Wellington, New Zealand -- It took a world first behind the scenes workflow in order for The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey to become the first large scale wide release feature film to be exhibited in 48 frames per second.
Park Road Post  General Manager Cameron Harland says, together with SGO Mistika , it took two and a half years of research, development, testing and refinement to create the unique workflow. “From on-set services, grading and exhibiting HFR digital dailies through to the DI online, stereoscopic work and final color grading, it was a massive undertaking.”
Utilizing SGO’s Mistika platform as the hub of its large DI infrastructure, Park Road in partnership with SGO, co-developed tools across the entire pipeline. SGO worked in parallel with the Park Road team in Wellington from pre-production through to final delivery of the film developing the tools and inbuilt-HFR feature-set needed to meet the extremely high demands of this complicated production.
Dave Hollingsworth, Park Road’s Head of Picture and Supervising Digital Colourist for The Hobbit says when Park Road discovered Mistika they knew they had found their solution. “When the decision was made to film and post The Hobbit in 48fps 3D, there wasn’t any one product on the market capable of delivering what was needed. SGO had by far the best stereo toolset available and equally importantly, they had a passionate and highly skilled development team that demonstrated an absolute commitment to developing everything else we needed to deliver this film.”
Park Road’s Head of Technology Phil Oatley adds “We wanted to create a complete pipeline, based on one platform, from dailies work and dailies screenings right through to final online, stereo and color grading. Mistika provided a platform that was flexible and robust, gave us even greater speed than what is normally required for your average 2D 24fps project and was so good that the filmmakers never noticed that we were dealing with four times the data of a normal feature.”
Dave Hollingsworth substantiates “What I am most proud of is that, whilst this was potentially the most complex post ever carried out on a feature film, the technology never got in the way of what the filmmaker wanted. It is safe to say that we could not have done it without SGO.”
Executive Vice-President of Feature Post Production at Warner Bros., Marc Solomon states “SGO has shown that it is a cutting edge, forward thinking company with expansive digital tools and experienced professionals. Their contribution to the post of The Hobbit helped us to provide a spectacular looking film.”
SGO's Director of Global Sales and Operations, Geoff Mills affirms “It has been a truly meaningful journey since Park Road first saw Mistika, and recognised the potential in the technology and the team at SGO, to deliver a workflow and creative solution, which stretches the boundaries of film production.”
CEO of SGO, Miguel Angel Doncel asserts “At SGO we recognise each new Mistika installation as the beginning of an exciting partnership between those that create technology and those that use technology to tell stories. We are extremely proud to work closely with Park Road's exceptionally creative and brilliant technical team, who are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible, relying on game-changing technology that grows with them.”
Geoff Mills continues “Our close relationship with Park Road, at all levels, has been instrumental in making HFR Stereo 3D a reality and has demonstrated that above all, it is the people who unlock dreams through passionate determination and ground-breaking development.”
Miguel Angel Doncel confirms “We have immense gratitude to Park Road for their inspirational support and extensive feedback, which helped us to continue to develop Mistika to have even more innovative and cutting-edge features that are required to make extraordinary projects such as “The Hobbit” trilogy. The results are breath-taking and have made momentous movie history. We look forward to continuing the great relationship we have built with their incredible team for many more years to come.”
The development partnership that exists between the two companies, is a significant testament to the combined commitment to create new workflows and forward thinking techniques, and will enable Park Road to stay on the very edge of new film making technologies now and in the future.
Source: Park Road Post/SGO