debie, and director of stereography, Joséphine Derobe. Director Wim Wenders was also nominated for three Oscar© Awards for Buena Vista Social Club, PINA and The Salt of the Earth.
Christian Tröger is a key member of the creative team at ARRI Mitte’s state-of-the-art facility, in the heart of Berlin. He chose Mistika to perform the online, conform, depth grading, finishing and subtitling in the film. The solid relationship that exists between Neue Road Movies and the team at ARRI Mitte dates back to 2008, when they worked together on high-profile films such as Palermo Shooting, PINA, and most recently, all six episodes of Cathedrals of Culture.
“Mistika has established a successful track record which has made a lasting impression on our clients. The system played a central role in the post production of many complex film projects, and always served as the main hub for each department. Aware of how incredibly reliable and powerful the Mistika is from previous experience, it was great when Neue Road Movies approached us to do it all over again for “Every Thing Will Be Fine”, notes Christian.
“Mistika was an asset at every stage of the project. It handled the native camera formats and was involved in overcoming challenges throughout the entire post process for the 2K-S3D delivery.” Christian reflects. “Mistika’s efficiency and speed enabled the team at ARRI Mitte to expediently execute the depth-grade at the same time as the colour grade, in two separate suites and dedicated artists. This also had a unifying effect by including the DoP, Director and Stereographer into the post production process and enabling the completion of the project’s final stages to take place collaboratively.”
Synergy of A Perfect Timeline in a Mistika-Centred Workflow
Christian briefly describes the harmonious workflow process at ARRI Mitte and how it helped to bring about a productive outcome, “Our Mistika-driven workflow ensured that the online and conform always led to a perfect stereo timeline which only ever required touching-up colour grading-wise, for the final look. The shared pipeline also catered for the VFX department that required perfectly aligned images for precise tracking and roto-scoping tasks. It meant that right from the start, the colorist’s source files were adjusted and received directly from the Mistika timelines.”
Christian adds further, “Step-by-step, the final depth-graded version took form within a 2K-framed scope 16bit file. Mistika perfectly stereo-matched the left and right eye images that were made at earlier stages of the two symbiotic grading sessions. The synergy between the colour and depth grading suites are now part of the standard procedure at ARRI Mitte, owing to Mistika’s unique capabilities and polished toolset. We have a streamlined process in place here now which is a time-efficient way to work.”
The Finer Details in Clever Subtitling Techniques
During two weeks of grading, the subtitle versions were then prepared over various shifts in a dedicated Mistika timeline created by using the DCI XMLs. Oscar award-winning director Wim Wenders and stereographer Josephine Derobe were eager to present the subtitled version of the film to the festival in a more creative way. They wanted the subtitles to appear outside of the film’s frame. Although it is not a convenient design for distribution purposes, they knew it would work well for a première.
Christian explains how they designed it, “We conducted a few tests to set-up a scope picture inside a flat DCP, but with very low luminance and within the “letterbox” shape of the film frame itself.” He continues, “Darkening the images helped to eliminate “ghosting” and we kept the image as clean as when it had first originally been shot by the DoP. I then finished the scope and continued working with the finals in the prepared subtitle environment, which retained all the metadata, leading to a flat derivative with subs. We then spent an additional session concentrating fully on defining the detailed depth of each sub for the final stereoscopic version. This formed the foundation template from which all of the other language versions were to proceed from later on.”
Mistika’s Interactivity Made “On-Demand Screening” a Breeze
Another great advantage of having Mistika on board was that both the director and stereographer could quite comfortably focus on their own specific areas at their own convenience. Mistika’s immediacy, speed and real-time capacity, along with its batch render, played a crucial role in making this a reality.
“It literally took us a matter of minutes to combine their respective depth and colour grading work for prompt viewing on a big screen at our in-house theatre.” Christian reveals. “We called them “On-Demand Screening Sessions” and they were designed to be delivered on impulse and as often as the client required for their visual ease which Mistika smoothly facilitated.”
Christian expands, “It was a great opportunity for our clients to address and analyse various elements in the dedicated sessions, and always in regard of one another. They were able to see what a decision about contrasts in the colour-timing session would look like, for example, combined with a certain depth budget defined at the same time in the other suite. Another illustration was how the VFX and depth of a certain scene would come across with a different look, and so forth. This coefficient workflow was down to Mistika’s flexibility and would not have been possible if the software was not able to connect openly with our existing technology and communication modes that most modern post facilities like ours comes with.”
Stereographer Joséphine Derobe says, “As a stereographer, I have worked with a variety of companies in Europe that use Mistika. I believe in SGO’s remarkable technology and admire its accuracy, versatility and beautiful toolset, that provides me with a plethora of options to choose from in order to deliver a truly great picture with sheen, even after filming has taken place.”
