Mistika, powerfully different, revolutionizes colour correction and finishing with the most advanced tools and workflows for grading.
To provide enhanced creative capability within online grading and finishing SGO is proud to announce the development of Spatial Isolation Toolset to its world renowned Mistika DI, Grading and Finishing system for Mistika version 8.2
In both 2D and Stereo 3D finishing it is common for multiple objects to brought together from separate creative systems, using masks, object IDs, positional information, travelling mattes, etc, and in the case of live-action Stereo 3D, associated z-depth maps. Unfortunately, it is standard practice for such information to be dropped before entering the on-line grading and finishing, especially when the number of objects being combined is large in number, resulting in a single-plane image with no ability to re-adjust objects independently within the grading and finishing stage of the project workflow.
SGO’s new Spatial Isolation Toolset works with all the associated additional object information, enabling the simple selection of any object or group of objects, providing total interactivity with respect to blending objects together through the use of Mistika’s advanced grading tools.
A colourist can use any object selection options by single clicking any elements or part of an element, correcting only object surfaces pointing in certain directions, or separate objects by a z-depth range selection, all of which can be combined with traditional object isolation modes, such as windows and colour or luminance range selection, but now with total object isolation accuracy.
What Spatial Isolation offers to the colourist is not compositing – it is object separation inside the colour grading workflow, using the information provided by the previous effects and compositing systems. This means it is no longer necessary to spend time attempting to fine-tune objects integration with their surroundings with the slow and non-interactive capabilities provided within effects systems, instead allowing the real-time and fully interactive capabilities of Mistika to creatively light and grade 3D animation objects sympathetically within their final surroundings.
When working with Stereo 3D footage the associated z-depth map can just as easily be used to perform object and image plane isolation, allowing the colourist to perform far greater creative manipulations, from grading and colour correction, to defocus, and re-lighting, further enhancing the reality that Stereo 3D can bring to the big screen.
“SGO strives to bring unique and unmatched creative capabilities to its customers, and Spatial Isolation is a perfect example of SGO’s ability to think beyond the normal constraints associated with grading and finishing”, added Geoff Mills, Sales Director, SGO.
Spatial Isolation Toolset
Directional Relighting (a.k.a. “pick direction”)
Utilise the Surface Normals layer of an EXR source clip to simulate directional lighting within the original 3D environment.
Localised Positional Relighting (a.k.a. “pick position”)
Use the XYZ Position layer of an EXR source clip to generate grading selections or alpha channels that simulate localised positional lighting within 3D space
Object Selection (a.k.a. “pick object”)
Use either the Object ID layer or Material ID layer of an EXR source clip to generate clean and accurate grading selections or alpha channels that specifically isolate individual CGI objects.
Stereo Depth Selection (a.k.a. “pick depth”)
Generate grading selections and alpha channels that allow both colour correction and other effects to be applied either locally within a narrow depth plane, or variably within the depth of a stereo 3D scene.
Within the framework of its international development, LevelS33D, a company specialized in high-end post-production and development of augmented reality applications and transmedia solutions, will organise, from April 21st till May 2nd, 2014, a 10 days Mistika training on Stereo 3D post production.
8, rue Godillot
93400 Saint Ouen
Date and duration
April 21st – May 2nd, 2014
10 days (70 hours)
10:00 am to 6:00 pm / Monday – Friday
More information here
Hollywood’s most innovative stereoscopic and visual effects company Legend3D, has invested in SGO’s trail-blazing technology to launch them to the next level. Esteemed for delivering the highest-quality Stereo 3D film conversions, Legend3D will integrate its Mistika post production system with two Assist Stations into the conversion and visual effects pipeline at the Company’s impressive 60,000 sq. ft. studio with multiple theaters and R&D facilities. With the capacity to work on up to three full feature films and multiple commercials concurrently, Legend3D delivers world-class high quality projects such as The Lego Movie, Man of Steel, Life of Pi, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Smurfs 1 & 2, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, and many others.
