Burbank California USA
CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.
How did you come to work on "Avatar"?
There was some sales effort, but also we had a long relationship with Lightstorm and James Cameron's group for quite some time, going all the way back to "Ghost of the Abyss"
-- we did the 3D work and the post on that. It was exciting to hear about Avatar over the years, and we knew that it was something we wanted to be part of.
We've always been kind of cutting edge, and helping develop for the post end of 3D. Jim has been working hot and heavy on the production side of 3D. So, it was a good marriage that brought us together.
Thinking about it first is an infrastructure question rather than a workflow question: how did you start to put together the network?
First off, we had to determine that the line structure was there, between the Fox lot and our facilities, so that we could make the distance with the bandwidth that we needed. Once that was all worked out, and all the points in the route to our remote locations were set up, we started building a mirrored database system. Basically, we could be in any location, working with real-time files that are stored on the SAN here in our Glendale facility. All of those pieces and parts and proprietary mirroring data movement software had to be written, between the devices and the SAN we were working with. It took a little while, and took a lot of planning, but it all came together.
What can you tell us about the pipe?
We used a dedicated dark fibre, secure line, that shot files to one of our facilities down by LAX, and from LAX onto the Fox lot.
The files were mostly HD, 1920x1080 DPX -- 1920x1080 was the native format from the camera, basically 1:78 HD. There were also high res files: 2K, a quasi-3K file, and 4K files, all in DPX format. The high-res files were coming mostly out of WETA [in New Zealand], piped over to us for DI.
We started early on to develop these processes, about 10 months ago, while we were working on road shows for Avatar Day, Comic-Con -- all those things. We did assembles of the early shots, early temp shots, and started our base grade and fed that to the studio for their approval.
Once it came down to crunch time in the last few months, we set up on the Fox lot. We set up a system for Jim to make 3D visual effects approvals, to determine whether the shots needed to go back and get updates, and also whether they worked in stereo. We would conform and put the final shots into the final timelines, then go through another pass with color with Jim, and then stereo optimization with him, and then he would make his final decisions at that point.
Director James Cameron on the Set of Avatar. Photo Credit: Mark Fellman. ™ and ©2009 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights Reserved.
When you say crunch time, what's the time frame? We know he likes to work close to the end.
Yeah, it was getting late. The whole thing stemmed from the fact that Jim had so much to do, with very little time -- meaning leading up to the last two to three months. You know, he had to be in many places at once because he is very hands-on in all areas; editorial, color, audio, whatever it is.
So the environment had to be set up where he could do almost everything in one place, without having to travel 45 minutes across the town. He didn't have the luxury of that time. The Fox location was designed so that he could jump from room to room down on the lot, get things done, and then hop back in other rooms and so forth.
|Related Articles / Tutorials:|
How Kubrick Achieved the Cinematography of Barry Lyndon
Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon is often lauded as one of the greatest achievements in the history of cinematography. And in a decade or even a year with some of the toughest competition imaginable, Barry Lyndon always seems to stick out just a little bit more. What sets the cinematography of Barry Lyndon apart from other movies? And how was it done? Let's explore the story...
Robert McLachlan: Cinematographer for Game of Thrones
Robert McLachlan is the cinematographer of Game of Thrones, Westworld and Ray Donovan, and he joins commercial director and Go Creative Show host Ben Consoli to share behind the scenes stories from some of his most iconic scenes including The Red Wedding and The Loot Train Battle.
Feature, People / Interview
DJI Mavic Pro In Depth Review - The Best 4K Drone?
VFX guru Tobias Gleissenberger was so delighted with the DJI Mavic Pro 4K drone that he bought (yes, bought) that he was inspired to take a break from making tutorials to create an in-depth review of this compact, lightweight, consumer drone offering terrific value. No, it's not a platform for your digital cinema camera, but if you're looking for a fast, fun, integrated 4K camera drone packed with features, the Mavic Pro might be for you. This review is delivered Surfaced Studio-style, with wit, high energy, and details you won't find anywhere else.
Beautiful 8K Timelapse of Norway's Four Seasons
One year of planning, one year of shooting, and four months of post-production is a lot of time to spend on a single timelapse, but photographer Morten Rustad‘s creation SEASONS of NORWAY captured this 8K masterpiece by travelling a total of 20,000
Join Go Creative Show host, Ben Consoli and his special guest, David Klein, ASC, cinematographer of Homeland and True Blood. David is here to talk all about it all. His love of realism has defined a generation of filmmaking and he continues to execute it flawlessly with his work on Homeland. David talks with us about all his gear and lighting choices, shooting hand-held effectively and how the best film education is to simply shoot something.
Feature, People / Interview
All Eyes on IBC 2016 for Cameras and Lenses Galore
What’s that you say? An IBC that’s not only relevant, but downright exhilarating?
This used to not be news, of course. However, in recent years, IBC has too often become simply an opportunity for European audiences to see products already announced at NAB. In 2016, however, the focus swings sharply to Amsterdam, especially when it comes to cameras and lenses. IBC 2016 is shaping up to be one of the most dramatic trade shows for cinematographers, broadcasters, and videographers in years. Join Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson for a speedy overview of some of the highlights.
Depth of Field: Gregg Toland, Citizen Kane and Beyond
Whenever somebody equates "shallow depth of field" and "cinematic look," it's important to remember that the opposite is also sometimes true. Creative COW Editor-in-Chief Tim Wilson celebrates the work of Gregg Toland, ASC, born this week in 1904 -- the first master of extreme depth of field in movies like Citizen Kane and The Grapes of Wrath that forever changed what is possible for humans to do with cameras. This reprise of a classic article from the Creative COW Archives also offers a look at what Toland's approach to cinematic composition can mean for YOUR shooting.
New Trends and Technology at Cine Gear Expo 2016
Cine Gear Expo 2016 exhibits open Friday June 3 and 4, at Paramount Studios in Hollywood, California with major screenings, filmmaker panel discussions, groundbreaking techniques and new equipment premiers that are sure to influence the filmmaking industry. Catering to the world’s top motion picture, video and new media visual artists, Paramount’s prestigious back lot is the ideal setting for professionals to meet with colleagues and nearly 300 top equipment vendors to see live demos and get their hands on the latest gear. Take a look at how this year's hottest trends are shaping up.
School, Teachers, Italian Neorealism & a Few Soviet Films
In this exclusive interview, generously granted to Creative COW by the Gamma and Density Journal, during his lifetime, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, sat down with Yuri Neyman, ASC to talk about his life as a cinematographer. We remember the genius.
Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, 1930 - 2016 - Remembering the Genius
Winner of an Academy Award for Best Cinematography for his work on Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the long list of official accolades for Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC doesn't begin to illustrate the impact his work has had on generations of artists around the world. Friend, colleague, and Global Cinematography Institute co-founder Yuri Neyman, ASC shares some of his memories with us.
Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Yuri Neyman, ASC