Christian and the team at ARRI Mitte achieved exceptionally high quality results and met the tight deadlines and high-level demands with coordinated professionalism that an international feature film involves. Christian closes with the following statement, “As a Mistika operator, I have the confidence that I can deliver uncompromising image quality perfection of the highest standards to our clients – producers and creatives on all of our projects. I can therefore conclude by echoing this specific film title, that “Everything Was Absolutely Fine with Mistika at ARRI Mitte” and the production team was very pleased with the results.”
“Every Thing Will Be Fine” is based on a script written by Bjørn Olaf Johannessen, which portrays a traumatised writer’s life-changing struggle to make sense of what happened after accidentally running over and killing a child. It will be released in cinema theatres on 2nd April 2015.
SOME OF THE CREDITS INCLUDE
Post Production System and Technology – SGO’s Mistika
Post Production Facility – ARRI Mitte Berlin
Online Editor – Christian Troeger
Cast: James Franco, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Rachel McAdams, Marie-Josée Croze
Director: Wim Wenders
Script: Bjørn Olaf Johannessen
Producer: Gian-Piero Ringel
Director of Photography: Benoît Debie
Stereographer: Joséphine Derobe
Music: Alexandre Desplat
3D Producer: Erwin M. Schmidt
World Sales: HanWay Films
Release Date – 2 April 2015 distributed by Warner Bros.
ABOUT ARRI MITTE
Arri Film & TV Services Berlin GmbH, Auguststr. 48, 10119 Berlin , Phone +49 30 726267-150
Visit them at http://www.arrimitte.de/en/
ABOUT NEUE ROAD MOVIES
Berlin based independent production company NEUE ROAD MOVIES was established in 2008 by director/producer Wim Wenders and producer Gian-Piero Ringel. The company is dedicated to working with innovative directors and focuses on international co-productions with a crossover potential. The producers in the company are Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel. They are supported by Martina Hedwig, Bernadette Kamp and Christine Rennert.
Contact: Neue Road Movies GmbH, Saarbrücker Straße 24, D-10405 Berlin, fon: +49 30 8145293 50; fax: +49 30 8145293 75
Visit them at www.neueroadmovies.com
Referred to as “The Blue Heart of Siberia”, Lake Baikal is the deepest lake on earth and magically lures different cultures to coexist and fuse peacefully within its realm of mind-blowing beauty. Moscow-based RSS Production set out to capture the essence of this unique area in the exquisite new documentary film “Baikal” directed by Alexander Dukhon. The compelling portrayal was entirely produced and post produced in 4K native Stereo 3D using SGO’s Mistika technology at RSS Studios. Post involved editing, colour grading, sound design and CG and took two months to complete. Native stereoscopic 3D optimisation was successfully accomplished in Mistika by Daniel Ovrutsky.
“Using the industry’s most powerful visual formats and resolutions that Mistika can easily muster and deliver, helps us to plunge audiences into a high quality film such as Baikal. The visionary technology we now have at our disposal in productions such as these, play a vital part in exposing viewers to the beauty of stunningly remote locations such as this ancient Siberian lake, bringing intense clarity like never before.” states director Alexander Dukhon, “Our aim is to make Baikal the first of many future documentary series dedicated to awe-inspiring places on our planet, and at the same time using the world’s most innovative technologies, such as Mistika, which contribute enormously to enrich our work.”
RSS Production invested in Mistika in 2013 predominantly for colour grading and finishing. Mistika was put straight to work on various projects including blockbuster Stalingrad, directed by Fedor Bondarchuk. It was heralded as Russia’s first movie ever to be completely produced with Stereo 3D technology and digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX® 3D format.
Baikal’s Filming commenced in February last year with eight adventurous RSS Production film crew members embarking on a gruelling ten-day trip through the Lake Baikal region. Located in central Asia, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, and also contains approximately twenty percent of the globe’s unfrozen fresh surface water. The shoot took place in just seven days in extreme weather conditions of minus thirty degrees Celsius with few sunlight hours over the short winter days. The team made their way along the lake’s western coast, visiting Olkhon Island and Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia in Russia.
Baikal’s Footage was shot using RED Epics and Stereotec 3D rigs, including RSS Production’s unique set-up on a small sized sightseeing helicopter for aerial footage. “This approach makes filming native stereoscopic 3D aerials much easier, avoiding the need to use large vehicles with massive stabilisation systems, and reduces costs as well.” noted Alexander. In addition, the soundtrack music was especially written and composed from scratch and produced exclusively for the film. It was creatively intertwined into the sound design to reflect the eerie atmosphere of Lake Baikal’s land and spirit. The film warmly depicts the human element in a sub-zero and unearthly landscape by sharing endearing stories of the local people whose hearts belong to it.
