Finishing 'Avatar' With Pablo - Modern VideoFilm Relies On Quantel For 'Avatar' Stereo3D Post
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Finishing 'Avatar' With Pablo - Modern VideoFilm Relies On Quantel For 'Avatar' Stereo3D Post

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  • 1. case study 2010Modern VideoFilmFinishing ‘Avatar’ with PabloModern VideoFilm relies on Quantel for ‘Avatar’ Stereo3D postQuantel - share our passion
  • 2. Hailed for its innovative approach to the art of filmmaking, James Cameron’s stun-ning 3D epic Avatar was recently recognized by the American Film Institute as one ofits 2009’s Moments of Significance for its impact on the world of the moving image.According to AFI: “James Cameron’s pioneering effort to unleash the human imagi-nation was fully realized in 2009 with the release of Avatar, a film that firmly estab-lished itself as a landmark in the way stories are told. With an army of technologicalwizards at his side, writer/director/producer/co-editor Cameron called upon the forcesof art and technology to create new tools for storytelling that are groundbreaking inboth scope and scale. The magic of the motion picture - and the transfer of its powerto television and now video games - has always found its truest power in its im-mersive qualities, and with Cameron’s advances in CGI and 3D, Avatar enters AFI’salmanac as an achievement that will have profound effects on the future of the artform.”Quantel - share our passion
  • 3. We could not have done this movie without Pablo Mark Smirnoff, President, Studio Services Modern VideoFilmAvatar has broken all box office records Quantel began working with industry 20 minutes in length, all before the shotsto become the biggest grossing movie of leaders early on to provide the tools were finalized for the movie.all time. It also collected three Oscars for needed to forward the Stereo3D mar-art direction, cinematography and visual ket. Pablo’s precursor, iQ was used at “The organizational tools on the Quanteleffects. Modern VideoFilm to complete James system were really powerful in managing Cameron’s 2003 3D Imax film “Ghosts of this massive amount of shots,” BergerMuch has been written about the bleed- the Abyss.” says. “We do have other tools that doing-edge technology used to bring Cam- 3D but the Pablo is our tool of choiceeron’s story to life, along with the Na’vi Quantel has been working to forward for solving all of the problems that getpeople and all of the richness that makes and refine its toolset as 3D advances. thrown at us. I couldn’t imagine doingup the lush planet Pandora. For Avatar, the powerful Pablo uniquely Avatar without working in Stereo with the allowed the artists at Modern VideoFilm real-time results.”A combination of live action 3D cinema- to work in Stereo3D in realtime, withtography, CGI and using performance the same tools that they rely on for 2D DI artist Craig Price added that onecapture, new tools and workflows were postproduction. The system also offered of the organizational tools that waspioneered to realize the story. Avatar also extensive project management tools, especially helpful was the Pablo’s abilityhad a simultaneous worldwide release in as well as Quantel’s signature “Resolu- to produce multiple timelines. “This is aboth 2D and 3D (including Imax) using tion Co-existence,” feature set, enabling feature on the Pablo whereby you canthree different aspect ratios, requiring Modern VideoFilm to successfully com- have several concurrent streams of videoroughly 10 versions of the film for North plete this groundbreaking production. running at that same time,” he explains.American release alone, in addition to “Within each stream you can edit an ef-the foreign language versions. Asset Management fect. What it meant for us is that we could “The biggest job was to manage the run a confidence tape from editorial toTo meet many of the steep 3D postpro- thousands of shots that made up this see what they had cut, and then takeduction challenges, Cameron relied on movie. There were many different ver- the thousands of shots and line them upModern VideoFilm and its three Quantel sions and we had to keep the reels and against the confidence tape. What madePablo systems, with 4K and 3D real-time cuts current with editorial,” explains Rog- this more essential than normal is thatcapabilities. The Quantel Neo control er Berger, Modern VideoFilm Supervising we were doing this in Stereo. We neededsurface was also used. Editor and Lead Pablo Artist on Avatar. the Pablo’s multiple timeline to be able to do that.”The work completed on Pablo includes “We were editing 24/7-updating lists,conforming and Stereo3D checking, updating reels, updating versions, visual Familiar Toolsetadjustment and quality control. Crucially, effects shots were coming in,” adds Mark For the Pablo artists, the system’sthe Pablos also handled all the Stereo3D Smirnoff, President of Modern VideoFilm creative toolset was equally important toEnglish subtitling required for the Na’vi Studio Services. “It was organic. We did completing Avatar.language used by some characters in not follow the traditional workflow.” “Quantel really looked at 3D from topthe film. Modern VideoFilm conformed During production, a Pablo had as many to bottom,” says Price. “Traditionally inpromotional materials as well as the as 12,000 clips online. In the end, the stereo you edit for one eye, meaningestimated 10 North American versions production consumed about 150 TB of that you are not seeing your end resultin the Pablos. Work ran for nearly seven SAN storage. In addition to completing until you are finished. But the Pablomonths, starting in June 2009. the film itself, Modern VideoFilm met the tools enabled us to know that what we demand for finishing movie footage for were doing was right, as well as deal promotional events, each typically 10 toQuantel - share our passion
