Thread: Gone Girl, Dragon, Adobe, and Thoughts

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  1. #1 Gone Girl, Dragon, Adobe, and Thoughts 
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    So I saw Gone Girl twice in 4K over the last couple days. Once at the Arclight here in Hollywood to support the film and another very special screening at the Fox Lot in the Zanuck theater which was put on by Adobe and some of the editorial and post team. This event actually had a nice reception, screening, and discussion panel.



    In the above image you have Kirk Baxter (Editor), Peter Mavromates (Post-Production Supervisor), Tyler Nelson (Assistant Editor) and Jeff Brue (Open Drives) as well as Mike Kanfer from Adobe.

    I've been able to "spy in" a couple times along the way during Gone Girl's production and I thought I'd share some notes and thoughts now that the film has had a rather successfully opening.

    No spoilers, just thoughts on capture and post.

    So the first thing that should be mentioned is that David Fincher's Gone Girl had a budget of $61 million. An interesting budget level for a film these days. Something that's even more interesting to me and likely to studios is that domestic and worldwide gross after opening weekend landed at $62,585,000. Which to me is a very successful sign and a very good opening for an R Rated drama. Congratulations are in order here really.


    Camera and Post related things.



    Gone Girl was mostly a two camera production and is the first film shot on Red Dragon at 6K. It was shot on Leica Summilux-C T1.4 Primes with Jeff Cronenweth once again at the Director of Photography helm. A good bit of ISO 800, but several other ratings were used. The Motion Mount was used here and there. There's a particular shot in a driveway where you can see the Soft Shutter effect on a pan if I'm not mistaken.



    It was shot at 6K 2:1 with a 5K 2.40:1 extraction:



    The general concept is similar to what we've been hearing about on other productions recently. REDMAGs were shot and filled up and brought over for download and Fotokem/NextLab driven dailies. There was no video village on set. Kirk Baxter mention that during production editorial stayed in Los Angeles.

    2.3K proxies were made, ProRes 422LT. This allowed for a 1080p extraction of the scaled 5K 2.40:1 image area to be focused on. Editorial would then re-frame, stabilize, or comp takes as they deemed fit and essentially used the "overscanned" 6K 2:1 image as a creative tool. Editing and comp work was performed in Adobe Premiere Pro CC and Adobe After Effects CC, which is a big deal for Adobe here.

    Prior to the panel discussion I had a few chats about the scale and scope of projects that could be edited in the native REDCODE .R3Ds as it's been something I've been exploring for pieces in the 30 second to 15 minute realm. However, during the panel I asked Kirk about his thoughts on the future of native .R3D editing versus Proxy work. More or less some of the key things that were brought up were in relationship to how he and David Fincher would work and the speed that they would need to work. And for a movie of the scale and scope, 2 hours and 25 minutes running time with a ton of footage, it's not very practical for the editor to maintain and move the larger resolution files around. Proxies are convenient for editorial purposes due to speed and size and it's fairly trivial to re-link in Adobe to work on the 6K native files to do the comp work.

    Kirk discussed a bit about where comps came in when fine tuning the timing between characters in frame. For instance Nick (Ben Affleck's character) and his twin sister Margo (Carrie Coon) scenes were tweaked a bit to have a quicker interaction occasionally to emphasize the strength of their long term brother/sister relationship and comfort level. Kirk would knock out the dirty comp in Premiere Pro CC and then Tyler and others would work on the 6K native files to "perfect" the work in Adobe After Effects.

    Another point that Kirk brought up was assembly and craft. The broad stroke of the main edit was pretty much done as production was rolling and he was receiving dailies. Much of the editing "craft" came down to months of smaller tweaks to emphasize built up, tone, character interaction, and scene progression. Much of this is credited to Fincher doing a load of prep prior to production.

    Post stabilization and tracking was done here and there to also fine tune various camera movements to make sure the viewer was focused on what David wanted them to see.

    Light Iron served as the DI house and the colorist was Ian Vertovec. Fincher's editorial team deliver to Light Iron 10-bit 6K DPX sequences as well as .R3Ds for final DI and finish.

    Lot's of the general discussion was focused on how Adobe excels at this particular style of post. Merging editorial and VFX into nearly one entity. Looking forward into the future there was a bit of discussion about color and finishing making it's way into the mix more and more.

    It's no secret I'm an "avid Adobe user" and I'm very curious to see how folks like Kirk and others feel about the merging of various tasks. You can now work in a variety of ways via proxy or natively in .R3D in Premiere Pro CC, After Effects CC, SpeedGrade, and Adobe Media Encoder CC. It's pretty much the pipeline I've been using for the bulk of my work as well.

    What's major news on the Adobe front is the larger adoption of Premiere Pro CC across the industry and this is a rather big moment for them in terms of the scale and scope of this particular feature.


    Aesthetic and Director related things.