Legend3D’s Director of I.T. Anthony Lopez, says “We looked at Mistika a while ago and were immediately impressed, and after researching all competitive products, we came to the conclusion that SGO is refreshingly different and a company we can work with, not only because of their passionate commitment to the S3D industry, but also for our mutually beneficial development opportunities.” He expands, “As we continue to grow, so do our systems and technology. Mistika is a trustworthy system with dependable 4K S3D real-time playback and visual effects capabilities that can handle everything from editorial, depth grading, and they are open and accessible to partner on development projects. We plan on using Mistika as a client facing platform to create realtime, on-the-fly adjustments to suit our clients creative needs.”
“Legend3D’s constantly evolving tools and workflow, combined with Mistika’s innovation, manages to liberate precious man hours into productive creativity. We foresee Mistika playing a huge role here and its time-saving strengths make it a wise investment.” explains Jared Sandrew, Legend3D’s Creative Director. “We have a great deal of respect for SGO’s development team with their professionalism and flexibility to tailor their technologies around our specific needs. Their personalized service has won us over as well as Mistika’s compelling attributes that cleverly merge S3D toolsets, grading, compositing and finishing all in one powerful system, providing us with ultimate control, instilling even greater confidence in our work from our clients. We are very enthusiastic about this next chapter and we look forward to ongoing development with SGO as we work on new feature films using Mistika such as Jupiter Ascending and many more.”
Geoff Mills, Director of SGO’s Global Sales and Operations adds, “It’s incredibly rewarding to see Legend3D set the pace with SGO’s technology in their pipeline. With Mistika as an indispensable resource, we are immensely proud to contribute to their successful productivity and to play a crucial part in their new development phase. We look forward to a profound relationship with them for many years to come.”
SGO’s official U.S. Reseller Partner, Colin Ritchie at AArmadillo confirms, “Legend3D is the perfect client for SGO and Mistika, they share a desire to deliver the best that 3D can offer. The plan is to integrate Mistika into the unique Legend 3D pipeline with custom tools and configurations. This is an exciting time for both companies as we approach 4K, HFR and HDR imaging, it’s good to know that Mistika will be a big part of what Legend 3D delivers next.”
ABOUT LEGEND3D – California-based Legend3D, Inc. is an innovative 3D visual effects and conversion company committed to advancing the 3D medium globally. Legend3D leverages the most sought-after 3D talent with cutting-edge technology and works closely with the creative community to elevate the art of 3D on new feature films while also identifying opportunities to generate new revenue from iconic library titles. Founded in 2001 by Dr. Barry Sandrew, Legend3D utilizes its patented proprietary technology to create the highest quality conversions with the fastest turnaround time at the most competitive pricing in the industry. For more information, please visit www.Legend3D.com.
ABOUT AARMADILLO – AArmadillo is a unique resource to the Entertainment industry consistently introducing ground breaking products to the business. They have been in business 10 years and during that time have played a significant role in Private Media Networks, On Set Recorders, 3D workstations, On Set Daylies Systems, Mobile video and rendering trucks and Color Correction Suite design. The company has a wealth of knowledge with digital pipeline development, both 2D and 3D and has advanced solutions to solve today’s production challenges. Visit them at www.aarmadillo.com
28 March 2014, Los Angeles, California
12 – 13 March 2014, BFI, London
SGO proudly continued its sponsorship of the 3D Creative Summit again this year. Produced by Ravensbourne and the International 3D Society, the event featured the talented people and creative technologies behind the best 3D films and television programmes of the past year culminating in a celebration of the world’s most excellent content. Mistika “Bootcamp” presentations took place in the 3D Theatre on both days followed by Q&A’s. In addition, a series of exclusive screenings with expert practitioners lined-up the exciting two-day summit, many of whom have used Mistika in their projects.
Highlights included, Mistika owner and Vision3’s Co-Founder and Stereo Supervisor Chris Parks, presenting a showcase of the BAFTA award-winning film Gravity. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Stereographer Demetri Portelli discussing The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet, colour graded and finished in Mistika. Legend3D Stereo Supervisor Jared Sandrew demonstrated how 3D post conversion is becoming more sophisticated and engaging than ever. James Cameron also shared his experiences including the filming of the Deep Sea Challenge documentary. 3ality CEO and 3D Producer Steve Schklair explored Stalingrad’s jaw dropping action and discussed how new projects continue to push the boundaries in shooting 3D natively. Released in October and soon becoming Russia’s highest grossing film, Stalingrad is an epic on an unimaginable scale. Details about the speakers can be found here.
