October 24, 2007

End-to-End Postproduction on Gone Baby Gone By Modern VideoFilm

Glendale, Calif. - Modern VideoFilm, Hollywood’s premiere feature film and television postproduction facility, was instrumental in managing and completing all the post work on Gone Baby Gone, the feature film directorial debut of Academy Award-winner Ben Affleck. 
In a start-to-finish post effort, Modern deployed many of its cutting-edge tools to handle dailies, digital intermediate work,and color correction for the mystery thriller, now in theatres. 

In Gone Baby Gone, two private investigators navigate Boston’s underworld as they search for an abducted four-year-old girl. The film stars Casey Affleck (Ocean’s Eleven), Michelle Monaghan (Mission: Impossible III), Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman, and Academy Award-nominee Ed Harris.   
Gone Baby Gone was shot on 35mm negative film on location in Boston, with Academy Award-winner cinematographer John Toll, ASC in control of cameras and lighting. Modern created high-definition dailies during the shoot so Affleck could see uncompressed footage.  
“Ben was hands-on with the dailies and wanted to cut certain scenes himself,” says Marcie Jastrow, vice president of sales, Modern VideoFilm. “We digitized the material at high resolution to create the electronic dailies that he needed.”
Once the Boston shoot was over, the producers set up their editorial operation in rented space at the Lantana Center in Santa Monica to do the offline creative cut. The edit decision list then went to Modern VideoFilm’s Glendale facility, where the rest of the postproduction was done at 2K resolution. 
“We re-scanned everything at 2K, conformed it on our Quantel iQ system, did the color correction with the da Vince Resolve, then output it back to film,” summarizes Jastrow. The DI was done by Modern VideoFilm iQ artist Roger Berger using the iQ exclusively. “The iQ was the hub for the entire process,” says Berger. “It began with editorial delivering a scan list to us, and we scanned all of the negative necessary for the film. After that, we conform it all in the iQ.”
During the DI process, Berger used the iQ to combine additional material with the footage. One set of elements that needed to be integrated was a considerable amount of television imagery, since much of the story surrounding the search for the abducted child is told through TV news reports. Berger used the iQ to burn these elements onto blank TV sets. Berger also deployed the iQ to integrate visual effects shots into the movie. These were sent as files to Modern VideoFilm from a variety of visual effects house.
“The iQ was great,” says Berger. “It fully handles things that might otherwise take two or three steps with other systems.”
For color correction, Gone Baby Gone was first scanned using a Thomson Grass Valley Spirit 4K at 2K resolution. After that, Modern VideoFilm colorist Skip Kimbal worked on the material using the da Vinci Resolve system. Kimbal is highly experienced with Resolve. “I know it like the back of my hand,” he says. “It’s a lot more powerful than anything out there. It has unlimited windows and layers.”
The color-correction process lasted roughly 80 hours in total, Kimbal estimates, with Affleck and Toll sitting with Kimbal during much of that time. Often projecting scenes on Modern VideoFilm’s 24-foot screen using the facility’s Christie DLP 2K projector, together they decided on the final look of the film, and the different moods they would give certain scenes, like the numerous flashbacks. Affleck demonstrated a good grasp of technology during his work at Modern.
“Ben has a lot of passion for this project,” says Jastrow. “He’s really technical and wants to make good decisions. Gone Baby Gone has a very specific look to it. Ben Affleck worked very closely with John Toll to ensure their vision was adequately conveyed.”
Gone Baby Gone is based on the novel by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River) and adapted for the screen by Affleck and Aaron Stockard. Miramax will release the film in October.