Nucoda Powers Film Factory's Work on 'Mirror Mirror'

Digital Vision returns in a supporting role to the Film Factory in the finishing of Relativity Media's Mirror Mirror.

Press release from Digital Vision:

Las Vegas, NVDigital Vision returns in a supporting role to the Paris-based Film Factory, a global post-production company, in the finishing of Relativity Media's Mirror Mirror. The beautifully stylized retelling of the Snow White tale, featuring Julia Roberts as the Evil Queen, is a visual feast, pushing post production and visual effects fully to express the filmmaker's colorful vision. The project, which was directed by Tarsem Singh and shot by Brendan Galvin on the Sony F35, was completed at the Montreal-based facilities of Film Factory. Lionel Kopp, Founder of Film Factory and one of the world's leading colorists, worked closely with the project's creative visionaries, assisted by the expertise within Digital Vision to execute a dynamic color pipeline.

Mirror Mirror was directed, shot and produced by the same creative team that delivered The Immortals to audiences last year, and the design of the production-through-final color workflow had been developed for that earlier project. Like its predecessor, Mirror Mirror had a number of complex visual elements to manage and with the experience gained on The Immortals, this guaranteed a fast turnaround. The Film Factory's process is centered on the Nucoda Film Master, which marries a powerful on-set solution to the final color pass. The Film Master system, which included a SAN and Nucoda Fuse assist station, was installed on set in Montreal. From the set, Kopp did a grading pass of the Sony F35 dailies, which were then sent to the editing room with the color settings. In some cases, a further grading took place prior to dailies screening in the DI suite with director and crew. Designing this system meant that the dailies - from the set through screening and ultimately delivery - were kept in a closely matched, carefully monitored environment. As he did for The Immortals, Kopp graded every take from the first day of dailies through completion of the DI.

"Building the infrastructure frees me and the director to concentrate on what we really want to do, and that is to create something beautiful," says Kopp. "This workflow allowed the artistic process to go on through the entire course of the project, not just at the end. It was all about the color palette and choosing visuals that we wanted in the story. If you have to worry about how the pipeline is going to work, that takes time away from what is important. Nucoda has freed us from those concerns. That is why we started with one, and now have three." 

In addition to dailies and preparing for the DI, there were previews of the film, which were graded and screened for preview audiences. When audience comments came in, the notes were incorporated into the process and considered for the final DI grade. Working in the Nucoda facilitated easy export for those previews.

Colorist Marc Boucrot, who also worked on the project for Film Factory, notes, "From our experience on The Immortals, we were ready and comfortable to go through the process a second time. That was important, since the time frame for Mirror Mirror was significantly compressed, and there were previews to incorporate. With four months from beginning to end, there was simply no time for missteps and confusion in the pipeline. The Nucoda was a critical piece of our success in this project."

There were nearly 1,300 visual effects shots in the movie, and Kopp states, "The Nucoda enabled us to have one central hub, where dailies color settings, visual effects and eventually the DI was managed. There were vendors from all over the world, but the VFX Supervisor, Tom Wood, was in house with us in Montreal during the shoot, and in the post production building at Wildfire Studios in Los Angeles where editing, sound editing and mixing, and DI rooms were all together. As shots came in, we were able to look at them in the DI rooms and see how they were working. The ability to have all of these activities going on in one location, our facility, was crucial given the time frame and the visual style of the movie."

"Keeping the process in-house was important." Kopp adds. "Helping Tarsem execute his vision for Mirror Mirror was our first priority. Every project we undertake is an artistic and technical process, and we plan and execute how to do that in the best way, from day one to the final delivery. We want to be efficient, creative, and enable filmmakers to tell the story they set out to tell. As we finish this second project with our Nucoda driven pipeline, we have seen again that the Nucoda Film Master is fundamental to our process."

Mirror Mirror continues rolling out in theaters worldwide.

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