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EC3 Goes Global on Workflow for ‘Blackhat’

"This was a highly complex project. Material arrived in many formats and all different frame rates," says EC3's production manager Marc Ross.

Michael Mann’s thriller Blackhat follows hackers through a network of cyber terror that extends from the US to Hong Kong and Jakarta and beyond. As he’s frequently done before, the director encouraged his cinematographer, Stuart Dryburgh, ASC, to use the best camera for each setup, even if it meant mixing multiple files, formats and codecs. In fact, Dryburgh frequently captured individual scenes with multiple cameras, including the ARRI Alexa, RED Epic, GoPro Hero, Vision Research Phantom, and Canon 5D MK II DSLRs.

Mann required color graded dailies of everything turned around, often in under a day, whether he was shooting in Los Angeles, Chicago, Hong Kong, or Kuala Lumpur. EC3, the dailies arm of Deluxe post houses Company 3 and EFilm, made use of their Santa Monica and Chicago facilities for that material and created their own pop-up facilities in spaces that followed the production through Asia.

“This was a highly complex project,” says EC3’s production manager Marc Ross. “Material arrived in many formats and all different frame rates. We would find a space within a few miles of the set and build out a full dailies operation with an 80TB SAN, workstations to copy and archive material and space for our colorist Dave Lee to grade everything in [daVinci] Resolve [on a Mac platform]. Dave was able to get direct input from Michael and Stuart right away so a lot of the corrections they made in the dailies actually travelled all the way to the final grade that Stefan Sonnenfeld did at Company 3.”

“Fortunately,” Ross says, “EC3 has the ability to four-wall any kind of facility that filmmakers can request and we can do it just about anywhere in the world.”