October 15, 2008

Team Edits/Grades Epic Bullfighting Documentary on eQ

Newbury, U.K. - David Fandila's quest to become the world’s top-ranked bullfighter is the focus of The Matador, a new film that opens in select theaters starting October 31st. A story of heart-wrenching set-backs and thrilling successes, the feature documentary was brought to its full potential by the editorial and color correction talent at Washington, D.C.-based TEAM. 
"David's struggle was beautifully captured by the rich HD cinematography and compelling orchestral score," says Team sr. editor Ian Rummer. "The edit had to tie it all together and deliver an emotional experience. The audience had to feel the passion, not be told what to feel. This was the guiding editorial principle and what sets the film apart as an epic cinematic triumph rather than a dry, traditional documentary." 

This philosophy also defined the finishing process, for which Rummer switched hats and assumed online and color correction duties. "In a film like this, the color correction becomes as important as the editorial," says Nina Gilden Seavey, producer/co-director of The Matador. "The colors are paramount for something as iconic as a bullfight and the look of that and the feel and the shifting light -- you need an extremely experienced colorist and a system that can do the project justice." 
Rummer says, "We were really tested in this film because of the highexpectations that were put on the final look." Rummer turned to the QuanteleQ system to finish the job. The main reason to bring The Matador into theeQ was the color-correction capabilities of QColor. The other important feature of the eQ was its multi-formatting capability. The primary source was HDCam 23.98PsF material. There were also High Definition 29.97i sources,NTSC, PAL, photos and QuickTime movies. According to Rummer, the eQ not onlyaccommodated the variety of formats, but the conversion and processing quality was extremely high. One of the reasons the color correction was so challenging is because bullfights start at 5 pm -- when the light rapidly changes.
Continuity was an issue when condensing bullfights over a long period of time into a couple of minutes and, sometimes, harsh shadows and bright sunlight dominate the same scene. Rummer created a balanced contrast that emphasized the detail in the shadows while protecting the brighter areas. "This is difficult to achieve without crushing the blacks and clipping the highlights, which results in losing significant information," says Rummer. "The color-grading tools combined with the keying, compositing, tracking, and animation abilities of the eQ offer a comprehensive toolset you don't get in traditional color correction suites," says Rummer. "Ultimately, I think we successfully delivered a stylized finished product that reinforced the artistry and passion of the story because I was able to efficiently tackle the individual challenges of each shot while maintaining consistency."  
Stephen Higgins:  Producer/Director
Nina Gilden Seavey:  Producer/Co-Director
Scott Dunklee: Executive Producer
Kristie Nova: Executive Producer
Christopher Jenkins: Director of Photography
James Morton-Haworth: Director of Photography
Ian Rummer: Editor