News Production & Post

Digital Film Central and FilmLight create ACES workflow for Elysium

16 August 2013

Digital Film Central (Central), the Vancouver-based post facility for Neill Blomkamp’s new film Elysium, created a 3.3K colour and conform workflow, that integrated both editorial and VFX. The facility relied on Baselight TWO to help construct the pipeline, which used the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES).

The effects-heavy movie contrasts two distinct ‘worlds’: the ruined earth and a pristine, man-made space station called Elysium, home of the rich and privileged. Director Blomkamp worked closely with Central’s lead colourist Andrea Chlebak to create the strong contrasts between the two worlds, and the overall look of the film.

“The aesthetic for Elysium was incredibly important to me,” explained Blomkamp.  “A lot of Andrea’s instincts were in line with mine and that just makes for a very seamless, smooth process."

Most of the film was shot anamorphic on the RED Epic in 3.3K resolution. The RED HDRx high dynamic range feature was used throughout production and every plate was delivered in both its original exposure and HDR exposure. The metadata support in Baselight was integrated with Central’s tracking database, allowing editorial, VFX, and DI teams to stay in-sync throughout post.

“It was really powerful to be able to pre-grade and QC the VFX plates in-context of the DI look,” explained Chris Davies, director of operations at Central. “As soon as we needed to hand over the plates to VFX we could just turn off all the DI looks and render our EXRs. We have used ACES workflows before but this was the first time we fully switched over to floating-point OpenEXR, which the GPU grading on Baselight allowed us to do.”

Peter Postma, managing director of FilmLight Americas, added, “Baselight and Truelight, our colour management system, are the obvious foundation for open, collaborative ACES workflows. As Central found on Elysium, it makes the process transparent and adaptable, and gives the whole creative team the comfort that if anything changes, or ACES rolls out an update, it is a quick, secure and simple matter to adjust.”

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