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Thursday, 06 January 2011 00:27

Post Makes It Look Easy

Written by  Debra Kaufman
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PostCol_Rumors_Still_05Perhaps the only thing more extreme than surfing a 40-foot wave is shooting video of the surfer barreling down the face. That’s what Producer/Director Mark Kronemeyer did as one of several cinematographers on the documentary Rumors, as he followed surfers in rural villages around Mexico searching for the perfect wave. (See the Water Wonders feature in this issue to learn more about this production.)

With a background in cinematography that includes shooting underwater documentaries and commercials in Cabo San Lucas, Kronemeyer, who lives and surfs in Mexico, used a Panasonic HVX200, two Canon 7Ds and a Canon Rebel among other cameras to capture all the wild surfing action along with lifestyle footage of the surfers in the local villages, restaurants and shops. And when it came time to create a post workflow, mix the sound and color the images, the filmmaker took his project to AlphaDogs Editorial in Burbank where it got soup-to-nuts treatment.OceanFootage_oscarpadang

Freelance Editor Sean Stack not only edited Rumors but also consulted on the workflow. “It’s all HD, but it was a mix of acquisition formats,” Stack explains. “We also had to go into and out of [Apple] Final Cut Pro’s Color, which was used for the digital intermediate.” Because the project was finished in 720p, Stack had to de-interlace some footage that was 29.97 using a FCP filter. After the material came back from Color, the entire project was up-resed to 1080p ProRes. “Once we got the interlacing problem fixed, it was a smooth round-trip to Color and back,” he says.

Sound Mixer Isai Espinoza reports that there was no audio recorded in the water, although some ambient sounds from a beach and market were recorded onboard. “I peppered that with sound design,” says Espinoza, who uses the Digidesign Pro Tools HD2 system. “At AlphaDogs Editorial, we have a pretty extensive sound library, and I was able to layer that in with the existing ambient sounds. It’s a layer of sounds that made [the audio] thicker and believable.”

PostCol_IMG_6573In the DI suite, Colorist Brian Hutchings notes that he too faced the challenges of the film’s multiple formats. “Mixed formats are very common nowadays,” he says. “Each camera has a specific look, and you need to bring these different exposures and characteristics together as much as possible.” Hutchings adds that he relies on the scopes as much as possible to create a consistent look. “The high surf also tends to throw a lot of mist into the air and then you get haze,” he explains. “I wanted to convey the beauty of the areas they were in so I built in a lot of contrast. I also had to deal with the fact that there were a lot of different water conditions, and you don’t want it to look muddy in one shot, aqua in another and deep blue in another. It was about bringing a hue to the water that’s realistic for that area, and creating continuity.” And whether it’s editing, sound mixing or color grading, the goal is to keep the audience focused on the action. “You don’t want to throw the viewer out of the story with something that distracts him,” says Hutchings.

Rumors debuted at the Lido Theatre in Newport Beach, Calif. and it’s now available on DVD at surf shops and online at iTunes.

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