- Featured Projects
- Inherent Vice
- The Boxtrolls
- It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
- House of Lies
- Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa
- Breaking Bad
- We're the Millers
- Fruitvale Station
- Hello, Dolly!
- The X Factor
- The Master
- Katy Perry: All of Me
- Snow White and the Huntsman
- Jeff Who Lives at Home
- All Quiet on the Western Front
- Mission: Impossible-Ghost Protocol
- The Glee Project
- Platinum Hit
Director Paul Thomas Anderson and cinematographer Robert Elswit, ASC returned to FotoKem for laboratory and post services on the highly-anticipated Warner Bros. release Inherent Vice, starring Joaquin Phoenix and an all-star cast.
Inherent Vice, regarded as one of Thomas Pynchon's most inventive, culturally kaleidoscopic works, is the first film adaptation of a Pynchon novel. The story dives into the smoky haze and neon afterglow of the American counterculture via a psychedelic spin on the classic detective yarn. The result is an all-out cinematic homage to a Pynchonian world of far-out characters.
Phoenix plays detective Larry “Doc” Sportello whose investigations take him into the realm of the nefarious Golden Fang-which is both a schooner headed for San Pedro and a boundless, interconnected organization with its teeth in the international heroin trade, the rehab business, and dentistry, among other things. The comedy-laced antics that ensue take Doc on a nosedive from the 1960's into the '70s, a time when peace, love and understanding were transitioning into greed and instability. Anderson and Elswit embraced the gritty era look of the early '70s, and stylistically wove that theme throughout the film.
FotoKem handled past projects for both filmmakers-The Master for Anderson, and Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol for Elswit. For Inherent Vice, FotoKem was responsible for 35mm film dailies, a 35mm film finish, and film distribution deliverables (IP/IN, check print and release prints). They also handled the creation of a 65mm/5p optical blow-up inter-negative for the 70mm/5p release, supervised by Vince Roth, who oversaw FotoKem's optical work on The Master. In addition to controlling the color in film space to reflect the filmmakers' intentions, FotoKem translated that look to the digital cinema and home video masters. Assisting with the final touches, FotoKem colorist Kostas Theodosiou handled the digital and home video color, working closely with Dan Muscarella who supervised film color.
Celebrated Director Christopher Nolan returned to FotoKem to craft unique 35mm and 65mm film finishing pipelines for his new feature “Interstellar”. Having completed numerous projects at FotoKem over the years, including the 35mm blowup and re-mastering of “Following”, the original lab work and re-mastering of “Memento, and the home theater release of “Inception" and “The Dark Knight”, Nolan's collaboration with FotoKem deepened on “Interstellar” to involve negative processing through film, digital and video finishing and distribution. He states “My experience of working with FotoKem dates back to 1999 and I'm happy to say in 2014 their photochemical post-production and film handling work is better than ever.”
Nolan and cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema, FSF, NSC worked closely with artists and technicians at FotoKem to fine tune lab and digital processes to ensure that every scene, take and visual effect during production and post was reproduced accurately in all distribution formats.
FotoKem's involvement on the project started with 65mm negative processing, and progressed to include 35mm VFX negative processing and 35mm and 65mm negative cutting, with acclaimed negative cutter Mo Henry working in a special room at FotoKem designed for the process. Other work included 35mm and 70mm answer prints, intermediates, domestic release prints, digital cinema mastering and home video transfers. A unique optical format conversion to extract both 35mm scope and 65mm/5p widescreen images from 65mm/15p source negative was designed and utilized in over one hour of the shows content. FotoKem's central role in the film's post-production provided a uniformity of imagery across an unprecedented number of distribution platforms.
Seasoned film timer Mato worked closely with Nolan and Hoytema to fine tune scene by scene color, working with intercut original and intermediate elements to build the final film masters, with meticulous attention on color and mood for each scene. Mato teamed up with DI colorist Walter Volpatto and color scientist Joseph Slomka to ensure an exact match with the approved film print masters for the multiple digital deliverables. Interstellar's unique release structure will allow audiences to experience the film on 70mm IMAX ™ print, 70mm 5-perf print, 35mm print, IMAX ™ Digital, 4K DCP and 2K DCP, with the IMAX 70mm ™ print version being the highest resolution and most immersive of the available exhibition options. Digital deliverables for home theatrical presentation will follow in the months to come, with Kostas Theodosiou supervising the color pass, his 6th time mastering a Nolan film for home release.
John Daro Grades LAIKA's Latest Stop-Motion Film
Being released nationwide by Focus Features on September 26, The Boxtrolls (www.TheBoxtrolls.com) is the all-new family event movie from LAIKA, that introduces audiences to a new breed of family. The Boxtrolls are a community of quirky, mischievous creatures who have lovingly raised a human boy named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright of Game of Thrones) in the amazing cavernous home they've built beneath the streets of Cheesebridge. When the town's villain, Archibald Snatcher (Academy Award® winner Ben Kingsley), comes up with a plot to get rid of the Boxtrolls, Eggs decides to venture above ground, “into the light,” where he meets and teams up with the fabulously feisty Winnie (Elle Fanning of Maleficent). Together, they devise a daring plan to save Eggs' family. Based upon the book “Here Be Monsters,” by Alan Snow, The Boxtrolls is directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and is MPAA-rated PG.
