Epic Adventure Film Trilogy Involved Mistika’s Grading Technology From Start to Finish
New Zealand facility Park Road once again used Mistika for the post production of “The Hobbit: The Battle of The Five Armies”, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), the third film in “The Hobbit Trilogy” directed by Peter Jackson.
Mistika’s colour grading and finishing systems have played a central role at the Wellington-based post house since shooting began for The Hobbit Films in 2011. SGO’s cutting-edge technology was again used throughout the DI online, stereoscopic post and final grade of the monumental final film hailed by critics as a colossal technical achievement.
Park Road’s grading theatres are based around the worlds largest installs of Mistika 4K and S3D master systems. Very large shared storage provides high-speed efficiency between online editors, stereographers and colourists. Dolby Atmos equipped mix theatres, foley and sound edit facilities complement the picture offering, and all work can be delivered to their in-house 176-seat cinema, capable of projecting all major formats, film/24/3D and higher frame rates.
The Mistika 3D tools were driven at full throttle in the third film of the Trilogy, “Mistika’s real-time immediacy again enabled interactivity with the grade and stereo where we could screen any formats in 2D or 3D,” Senior Stereographer Meetal Gokul explained. “The Mistika continues to provide exactly the right platform to service productions of any scale, with superb tools both for development and final mastering of stereo projects.”
Park Road are at the forefront in the development of High Frame Rate filmmaking, from on-set digital acquisition, support for offline editorial, final online, through to HFR deliverables. It took Park Road, together with SGO, years of research, development, testing and refinement to create the unique workflow for The Hobbit Films.
Workflow Architect Anthony Pratt played a pivotal role in the development and is part of the lead team that designed the world’s first HFR-3D workflow. Neither the facility, nor the platform, has stood still since the first film. A novel and highly efficient approach to VFX workflows was deployed for the latest instalment – using wrapped OpenEXR version 2 files – a world’s first. “The team at SGO really helped us prove and integrate this new approach, and we hope to see this released into the open source file format and libraries. Of course SGO’s clients now have it built-in!” Tony says, “Once again the Mistika sits firmly at the core of our business, servicing all of our team and our clients with timeliness previously impossible to achieve.”
“Park Road’s exceptional talent is evident in yet another phenomenal feature film delivery as part of “The Hobbit Trilogy.” SGO’s Director of Global Sales and Operations Geoff Mills stated.
SGO’s CEO Miguel Angel Doncel confirmed, “Park Road continues to push innovative boundaries of stunning film production. Their leading-edge needs are an infinite source of inspiration for current and future developments.”
Mistika’s Award-Winning Grading and Workflow Technology plays a Crucial Role
Wellington, New Zealand, 13 January 2014 – SGO’s award-winning Mistika DI Colour Grading post systems form the core at Park Road Post Production and were utilised again in epic fantasy film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy directed by Peter Jackson.
Mistika’s involvement at Park Road included supporting on-set services and screening HFR digital dailies, all the way through to the DI online, stereoscopic work and stunning final grade for the film. The world-class facility boasts impressive purpose-built state-of-the-art DI theatres for both high-end 2D and stereoscopic finishing work, supported by Mistika 4K/Stereoscopic master systems combined with dedicated finishing suites with matching SGO technology and shared storage for speed and fluidity between their online editors and colourists.
Supervising Digital Colourist for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Trish Cahill worked with a team at Park Road alongside Lead DI Colourist Vickie-Lynn Roy, using Mistika’s world-leading colour grading toolsets to complement the second film’s darker and richer narrative as the company head through Middle-earth toward both Erebor and, of course, Smaug – the extraordinary creature brought to life by Benedict Cumberbatch and the VFX geniuses of Weta Digital.
“At Park Road we are inspired by filmmakers who share our constant desire to push storytelling tools forward. That motivation allows us to deliver world-leading results for our clients which never let technology take the lead, but which give us compelling colour grading tools with which to achieve a director’s vision. The Mistika is simply a great asset creatively and technically, and is at the core of our work on this incredible production.”
Trish further explains the DI process using Mistika and how she put her creativity to work behind the head-spinning action scenes and help enhance the picture-book beauty in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
“Park Road choose tools which are not only scalable and technically deep, but have truly focussed on using those tools as enablers for creative expression. With the Mistika we were able to work interactively with the production, at High Frame Rate, taking the unique looks developed for the second film and extending them in the final grade sessions to focus on visual narrative. The best thing about great tools is they enable us to work with filmmakers to bring the world they imagined to life.”
Vickie-Lynn expands explaining some of the technical intricacies behind the scenes, “Beyond the look development undertaken prior to the final online sessions, such as the variable ‘lens’ effects built entirely in the Mistika, we were able to effortlessly fold in highly technical requirements for specific shots – such as deep mattes, themselves mathematically driving complex grade and stereo effects – all on the same platform, and all the time running critical stereo work in parallel with the ongoing look refinement, as the team headed towards the final delivery.”
Lead Stereographer Meetal Gokul explains “The interaction of grade and stereo is so often underestimated, so at Park Road we work in parallel – with any screening format, 2D or 3D, available for review at any time. The stereo toolset in the Mistika was definitely used to its fullest for the second film in the Trilogy, and as always my team’s focus is on an incredible 3D experience which drives the story forward. This film is amazing, and the Mistika continues to provide exactly the right platform to service productions of any scale.”