14 March 2014, Soho, London
Booth #SL9021, 7 – 10 April, NAB 2014, Las Vegas Convention Centre, Nevada
SGO’s new strap line “Beautifully Creative Technology” sums-up the ethos behind the company’s avant-garde performance-leading development drive to provide creative artists with the most empowering facilities available. SGO will exhibit the latest additions to its range of extremely powerful Mistika post production systems and Mamba FX compositing software at the 2014 NAB Show. SGO’s technology will demonstrate how broadcasters and post facilities can transform their companies by accessing new markets and revolutionising creativity and efficiency in colour grading, finishing and compositing with Mistika and Mamba FX.
– Mistika post production system will support the stylish Precision Grading Panel, read more
– Mamba FX is now available on Linux and soon on MAC! read more
– Preview of the Mistika V8.2 Spatial Isolation Toolset, read more
Mistika Post – Powerfully Different
Designed to be different, SGO unveils its new Mistika range based on accelerated optimum performance levels, namely Mistika Post, Mistika Optima and Mistika Ultima in version 8.0. Radically crossing the boundaries between grading, compositing and editing for ultimate creative freedom in real time, Mistika seamlessly merges all post disciplines for broadcast and film. All projects, irrespective of size, can be completed on any Mistika system, with the fastest being Mistika Ultima, handling HFR capabilities, 4K and beyond, in real time. New features include a Spatial Isolation Toolset with the ability to allow grading selections or keying mattes to be derived from CGI object meta data. Other new key features in version 8.0 include an all-new node-based compositing interface, support for Canon’s RMF, Sony’s XAVC, enhanced AAF support, ProRes 4:4:4:4 file formats, a re-branding output render module and Dolby Atmos DCP generation. SGO will also showcase Mistika on other booths at NAB, with updated information soon to be made available on the SGO website.
Mistika Air – Intelligent Broadcasting
Mistika Air is a specific version of Mistika especially tailored for broadcasters of HD, Ultra HD and beyond. Mistika Air Ultra allows for even greater speed and throughput in a crowded multi-platform environment that caters for the delivery of high resolution programmes, which are swiftly becoming the standard. Mistika provides a viable and stress-tested solution which promotes seamless integration and high-end production tools for HD, Ultra HD and 8K productions. Mistika also boasts 4K HFR modes at 59p and 60p speeds for the UHD market, supported through the QuadSDI standard.
Mamba FX – Evolution Redefined
Mamba FX is SGO’s affordable and very powerful, open, node-based compositor introduced at NAB for the first time since its initial launch at IBC2013. It displays an intuitive node-based graphic interface delivering an integral visual effects suite with unlimited compositing layers and effects. Mamba FX can also be extended with OFX plug-ins or additional options from SGO. These options include DCP creation and access to SGO’s unbeatable stereo correction tools. Mamba FX is available to order online at www.sgo.es/shop including access to tutorials and forum support.
Miguel Angel Doncel, CEO of SGO says “What keeps SGO’s technology at the forefront of cutting-edge innovation is that we are continuously creating radically cool new solutions that transcend traditional film and broadcasting. We are not hesitant to embrace change in new ways in the best interests of the industry that we passionately serve.”
Geoff Mills, SGO’s Director of Global Sales & Operations adds “SGO is enjoying continued growth around the world as more and more people adopt our products. Customers are drawn to agile technology that gears them up for every potential encounter. SGO’s future-ready dependability and foresight enables customers to prepare for any project of any size, at any time, anywhere, right now and in the future.”
SGO appreciates the dedicated support of technology partners ATTO Tech, Bright Technologies, Canon, Dolby, Dot Hill, DVS, HP, NVIDIA and Tangent Devices at the show this year. Look out for further NAB announcements on SGO’s website as the event date draws closer.
Book your Mistika Demo at firstname.lastname@example.org and register for NAB at www.nabshow.com using Guest Pass Code: LV9255. Feel the difference at the SGO Booth – the SGO team looks forward to welcoming you to enjoy their technology.