FotoKem's relationship with LAIKA goes back to Coraline and ParaNorman. For ParaNorman, the facilities collaborated on the trailers and advertising campaign. For The Boxtrolls, both LAIKA and FotoKem upped the ante, choosing an end-to-end EXR workflow working in 16-bit float throughout the entire process. Grading was completed in the Mistika.
The Boxtrolls utilized a number of different tactics than previous projects, including shooting with a Canon 5D in raw format. Those raw files were converted to EXR to give the creative and technical teams full control over the linear sensor data. Shot and edited at LAIKA in Hillsboro, Oregon, files were delivered to FotoKem via globalDATA®, the company's proprietary encrypted file transfer platform. As FotoKem colorist John Daro got to work on the project, he converted from gamma 1.0, using an invertible GLSL functional curve. “Without the tools we have put into place, and the flexibility of the Mistika, The Boxtrolls would have been more challenging for us,” said Daro.
Testing and working with the footage helped Daro overcome the nuances of working in a linear gamma 1.0 environment. One example was the need to manipulate highlights that extended past standard reference white. To address that, Daro built a custom node with two separate corrections. One correction handled the base range, and the second handled any extended range values. The two outputs were then combined to form the final picture.
Daro collaborated with the filmmakers from the trailer through production, so when it was time for the digital intermediate, there was a library of still images and color settings to reference.
Daro adds, “Working with LAIKA is a highly creative, interactive experience. Every movie is unique, because they are so passionate about the art form of stop motion and the advancement of its capabilities. They are clearly dedicated to doing things right, doing them the very best way– even though that might mean that the process may be harder and more time-consuming.”
In the sci-fi thriller, Transcendence, Johnny Depp portrays Dr. Will Caster, a preeminent researcher in the field of artificial intelligence whose controversial experiments make him a prime target of anti-technology extremists. However, in their attempt to destroy Will, they inadvertently become the catalyst for him to succeed—to be a participant in his own transcendence.
Transcendence is the directorial debut of Oscar®-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister, who chose Jess Hall, BSC as his director of photography. The filmmakers selected 35mm motion picture film to tell the dramatic story of a man who uploads his brain to a supercomputer.
In addition to handling all negative processing for Transcendence, FotoKem played a noteworthy role in facilitating a traditional photochemical finish, a trademark workflow for Pfister and his previous long-time collaborator, Christopher Nolan. Pfister relied on FotoKem for processing original camera negative, splicing the cut negative, answer prints, and striking distribution IP's from the cut negative. FotoKem provided a streamlined workflow and produced the high quality deliverables expected by the studio and creative team.
Transcendence hits theaters worldwide beginning April 17.
It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
Producer-director Stanley Kramer's epic comedy It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World features an all-star cast of characters on a comedic search for a stash of stolen cash. Shortly after its initial 1963 theatrical release, the film was trimmed to meet a 2 ½ hour runtime. Now, the Criterion Collection brings audiences a new edition of the film, adding back in almost all of the cut footage.
FotoKem created the original HD master of the film several years ago for MGM, working from 4K scans of a newly produced 65mm IP, under the guidance of colorist Kostas Theodosiou. For the new Criterion Blu-ray/DVD release, FotoKem restored missing material from the extended version of the film working from faded, warped, and, in some cases, optically distorted 70mm print trims extracted from “roadshow” prints of the original director's cut back in 1963. Bill Schultz, FotoKem's Senior VP of Technology, set up a unique DI pipeline that combined color from 20-year old standard definition transfers of these same print trims with detail from new 70mm HD transfers. Colorist Walter Volpatto achieved a fit between the two sources, balanced them for color, and removed all optical distortions, restoring them to their original 2.75:1 “Ultra Panavision” aspect ratio. The process, from the handling of the 150 + 70mm print trims through to delivery of the recombined sections to Criterion for final editing and color, required impeccable attention to detail and precision.
HOUSE OF LIES Exemplifies Collaboration from
nextLAB® Dailies to Final Color at Keep Me Posted
Wooing powerful CEOs and closing huge deals doesn't come without a few dirty tricks by the management consultants of “House of Lies.” Starring Academy Award®-nominee Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell, the Showtime dramedy premiered in January 2012, and has made quite a splash in the TV landscape - winning awards for Cheadle including a Golden Globe. The smart, often raunchy series boasts a great look courtesy of Peter Levy, ASC, ACS, whose credits include the TV hits “Californication,” “24,” and “Without a Trace,” and such feature films as “Predator 2,” “Broken Arrow,” “Lost in Space,” and “Lonely Hearts.”
Regardless of the corporate hijinks on the screen, Levy reports that the post production services are smooth and straightforward. He says that the show and his workflow have “benefited greatly” from the use of the latest version of FotoKem's award-winning nextLAB® solution, which carries all the color information made on set to the final color suite at Keep Me Posted (KMP).
Now in its third season, “House of Lies” is shot on the ARRI ALEXA at full 2K resolution. Levy notes, “With our on-set dailies system, we get very quick feedback from the producers and directors. That gives me great peace of mind, because I color my own dailies and I know the dailies are faithfully reproducing what I do on set. I have a high-quality Cine-tal™ monitor on set, and what I see is exactly the same as what is going across to dailies.”