  • 4. At A Glance • James Cameron’s Avatar • The Pablos also handled all opened worldwide in 2D and the 3D English subtitling 3D (including Imax 2D and 3D) on Dec. 18, 2009 • “The organizational tools on the Quantel system were • Biggest worldwide box office really powerful in managing of all time this massive amount of shots.” - Roger Berger • Modern VideoFilm used its Quantel Pablos on Avatar for • “Quantel really looked at 3D conforming and Stereo3D from top to bottom. ... it was checking, adjustment and a factor of ‘I got the job done quality control. and it’s right.’ “- Craig Pricewith convergence issues, right then and With the Resolution Coexistence offered Adds Smirnoff: “Subtitles were constantlythere. It was not a factor of time savings, by Pablo, we could run different formats changing, even between versions. Sinceit was a factor of ‘I got the job done and in a timeline without it being a problem.” it was released in different aspect ratios,it’s right.’ “ Adds Smirnoff: “That is not a new tool, the versions required changes to the lo- but that has always been a leg up for cations of the subtitles within each shot.”Berger adds that a big advantage was Quantel.”not just the 3D tools, but the fact that 3D Goes Mainstreamthey were built into a familiar system. Subtitles With a record number of Stereo 3D“There are a bunch of toolsets that we “Avatar” required subtitles-even for the features slated for release in 2010,are used to using in terms of editorial English language versions of the epic, and many more in production for 2011and compositing that we have had for a as they were used to translate the Na’vi and behind, the 3D theatrical market islong time, and what Quantel has done is language used in the film. Subtitling for a poised for growth. Meanwhile, with majorgiven us the tools in Stereo. It is not that Stereo movie can be a complex process consumer electronics manufacturersthere is one tool, it’s more the fact that all as the subtitles must sit at the right place launching 3D TV sets for the home, itof the tools that I’m used to using, I can in 3D space to avoid conflict with the 3D looks like the market for Stereo3D post-use in 3D. And it didn’t require relearn- content. The Pablo’s realtime Stereo3D production services will only grow.ing.” toolset enabled the subtitles to be viewed instantly and repositioned in 3D space in As Avatar opened, the Blu-ray Disk Asso-Resolution Coexistence realtime. ciation (BDA) finalized and released itsModern VideoFilm found that Quantel’s technical specification for a 3D Blu-rayResolution Coexistence feature was “Since there are no rules in 3D subtitling, format, enabling the consumer launch ofparticularly useful on “Avatar,” which every one we did, we had to figure out 3D capable Blu-Ray players and disks.involved multiple resolutions during the every position,” Price relates. “Subtitles The broadcast and cable industriescourse of production. tended to appear in slightly different loca- are also starting to act. For instance,Resolution Coexistence means that ma- tions in the frames, depending on the the UK’s Sky Broadcasting is slatedterial of any resolution, color space and different levels of convergence.” to launch a 3D channel later this year,bit depth can be loaded into the Pablo supporting movies as well as sports andwithout the need to re-start or partition In some cases, the team changed the other entertainment content.the disk. Different material can then be parallax of the Stereo3D subtitle withincombined in the same project and on the a single shot. For instance, in one shot Smirnoff reported that testing for thesame timeline instantly saving time and the translation follows Neytiri’s mother as creation of 3D home entertainmentdisk space while delivering high quality she walks toward the camera while talk- deliverables has started, and the Quantelresults. ing to the Na’vi people. “As she walked Pablo has been central to this effort“Avatar was mastered in 2K, but there forward, we didn’t want her walking as Stereo3D postproduction serviceswere some challenges in terms of mixing through the subtitle. So we tracked the become a requirement of the emergingresolution,” Price says. “There were a subject first and changed the parallax market.number of shots that in this case, par- during the shot,” Price explains.ticularly because of the Imax distribution,had renders in resolutions such as 3Kand 4K.Quantel - share our passion