Head of Technology at Park Road Phil Oatley confirms “We rely on the capability of SGO’s Mistika when creating stunning content for all our clients. Once again, on a ground-breaking production of this magnitude, Mistika has provided a proven and reliable architecture that was both flexible and robust, giving us the immense speed we required. It is a huge advantage to work on one unified platform, and the Mistika combines immense power with remarkable versatility.”
It took Park Road Post Production, together with SGO, years of research, development, testing and refinement to create the unique workflow for The Hobbit Trilogy. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey realised a new technical and aesthetic standard. Workflow Architect Anthony Pratt played a pivotal role in developing Park Road Digital Cinema, VFX and 3D workflows and is part of the lead team that designed the world’s first HFR-3D workflow. “The pipeline we have built around SGO’s tools is seamless both for the client and for our team. The core of our entire pipeline was enabled by the dedication, support and innovation of the team at SGO, and use of the Mistika as our primary platform. We were delighted to put it to work again on The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.” Tony adds, “Mistika has not only energised our team, and replaced the previous ‘heavy-iron’ infrastructure at Park Road, but is the absolute heart of servicing large-scale productions and with timeliness previously impossible to achieve.”
Park Road, with technology partner SGO, also won the industry’s prestigious IBC2013 Innovation Awards for their pioneering work building the World’s First HFR-3D post workflow. The 2013 IBC International Honour for Excellence was also presented to Sir Peter Jackson. In addition, SGO received the coveted International 3D Society’s 3D Technology Lumière Award for its Mistika finishing and colour grading system and for advancements in Stereo 3D and Ultra HD technology, a highly complimentary recognition alongside Park Road’s receipt of a Lumière Award recognizing their HFR Pipeline.
SGO’s Director of Global Sales and Operations Geoff Mills affirms “We are very proud that Mistika continues to play an integral role at companies of such a high calibre such as Park Road, in yet another exceptional feature film delivery as part of The Hobbit Trilogy. The team at Park Road continue to stretch the boundaries of film production and SGO eagerly supports them with current and future project work.”
CEO of SGO Miguel Angel Doncel asserts “Park Road’s highly creative and brilliant technical teams rely on advanced technology that grows with them. The loyal relationship that exists between our two companies, and which we cherish, has grown stronger than ever, and is a significant testament to our shared commitment to quality and innovation to remain on the very edge of new filmmaking technologies now and in the future.”
The second film in The Hobbit Trilogy follows the Hobbit Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), the Wizard Gandalf (Ian McKellen) and 13 Dwarves, led by Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), as they continue their journey to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Along the way they encounter the skin-changer Beorn, giant Spiders of Mirkwood, Wood-elves led by Legolas (Orlando Bloom), Tauriel (Evangeline Lilly), and King Thranduil (Lee Pace), and a mysterious Man named Bard (Luke Evans), who smuggles them into Lake-town. Finally reaching the Lonely Mountain, they face their greatest danger – the Dragon Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch).
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug topped the worldwide box office, crossing the $500 million mark in its first two weeks of release. The film began releasing in markets as of 11 December 2013, and is currently showing in cinemas in HFR 3D, IMAX 3D and 2D. Visit the official movie website at www.thehobbit.net/
ABOUT PARK ROAD POST PRODUCTION
A premier post production facility located in Wellington, New Zealand. Developed by filmmakers for filmmakers, Park Road offers a relaxing and inspiring environment for filmmakers to realise their vision. Park Road was established as a one-stop shop with world-class integrated picture and sound departments all under one roof. Park Road is uniquely placed to supply all post services for a feature from on-set support, rushes, stereoscopic alignment, digital intermediate, foley and sound mixing through to the final completion of all film and digital deliverables for distribution. Visit them at: www.parkroad.co.nz
ABOUT THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the second in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien. The screenplay for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug is by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro based on the novel by J.R.R. Tolkien. Jackson also produced the film, together with Carolynne Cunningham, Zane Weiner and Fran Walsh. The executive producers are Alan Horn, Toby Emmerich, Ken Kamins and Carolyn Blackwood, with Philippa Boyens and Eileen Moran serving as co-producers.
“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” is a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), with New Line managing production. Warner Bros. Pictures is handling worldwide theatrical distribution, with select international territories as well as all international television distribution being handled by MGM. www.thehobbit.net
SGO’s Development Team Honored for Mistika Innovation and Impact in the Industry
Hollywood, 5 September 2013 – Spanish developer SGO receives the prestigious International 3D Society’s 3D Technology Lumiere Award for its Mistika finishing and color grading system for advancements in Stereo 3D and Ultra HD technology. The Lumiere Technology Awards are voted by a professional awards committee via balloting where the judges recommended SGO’s Mistika for the top tier award, specifically due to its impact and innovation in the marketplace. SGO will be honored at a ceremony in Hollywood which takes place on the 18th September, where Geoff Mills, Director of SGO Global Sales and Operations, will receive the Award on behalf of the pioneering technology team.
Mistika powers up with NVIDIA to increase interactivity and HFR support
“The combination of SGO’s toolset and their ability to convert GPU resources into workflow acceleration so efficiently makes Mistika and the Quadro K6000 an incredibly exciting solution for 4K, stereo and HFR workflows.”
Sandeep Gupte, senior director of Product Marketing for the Quadro professional graphics business at NVIDIA