Directed by Alexander Dukhon
Written by Iliyas Akhmedov, Jennifer Eremeeva
Post Production System and Technology is SGO’s Mistika
Filmed with RED Epic and Stereotec 3D Rig
DP Sasha Romm
Steadicam Operator Nikita Rozhdestvensky
Edited by Sonya Kapnik
Native Stereo Optimisation by Daniel Ovrutsky
Colourist Artem Ignatov
Music by Andrey Bochko, Dmitry Bochko
Sound design and mixing by Rustam Bekmuratov
“Mistika was the perfect grading and finishing tool for this movie.”
Antonio Zhang, Mistika Colorist, PO Group, China
PO Group graded and finished American Dreams in China on Mistika. Produced and directed by Hong Kong’s Peter Chan, the Mandarin-language film brought in US$87.6 million at the box office.
PO Group purchased from SGO, a Mistika 4K Colour Grading and Finishing System, a Mistika Assist Station and an SGO SAN to support their Stereo 3D and high end Colour Grading services for film and commercials projects a few years ago. Founded in 2003 by famous entrepreneur and actor, Nicholas Tse, PO Group is the largest post production house in Hong Kong, which grosses over one billion Hong Kong dollars annually, with branches in Shanghai, Hong Kong and Beijing.
American Dreams in China is Peter Chan’s first digital camera shoot where he filmed the entire movie using ARRI Alexa and recorded it on Codex. His strong affection for the filmic look set the tone and brief for PO Group’s colorist Antonio Zhang to work with, selecting Mistika for the grading and finishing of the entire movie.
Antonio Zhang, Mistika Colorist at PO Group, explains the colour grading process, “I chose the ARRI Log C as the default debayer and applied a FPE (Film Print Emulation) 3D LUT on top of all of the shots to mimic the “filmic look” that Peter Chan was after. Also, my aim was to preserve the highlighted elements and enhance them further by revealing even greater details where possible.”
The film is based on a true story about three friends who graduated from Peking University and go on to build a successful English language school in China called “New Dreams”. This school helps to make the dreams of Chinese teenagers come true. As the film covers a time-span of over 3o years which involved various scenes flicking backwards and forwards into the present and past, the PO Group team combated this challenge by setting the looks for each time period. The first part covers the time the three friends study in Peking university and the second focuses on them building the language school, followed by their success in the stock market.
Antonio outlines how he achieved the various looks and tones for each decade in the film, “For the first look, we tried to make the colours more vivid to depict university life and the passion for the characters’ start-up days. We used an old 1980’s Chinese magazine as a reference and made the grade look really old but colourful.” He adds further, “The second look had to be really cool, professional and business-like, and due to the fact the characters had a lot of arguments, the cool tone helps to portray that antagonistic atmosphere effectively.”
While the 4K Mistika system forms PO Group in Beijing’s principal system, the Mistika assistant station is a fully capable file-based Mistika system in its own right, which allows the studio to increase efficiency and throughput, by having an assistant to the main colorist to prepare projects in advance, or to work alongside to ensure the smooth running of even the most complex projects. The SGO SAN not only allows the two Mistika’s to share project assets, but also allows the media sharing to extend to all other technical facilities at PO. Projects of various formats occupy the facility’s pipeline from 2K to 4K, and S3D to higher frame rates. With the SGO Mistika and SGO SAN, PO Group have built a very efficient pipeline.
“Mistika was the perfect grading and finishing tool for this movie.” Antonio expands, “It has a strong editing function, and we were also able to achieve both the conform and grading in Mistika. This really created a smooth and effective workflow, as I could grade from the original ARRI RAW Raw file and easily change the debayer for individual shots which was so convenient.” He concludes, “Flexibility is really important to us here at PO Group, especially as we face a lot of different digital camera formats, however Mistika’s compatibility with various camera formats is a great advantage and provides an excellent high-end service for us throughout the entire post production process.”
General Manager of PO Group in Beijing, K.C. Yeung states, “Mistika forms the core of our DI suites and its speed and performance is phenomenal. The comprehensive toolset allows for tasks to be completed in one suite which provides an interactive and immediate environment in real-time for client-facing work.”
CEO of SGO, Miguel Angel Doncel affirms, “PO Group is one of China’s major post production companies and SGO is proud to be associated with them and continues to support the company in meeting the growing and complex demands that feature film productions involve. PO Group have raised the bar for what clients should expect in terms of quality, speed and efficiency.”
American Dreams in China features Huang Xiaoming, Deng Chao, and Tong Dawei, and was shown at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. Find out more about the film here.
ABOUT PO GROUP