Online Editor Christian Tröger working at Berlin’s ARRI Mitte used Mistika’s advanced toolsets to post produce majestic scenes in Cathedrals of Culture.
Neue Road Movies, owned by Oscar award-winning director Wim Wenders, produced the striking film which portrays various buildings around the world. Using the visual language of stereoscopic film-making, it was directed by acclaimed directors bringing their own unique style. Wim Wenders covers the Berlin Philharmonic building; Robert Redford‘s film shows off the Salk Institute at La Jolla in California; Michael Glawogger depicts the National Library in Russia’s St. Petersburg; Michael Madsen features the Halden Prison in Norway; Margreth Olin sheds light on the Oslo Opera House and Karim Ainouz focuses on the Centre Pompidou in Paris.
Neue Road Movies selected ARRI Mitte’s creative team to conduct the visual post work. The complete finishing process, including conform, Stereo 3D alignment, as well as most of the VFX shots, were achieved by Christian Tröger using SGO’s Mistika post production system based at ARRI Mitte. The successful collaboration between Neue Road Movies and Christian with Mistika at the helm, goes back many years now, where they have worked together before on award-winning and high profile films such as Palermo Shooting and PINA. In Cathedrals of Culture most of the offline editing occurred on location where the buildings were filmed, or where the director resided. A variety of cameras and formats were used ranging from the ARRI Alexa, Canon RAW 5k timelapse, RED 3, 4, and 5K, right through to archival and still shots.
Christian Tröger shares his experiences on how Mistika enabled him to accomplish the required results, “Mistika was again used as the main tool for most of the work but also used as a hub and collector for all other processes. The Mistika timeline was simply created based on an EDL and a reference, with some episodes only modestly tweaked after editing, while other timelines requiring up to 20 stereo layers to organise the different sources, and also to visually vary and blend them to create interesting pictures.” Christian explains further, “We decided to complete this project in a 2.5K workspace, but always directly from the camera footage, which meant that all of the array of resolutions were brought down on-the-fly to a specific 1:1.85 ratio which would fit exactly into the final 2K DCP at a later stage. From this unity resolution, we continued to add the stereoscopic treatment that the film required, including re-framing, compositing, stabilisation and so forth.”
The idea was to merge as many logical steps and tasks together as possible, because the goal in mind was to have only one render process from the camera native file to the final resolution at all times. Christian continues, “When working directly from the native camera files like this, it is still necessary to have robust real-time playback in order not to disrupt the creative flow. Our Mistika runs on the latest HPZ820 with a Nvidia Quadro K6000 GPU, and this provided direct real-time playback in many areas. Where this was impossible, for short sections, I used Mistika’s “look ahead” cache, which pre-processes non real-time elements further along the timeline “on-the-fly”. By the time the play head reaches these elements, they are cached and therefore play in real-time. For longer playback needs, I background-rendered several parts as a 2.5K pixel-native proxy for each eye.”
Christian adds, “A 2.5k stereo as a proxy sounds crazy, but the machines are ready to give – so we should take it, as they can handle it! I made extensive use of Mistika’s built-in batch render manager, so that I could split system performance by processing multiple files in the background while still carrying on with creative work. I also used the batch manager to give Mistika a task-list to complete while I slept! For the real output, Mistika generated a 16bit DPX file sequence, which is the format we use as standard for exchange within ARRI Mitte, as we believe that our interchange format must be of the highest possible quality.”
ARRI Mitte’s workflow solution allows for the DOP and stereographer to work in-house at the same time on the images, but on different systems. Every evening throughout this project, Mistika would diligently output the daily work as stereoscopic 16bit DPX in 2K, which automatically replaced the source pool to feed the grading session.
Every morning began with a screening session with all collected work visible in the theatre. These morning sessions Christian describes as the most important times throughout the six episodes: – DOP, directors, stereographer, producer and artist assembled to spend a concentrated hour together, to define a to do list for that day regarding the overall post production timing. “In my opinion,” he adds, “a stereoscopic project needs more options for collaborative working than 2D projects for example, because the contribution of each department, including editing and colour grading, influences the perceived depth of the images.”
Christian goes on to describe how he approached the management of the project when considering how much to do within Mistika: – “As a finishing artist, you have to understand the moment your client explains the idea. Sometimes it is more efficient to start a separate VFX pipeline with the producers, which means outsourcing a task and then, exporting, coordinating and collecting the results thereafter. On other shots it was much more efficient to complete the shot directly within Mistika. Many other tasks such as tracking, roto-scopic work, relatively complex warps and matching archival footage to the filmed stereo material, were also completed using Mistika.”
He adds further, “When all conform, VFX and stereo work was approved on the Mistika, and this output had been finally graded and rendered, it was just a simple re-link in the timeline to have final colours in the Mistika environments. The next step was to title and finish all the episodes and create the first versions. Projects like this always have a long list of versions and a huge list of deliverables. The versioning is part of Mistika’s role too, as they need to be created from the original sources, which are sometimes within the set-ups or from steps in-between processes.”
Christian explained how all of the set-ups needed to be amended for the mono-scopic theatre version as well, to meet the client’s requirements, discarding all unnecessary stereo adjustments, but keeping all other decisions that had been made on the picture. “The stereoscopic television version also needed a different depth grade and an additional colour grade to bring it to the REC709 standard. All of these important tasks took place within the Mistika timeline.”
Christian noted, “Our last sizeable Stereo 3D project was back in 2010, and since then, the Mistika stereoscopic toolset has grown into a very complex and main core solution. Without the smart functions and the utterly phenomenal speed and usability, we wouldn’t be able to deliver such complex depth grading work, not to mention as well as all the other demanding tasks that Mistika handles at the same time for us.”
The 168-minute film which combines all of the six episodes, examines human life through man made structures, and will be released in Stereo 3D to distinctly capture the very essence of each building. The Director of Stereography was Joséphine Derobe. The films will be shown across the globe, following their Première at the Berlin International Film Festival 2014. Discover more about this fascinating project at the production company’s website.
Wim Wenders: Berliner Philharmonie – Berlin, Deutschland (DOP Christian Rein)
Michael Glawogger: Russische Nationalbibliothek – Sankt Petersburg, Russland (DOP Wolfgang
Michael Madsen: Haftanstalt Halden – Halden, Norwegen (DOP Oistein Mame)
Robert Redford: Salk Institute – La Jolla, Kalifornien, USA (DOP Edward lachman)
Margreth Olin: Opernhaus – Oslo, Norwegen (DOP Wolfgang Thaler)
Karim Ainouz: Centre Pompidou – Paris, Frankreich (DOP Ali Olkay Götzkaya)
Produced by: Erwin M. Schmidt, Gian-Piero Ringel
Executive Producer: Wim Wenders
Co-Producers: Signe Byrge Sørensen, Anne Köhncke (DK), Tommy Pridnig,
Peter Wirthensohn (AT), Maria Ekerhovd (N), Charlotte Uzu (F), Laura Michalchyshyn, Sidney Beaumont (USA), Nobuya Wazaki, Kayo Washio (JP)
Produced by: Neue Road Movies (D)
Co-produced by: Final Cut For Real (DK), Lotus Film (AT), Mer Film (NO),
Les Films d’Ici 2 (FR), Sundance Productions / RadicalMedia (USA), Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg In Collaboration with Arte D/F), Wowow (JP)
Director of Stereography: Joséphine Derobe
ABOUT ARRI MITTE
Arri Film & TV Services Berlin GmbH, Auguststr. 48, 10119 Berlin, Phone +49 30 726267-150
ABOUT CREATIVE TOOLS
SGO’s official German Reseller. www.creativetools.de