End-to-end postproduction services for LAIKA’s latest 3D animated feature include raw file conversion, digital intermediate and color grading.
Post company FotoKem provided end-to-end postproduction services -- including raw file conversion, digital intermediate and color grading -- for LAIKA’s latest 3D animated feature, The Boxtrolls.
Directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable, and based on the book “Here Be Monsters,” by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls was released by Focus Features in the U.S. on September 26.
FotoKem’s relationship with LAIKA goes back to Coraline and ParaNorman. For ParaNorman, the facilities collaborated on the trailers and advertising campaign. For The Boxtrolls, both LAIKA and FotoKem upped the ante, choosing an end-to-end EXR workflow working in 16-bit float throughout the entire process. Grading was completed in the Mistika with colorist John Daro.
The Boxtrolls shot Canon 5D in raw format. Those raw files were converted to EXR to give the creative and technical teams full control over the linear sensor data. Shot and edited at LAIKA in Hillsboro, Oregon, files were delivered to FotoKem via globalDATA, the company’s proprietary encrypted file transfer platform.
As FotoKem colorist John Daro got to work on the project, he converted from gamma 1.0, using an invertible GLSL functional curve. “Without the tools we have put into place, and the flexibility of the Mistika, The Boxtrolls would have been more challenging for us,” Daro said.
Testing and working with the footage helped Daro overcome the nuances of working in a linear gamma 1.0 environment. One example was the need to manipulate highlights that extended past standard reference white. To address that, Daro built a custom node with two separate corrections. One correction handled the base range, and the second handled any extended range values. The two outputs were then combined to form the final picture.
Daro collaborated with the filmmakers from the trailer through production, so when it was time for the digital intermediate, there was a library of still images and color settings to reference.
“Working with LAIKA is a highly creative, interactive experience,” Daro noted. “Every movie is unique, because they are so passionate about the art form of stop motion and the advancement of its capabilities. They are clearly dedicated to doing things right, doing them the very best way– even though that might mean that the process may be harder and more time-consuming.”