    I enjoyed the hell out of Gone Girl. It's another successful 5 act screenplay with some rather compelling performances. Particularly I was surprised by nearly every actor's contributions. Act I seems to always be the "sonofabitch" to trod through for many filmmakers, but this had a nice bounce to it and gave the audience what they needed fast. And by the transition into Act II it's fairly enthralling. Rosamund Pike who plays Amy has some tremendous character transitions that at utterly fascinating and I particularly enjoyed the juxtoposition between her and Nick's (Ben Afffleck) development as the film unfolds. True surprises came in the form of Tyler Perry and Kim Dickens who brought a great deal of humor and a natural feel to their characters. There's a few nice laughs here and there when things are light, which oddly leads into some darker humor found in unexpected moments.

    Camera stuff. True to form Fincher and Cronenweth avoided handheld like like plague. I only spotted one instance in the entire film if I'm not mistaken and it was used rather appropriately. Camera movement was extremely well thought out as well as cut points. Subtle and never overt even though there's plenty of crane movements to be found. There's some really nicely crafted shots involving various vehicle situations, which is often a difficult thing to deal with. This film has a dark grit to it and feels very real, so it's nice to see some care brought to what easily could have been run of the mill sort of shots. Lot's of shallow depth of field. Don't know if they were wide open the whole film, I certainly see a few shots where they weren't. I am particular fond of the hard stuff as there were setups in areas like police stations with lots of reflections where having Detective Boney speaking to Nick and seeing his reflection behind her.

    The edit was rather nice. I'm very fond of Kirk's work on Social Network in particular. This required a more real approach, but the development and timing were extremely spot on. Particularly as we move into the meat of the film's reveal.

    The score fit extremely well with the film. This particular collaboration of David Fincher, Jeff Cronenweth, Kirk Baxter, Trent Reznor, and Atticus Ross is truly making some of the most compelling motion picture work right now for me. The last three scores Trent and Atticus have put together have been so incredibly spot on towards the general feel of the films. I truly can't wait to see what they do next.

    As Fincher gears up for the Utopia series on HBO I'm curious to see how these collaborations and technological advancements come into play for that episodic pipeline. It's certainly going to present new challenges during production and post-production. I sincerely hope the series is finished out at 4K and I want HBO to get behind that pronto.

    Anyways, just some whimsical and technical notes there. Thought it was an interesting panel that many would enjoy the finer details of.
    Last edited by Phil Holland; 10-08-2014 at 08:30 AM.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  2. #2  
    REDuser Sponsor Martin Stevens's Avatar
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    Awesome post Phil.

    THANKS.
    Regards,
    Martin Stevens

    President and Founder of Glidecam Industries, Inc.
    Producer and Director at Metaphoric Pictures Corporation.
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  3. #3  
    Senior Member Elsie N's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Martin Stevens View Post
    Awesome post Phil.

    THANKS.
    Almost as if he were there during the whole process.
    One camera is a shoot...but four (or more'-) Hydrogens is a prohhhh-duction... Elsie the Wraith
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  4. #4  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Something I should add.

    At the end of the screening a title card flashed on screen stating that "the production of this films was responsible for 15,000 jobs".

    The movie shot a few locations including Red Studios Hollywood, but it's rather tremendous what it did for the Missouri landscape and people. Lot's of local extras and various other local locations were featured.

    Some great location scouting in there too. Certainly an occasional unsung hero.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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  5. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Holland View Post
    REDMAGs were shot and filled up and brought over for download and Technicolor driven dailies.
    In the name of accuracy, Technicolor had nothing to do with dailies on this project. Either that is a misprint or someone said something that is untrue.
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  6. #6  
    Completely unrelated but is that a Meizler Module 2 on the back of that right camera?
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  7. #7  
    Moderator Phil Holland's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M Most View Post
    In the name of accuracy, Technicolor had nothing to do with dailies on this project. Either that is a misprint or someone said something that is untrue.
    It was mentioned on stage they had a setup in a truck firing off transcodes, but that was a year ago, so who knows?


    Quote Originally Posted by Gavin Greenwalt View Post
    Completely unrelated but is that a Meizler Module 2 on the back of that right camera?
    Heh. You're too interested in the Meizlers (which have been canceled as far as I know) and not interested enough in the top plate/handle thing :)

    Or the vesa mount:






    Fincher works rather closely with Red troubleshooting common things that slow down production days. Red's been providing him solutions and using some of his projects as testing grounds for various things that may or may not come to market. The Meizler Module being one of them. Though who knows, maybe one day some of that will exist in a different form.
    Phil Holland - Cinematographer - Los Angeles
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    2X RED Weapon 8K VV Monstro Bodies and a lot of things to use with them.

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  8. #8  
    Great post as always Phil, thanks for sharing.
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  9. #9  
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    Just got home from watching the movie in 4k. I was thoroughly entertained, really well done. Great storytelling. The image was crisp and detailed but film like creamy at the same time.
    Philip Lanyon, Cinematographer

    www.philiplanyon.com
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  10. #10  
    Thanks Phil for your time putting together this extensive analysis.
    Always very useful.
    Cheers
    Alexandre
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