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
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