Venice Golden Lion winner “From Afar” finished by Terminal using Davinci Resolve
Mexico City - September 21st, 2015 - Lorenzo Vigas’ “From Afar” (“Desde allá”) was the first Venezuelan production to be selected for the Venice Film Festival’s official competition, and last weekend became the first Latin American film in history to take home the festival’s grand prize, the Golden Lion. The film was finished at Terminal in Mexico City by senior colorist Øyvind Stiauren using Davinci Resolve, with post supervision by Joakim Ziegler.
The tense, intimate psychological drama set against Caracas’ class differences and dirty streets was written by Vigas based on a story co-written with Academy Award Nominee Guillermo Arriaga, and after its triumphant world premiere in Venice continues on to the Toronto, San Sebastián, and London Film Festivals.
Director Lorenzo Vigas praised Terminal’s work on the film, saying “From the beginning, Terminal showed interest in ensuring that the film was finished with the highest quality possible, which was what I wanted for my film, and they worked with me to achieve that goal. Post supervision was also very carefully done, working closely with creatives both from the visual effects and sound departments. The relationship was always very personal and attentive, and to a very exacting standard. The dedication Øyvind and Joakim showed was very important for the film to be presented and received as it was in Venice and at the other festivals to which its going.”
Stiauren worked with Chilean DP Sergio Armstrong to bring out the details in the film’s low-contrast, shallow depth of field look, shot on Arri Alexa ARRIRAW and LOMO anamorphics. “We wanted to keep the contrast relatively low while avoiding the very flat, undistinguished, almost raw logarithmic look that’s often the end result of less meticulously shot low contrast material, so we created custom film LUTs to use as an end step in the color correction node tree on most shots, while lowering contrast directly in log space before the LUT and using Resolve’s custom curves to precisely control where to spend the contrast we had available. This gave us the great volume and depth of film stock, especially in skin tones, while still keeping the contrast manageable,” said Stiauren.
However, on night interiors, the colorist and DP opted to drop the film LUTs and work directly with Resolve’s custom curves and secondaries to maintain a low-light intimate mood without the loss of chroma in shadows inherent in positive film’s gamut. “Sergio’s very precise control of exposure allowed us to mix film LUT and non-LUT shots right after each other seamlessly. When you have the privilege of working with an experienced and meticulous DP, you can really get down to work as a colorist, polishing and perfecting each shot.”
Terminal’s main DI suite runs a customized Davinci Resolve Linux system with 4 GPUs and a Resolve Control surface, provided and integrated by Simplemente. Stiauren called the realtime 4k capabilities of the system, as well as the speed and precision of the Resolve control surface, “essential to be able to work creatively, without interruptions that take you out of the creative collaboration with the cinematographer”.
Both Simplemente and Terminal have long been involved in creative filmmaking and leveraging cutting-edge technologies. Rune Hansen, Founder and Chief Technology Officer for Simplemente called Terminal, “Highly talented artists and technicians who look after the finest details and image quality of their projects, and are always eager to experiment with the latest technology. They’re a great pleasure to collaborate with as customers, partners, and as friends”.
For Simplemente, customers like Terminal are important not only for their artistic skills and advanced technical knowledge of key toolsets, but also, according to Monica Reina, CEO of Simplemente, “Because we are proud to take part in the democratization of the means of production and to support Latin American creatives”.
Terminal CEO and Postproduction Supervisor on “From Afar”, Joakim Ziegler, said “Simplemente has been an invaluable partner to us. Blackmagic Design’s products have always been cutting edge both in quality, feature set, and price, but having a local reseller and integrator like Simplemente that really understands the products, while also being willing to go along with us and customize and find solutions when we want to push the envelope, really makes the key difference. It’s safe to say Terminal would simply not be in our current leadership position were it not for Simplemente’s support”.
Since its funding in 2007, Terminal has been at the forefront of the current wave of change in Mexican filmmaking. As a postproduction house focused primarily on cinema, Terminal both consulted on workflows for and postproduced some of the very first digitally shot feature films in Mexico, while working on everything from art house productions to commercial musical comedies, shot both on film and digital. With multiple films having won awards in festivals like Cannes, Venice, and Berlin, as well as contenders on Mexican box office yearly top ten lists, Terminal today offers a wide range of postproduction services, from post supervision and workflow consulting, DIT and on-set services, digital intermediate, title design, VFX, and DCP authoring, as well as film scanning and restoration services. More information is at http://terminalmx.com/
Simplemente recently celebrated fifteen years at the technological nexus of film and broadcast, with its four key business units: sales and integration, technical support, training, and production services. Simplemente is also involved in designing 4K solutions accessible to all users and budgets. For this task, Simplemente has enjoyed the support and interest of Blackmagic Design, a brand whose value is rapidly increasing in importance and prestige and which also shares the same values of quality, innovation and accessibility as Simplemente. More information is at http://simplemente.net