Never Die Alone Slated for Digital Intermediate Finishing at Cinesite

Cinesite Hollywood will provide digital intermediate and vfx services for the Fox Searchlight release NEVER DIE ALONE. The film noir directed by cinematographer Ernest Dickerson will premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 19, 2004, and is slated for wide release on March 19.

Based on cult novelist Donald Goines' book of the same name, NEVER DIE ALONE is about King David (DMX), a hard-boiled, stylish criminal who returns to his hometown seeking redemption and finding only violent death.

Dickerson and cinematographer Matt Libatique explored a resurging approach to producing independent features for NEVER DIE ALONE. They opted for the Super 16 film format, which provided both cost benefits and creative flexibility.

Cinesite president Dan Lombardo notes that advances in film and intermediate technologies are converging to make the Super 16 mm format a viable alternative for budget conscious filmmaking. After the Super 16 negative is scanned, converted to digital files and auto-conformed, Libatique will color time the film shot-to-shot, to balance and fine-tune the images for dramatic intent. Cinesite will also provide a range of digital opticals and compositing services. The timed digital files will then be recorded out onto to a 35 mm color intermediate.

"Digital intermediate technology provides directors and cinematographers very flexible creative tools," explains Lombardo. "We can capture all of the nuances in colors and contrast recorded on the negative with our Lightning or Northlight scanner. While color timing the film, in realtime, we can use Power Windows software to isolate regions in the frame to adjust subtle details that would never be achieved traditionally. By recording directly onto a 35 mm intermediate film, the filmmakers avoid the need to make optical blowups. This combination of advances in technology allows them to shoot in Super 16 format and produce cinema grade prints."

Digital intermediate technology provides a universal format for making both film and high-definition video masters. Traditionally, cinematographers had to time films once for cinema release, and a second time for the television and home video releases. Now filmmakers have the option of a one-step process that saves time and money as well as ensuring the integrity of the filmmaker's vision.

Established in 1992, Cinesite Inc. ( is a Kodak subsidiary and part of the company's Entertainment Imaging division. Cinesite Hollywood offers digital intermediate/mastering, digital restoration and scanning and recording services. Cinesite (Europe) Ltd. in London offers vfx and physical effects through their subsidiary Effects Associates.