iO Film Upgrades Color Management Services for Astro Boy

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Thu, 11/12/2009 - 19:00 -- Nick Dager

iO Film completed a wide range of services and deliveries for the Summit Entertainment release of Imagi Studios’ Astro Boy. The look that Astro Boy’s producers desired necessitated a profound change to the current color management process.  iO relied upon Digital Vision’s Film Master and their own in-house custom system to solve the problem. Based upon a globally recognized and well-loved superhero created in the 1950s Astro Boy the film was directed by David Bowers (Flushed Away) produced by Maryann Garger and features performances from a who’s who cast including Freddie Highmore Kristen Bell Nathan Lane Charlize Theron and Nicolas Cage as Dr. Tenma.   The animated feature was in production for the past two years during which time the color palette that resonated for the creative team became the bedrock for the look of the film.  That look had been built in 16 bit Tiff REC 709 color space; previously unavailable as a standard of the post-production process.  Even though other pieces of the post pipeline (monitors and digital cinema packaging specifically) operate in lower bit rates the producers wanted to make certain that the look of the film was absolutely true to the 16 bit files with that look maintained through every deliverable.  Those deliverables included high definition DI and digital cinema packaging.   After substantial research it became apparent that iO was the only facility that was ready to deliver the movie exactly as the producers desired.  It was imperative that each deliverable matched the animation files exactly. Kevin Mulligan CTO of iO Film noted that the Digital Vision Film Master was a mission-critical piece of the pipeline he developed.  Since no other facility was working in 16 bit Mulligan and the product team from Digital Vision dug in and made sure that the project stayed in 16 bit throughout the color grading process.   The custom LUTs and other color management tools were imported into the Film Master.  Mulligan says “Without the power and the flexibility of the Nucoda platform I know that this process would have been at risk.  But because of the system and the calibre of support the process was completely manageable and ultimately completely successful.  We could not fail at this and Film Master made sure of our success.” Erin Corbett president of Imagi Studios U.S. says “We were dedicated to maintaining the vision of the director and the entire artistic team and it was imperative that we attain the look that we were after. The process at iO and the workflow centered on the Film Master were flawless.  As a result we succeeded on every level in creating a great-looking movie.” Bruno Munger product manager at Digital Vision says “We have built our reputation on our ability to develop color management tools that keep our customers and their customers completely satisfied.  Astro Boy helped us to push the boundaries out a little further and explore the realm of 16 bit color in DI and DCP delivery.”