Media World Studios, in association with FTG Media, created the film using Sony F3 cameras and Cinedeck’s EX digital recorder. The film stars Billy Zane (Titanic), Lacey Chabert (Mean Girls), Danielle Harris (Halloween), Matt Dallas (Kyle XY) and Richard Tyson (Black Hawk Down).
The combination of Cinedeck EX and Sony F3 cameras enabled the production to solve budget, performance and space constraints during the shoot. The Cinedeck EX also delivered a fast, uncompressed, file-based camera-to-post workflow for the editorial and VFX teams.
Principal photography took place over 22 days, with two Cinedeck EX systems capturing from A and B Sony F3 cameras. All footage was recorded from the F3s as 10-bit, uncompressed, RGB 4:4:4, S-Log gamma-encoded imagery. Live action was output from Cinedeck EX in Apple ProRes 4444 for Final Cut editorial, and greenscreen elements were output as uncompressed 4:4:4 for VFX work and compositing.
Over a quarter of the movie — 25 scenes — were shot for VFX treatment. Multiple SSD cards were used to transfer the uncompressed footage to the editorial and VFX teams.
In preparation for the shoot, Bijan (above) and his crew carefully investigated how innovations in camera, recorder and monitor technologies could solve tight space issues, while delivering the highest possible quality file-based workflow.
“We knew we'd be facing a mountain of challenges in production, so we decided to let leading-edge technology lead us to the best pipeline,” explains Bijan. “In the Sony F3 I found a camera that I could move around quickly and shoot sequences fast, but with extremely high quality. I also needed a recorder that did much more than just record. Assessing all the different kinds of recorders, we discovered Cinedeck EX offered more in one little device than anything else out there. It matched our physical space requirements, and more importantly, it enabled us to record S-Log uncompressed RGB 4:4:4 from the Sony F3 and deliver those files directly, and quickly, to post for editing and compositing.”
“Cinedeck EX's ability deliver ready-to-composite, uncompressed content, without the need to convert file formats, is a huge time and money saver,” adds editor Jonny Revolt. “The post crew could begin working in the full S-Log color space immediately, and this gave us the comfort of being able to test VFX keys live on set.”
The desire of the filmmakers to maintain the cinema-grade quality of the Sony F3 footage for theatrical release, afforded by Cinedeck EX, has led to a collaboration with the American Society Of Cinematographer's Curtis Clark ASC, chair of the ASC's Technology Committee, to develop an Input Device Transform for the Sony F3. This will conform to the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences' Image Interchange Framework (IIF) ACES color-encoding specification, and streamline an ACES workflow — from camera to grading to finished output.