SCRATCH Takes The Amazing Journey To The Center Of The Earth In 3-D
"But the biggest challenge was planning and implementing a fluid 3-D workflow that didn't exist before, including all the necessary tools and staffing in one dedicated project facility," Kaminsky said. "Jonas had already four-walled the beautiful studio theater at Widget Post in Hollywood as a screening room so we decided to build out a DI project studio there. We set up servers, workstations, 3-D projection and everything that we needed in one room. It was a beautiful purpose-built project studio where the 3-D DI team worked every day, and the filmmakers, vfx team and studio staff convened daily for working sessions. This concept was borne out of two goals: to expedite a 3-D film through all the post-production phases while achieving extremely high-quality results; and to stay within budget by eliminating, whenever possible, the extra steps and time factors involved in posting a film across multiple facilities. Without SCRATCH as the core workflow platform it would never have been possible to execute this logistical plan within our budget."
Kaminsky continued, "It was also Gary Jackemuk's mission to work out the nuts and bolts of the practical dataflow through all of the systems that we had put together. He has deep experience with developing these kinds of complex data and process systems and is a great coder in a number of languages. Gary built custom software to manipulate the raw frames, move files and folders around the systems in an efficient way, and create new connections between platforms and software systems so that it all worked. At the end of the day, Gary was the glue and the brains behind the technical execution. We put SCRATCH at the center of a unique architecture and process and Gary figured out how to make it all work together so that the 3-D DI team and all the departments fit into a functional process together."
Director Eric Brevig brought a wealth of visual effects knowledge to the film, having worked as the vfx supervisor for a long list of films, including THE VILLAGE (2004), PEARL HARBOR (2001), MEN IN BLACK (1997), TOTAL RECALL (1990), and an early 3-D film, CAPTAIN EO (1986).
For hardware at the 3-D DI suite, the system included a dozen Hewlett-Packard 8400 quad-processor workstations with Nvidia GeForce FX5600 graphics cards, 14 Samsung monitors, and three Facilis 24D terablock servers. Four SCRATCH stations were set up, one each for Conform, Color Grading, QC and VFX Reviews. KeyCode Media, led by Tim Canella, provided and integrated the hardware with great support from Grady Sellards of Asia Media Products, the local rep for Facilis.
Kaminsky said, "The real-time feature set of SCRATCH really pays off. The team was quickly able to assemble the film, provide a live working build for reviewing and finishing vfx, and create the color language from the very beginning. The team spent 10 months on post-production, which when using SCRATCH was able to be done in stereoscopic 3-D from the onset. Or, we could have done it with standard methods, but not get the same quality result and interactive process as we did with SCRATCH. We would have missed out on the dynamic and focused experience we had by deploying SCRATCH in our purpose-built suite."
Kaminsky added, "It was extraordinary for the DI team and the VFX department to work with the director and studio in real-time 3-D, in front of the filmmakers. The real-time post process proved to be amazingly productive for everyone involved, from conforming, to color grading, dropping in the VFX, and client review sessions. Each day was a working session -- perfecting the film and seeing the results."
JOURNEY TO THE CENTER OF THE EARTH was shot on the Cameron/Pace Fusion 3D Camera. The files were first played out on the HDCAM SR on dual tapes. It was then loaded onto tape decks, converted to DPX files, and then imported by SCRATCH. Avid was used to edit the offline cut and create the EDLs. The visual effects were already delivered in DPX and were easily dropped into SCRATCH. Two projectors were used for the 3D viewing, using a timeline of the cut in real time.