How They Did It: Technicolor Talks Birdman

Now that the Academy Awards are over and Birdman won best picture, it can be revealed that Technicolor developed a new DI methodology for carrying out Alejandro González Iñárritu’s bold, single-take experiment.

This involved layering final color down on top of the final cut of the movie in a collaboration between the Oscar-winning director, two-time Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, Rodeo FX and Technicolor (led by senior supervising digital colorist Steve Scott, who performed the DI and final conforming process).

Stepping out of their comfort zone, the Technicolor DI team had to disregard where the official editorial cuts were located, and instead, subtly insert cuts designed specifically to meet their own needs as it related to the color grading process exclusively. This was a process that Technicolor eventually came to refer to as subtly “stitching” color-corrected sections together.

“We figured out a way to insert cuts wherever they had a stationary camera, and when we inserted those cuts, we called them ‘sections,’” Scott explains. “Then, when the cameras starts to move or whip-pan around again, we thought, that would be a good place to put a dividing line. So we would do the cut in the middle of whatever camera move there was, and then, instead of just a cut, we made a form of a dissolve, so that when you go from cut-to-cut for every shot, and every section in the movie, we are dissolving from one section to the next section to the next.

“This technique enabled us to do our color correction for each section where the characters land, and not worry about what was happening in the next shot, because in that next shot, we would know that the color would organically and seamlessly dissolve from one section to the next. That let us do all these independent, crazy, complicated color corrections that would flow organically from one to another.”

Read the rest at TOH/Indiewire.

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Below the Line, Movies, Oscar, Tech, VFX

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