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EFILM Develops ARRIRAW Workflow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

EFILM, a subsidiary of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group Inc. and part of Deluxe Creative Services Group, developed the post-production workflow for Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, the first U.S. feature film to shoot using ARRIRAW on the ARRI Alexa. A production of Warner Bros. Pictures starring Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock, directed by Stephen Daldry and shot by Chris Menges, ASC, BSC, the movie opened for wide release in the United States on January 20, 2012.

EFILM already had a long-established working relationship with ARRI, and had the virtual pipeline in place that could accommodate the project when they were approached by the filmmakers to undertake this first-of-its-kind venture. It was veteran cinematographer Chris Menges' initial foray into digital cinematography and he wanted a very filmic look. Dailies were produced at Deluxe, New York and the look was set during the dailies process, per Menges's direction.

That was the starting point for the EFILM Image Science Team whose seamless workflow, from capture to post, preserved every bit of information in the ARRIRAW image files throughout the process. The raw files were de-Bayered and an input device transform was applied, converting them into EFILM''s universal color work space. This mirrored the Dailies imaging pipe, allowing for the “look” metadata that had been created during the dailies process to be applied.

“This was such an amazing opportunity and challenge for our Image Science Team,” says Bill Feightner, EVP Technology for EFILM. “The exciting thing was that the camera had not even been released when we started production. This is the first time ARRIRAW had been used for a major motion picture in the U.S. and it was the first time imagery in that format had been pushed through our pipeline or anyone else's.”

Deluxe, New York also handled processing of deliverables and LTO backups. Color grading was performed in New York at EFILM''s sister facility Company 3 by Stefan Sonnenfeld, Company 3''s founder and President of Deluxe Creative Services Group. In addition, Company 3 artists applied industry-leading techniques to complete cosmetic work on approximately 125 shots. Method Studios, another Deluxe Creative Services Group business, completed 120 visual effects shots for the movie.

“There were no surprises once the film went into the DI,” said Sonnenfeld. “Chris came in with an incredibly beautiful picture, and together we simply enhanced it.”

“Shooting with the Alexa was like a trip into the future. The experience of working with Deluxe, EFILM and Company 3 was superb,” says Chris Menges.