NAB Show® is the world’s largest electronic media show covering filmed entertainment and the development, management and delivery of content across all mediums. With more than 93,000 Attendees from 156 countries and 1,550+ Exhibitors, NAB Show is the ultimate marketplace for digital media and entertainment.
Visit them at www.nabshow.com
Press Release Date: 28 February 2014, Madrid, Spain
12 – 13 March 2014, BFI, London
SGO proudly continues its sponsorship of the 3D Creative Summit. This important event, produced by Ravensbourne and the International 3D Society features the talented people and creative technologies behind the best 3D films and television programmes of the past year culminating in a celebration of the world’s most excellent content. Mistika presentations will take place in the 3D Theatre on both days followed by Q&A’s. In addition, a series of exclusive screenings with expert practitioners will line-up the exciting two-day summit, many of whom have used Mistika in their projects. Meet the team behind the event here.
Highlights include, Mistika owner and Vision3’s Co-Founder and Stereo Supervisor Chris Parks, presenting a showcase of the BAFTA award-winning film Gravity. Director Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Stereographer Demetri Portelli will also present a Q&A on The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet which was colour graded and finished in Mistika at Paris’ Digimage Cinema in multiple resolutions and formats, including IMAX 3D. In an exclusive recorded interview, James Cameron will also be sharing his experiences including the filming of the Deep Sea Challenge documentary. Digital Pictures in Melbourne used Mistika for the post production of the film. Details about the speakers can be found here.
SGO’s recently appointed Reseller Partner root6 is proud to present for the first time at BVE this month at stand H16, the might of Mistika’s capabilities including UHD.
root6’s stand theme “Work. Anywhere.”, epitomises everything about Mistika with its expedient cost-effective workflows, unbeatable speed, sheer versatility and coveted toolsets. Root6 will demonstrate how innovative technologies like Mistika can eliminate constraints imposed by location, achieving increased efficiency and more profitable post production. The company will also showcase Mistika workflow demonstrations, highlighting its proven and trusted DI colour grading and finishing capabilities for post production facilities and broadcasters.
Rupert Watson, Founder of root6 affirms, “We’ve set aside a dedicated area for Mistika on the stand as we’re confidently expecting great interest from our customers in high-end post. They’ll be blown away when they experience the incredible performance of this revolutionary system.”
“BVE is an ideal opportunity for media industry professionals to realise that Mistika is ahead of the game and vital technology their organisation cannot afford to miss. They will discover how SGO’s strategy for delivering a complete post production solution can solve their specific challenges of today and the future. We are excited that root6 will be placing Mistika in the limelight at this very important UK event.” confirms Geoff Mills, SGO’s Director of Global Sales & Operations.
The UK’s broadcast and production technology exhibition hosting over 300 exhibitors, including manufacturers, distributors and resellers of professional production and broadcast equipment and systems. Register for the show at www.bvexpo.com
More info about SGO and root6 here.
“Mistika is a beautiful thing. It has power and agility and is like no other system on the market. Its enormous speed and elegance crush the most demanding finishing tasks…”
Rupert Watson, Director of root6, London
Director of root6 Rupert Watson says, “We primarily founded root6 to introduce Microsoft Softimage | DS to UK post production so we are more than familiar with the requirements of bringing revolutionary kit to the attention of our friends in high-end post. Mistika is a beautiful thing. It has power and agility and is like no other system on the market. Its enormous speed and elegance crush the most demanding finishing tasks and we look forward to introducing the technology to our clients as they head for the sunlit uplands of 4K (UHD) post production.”
SGO’s Director of Global Sales & Operations Geoff Mills states, “We met with root6 at the end of last year where they highlighted increasing customer interest in Mistika and Mamba FX. Consequently, and also due to SGO’s ongoing expansion, we have agreed to form a reseller partnership which will bring valuable expertise and additional resources to support our growing customer base, while at the same time, maintaining SGO’s key values of personalised service. The decision to combine efforts with root6, a well-respected high-profile organisation, further compliments our current activity and position in the region.”
Established for over 16 years, root6 supplies technology, consultancy and systems integration services to UK broadcasters, post houses and production companies for the creation, management and delivery of digital content. root6 offers customer support from individual products to systems and facility-wide installations and many organisations large and small rely on its service which can be tailored to suit individual requirements.
More about root6 at www.root6.com
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
“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