M2 Grades "Death of a President" with Nucoda Film Master

Publish date:
Updated on

Stockholm, Sweden - 9 October 2006 -

Digital Vision

, a leading developer of advanced digital media applications specialising in film and video solutions, is proud to announce that top London post production facility M2 used the Nucoda Film Master system to grade the provocative Borough Films/Channel 4 feature-length doc-u-drama, Death of a President.

Death of a President, which had its worldwide premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September where it won the International Critics‘ Prize, premières in the UK digitally on More4 on October 9, terrestrially on Channel 4 on October 16, and is then released theatrically across North America on October 27. It is a fictionalised documentary, set one year in the future, which imagines the assassination of US President George W Bush and the American public‘s subsequent response.

“It‘s unusual in that it‘s a film in the style of a documentary containing both fictional as well as many documentary elements,” explains the film‘s Head of Production, Donall McCusker. “To make it look like a realistic documentary we used a mixture of acquired and archive footage - principally NTSC material on Beta and VHS - and while it was shot mainly on HDCAM, we also used 16mm, a bit of Digi, miniDV and cameraphones.

“Multiple acquisition formats and multiple archive sources gave particular challenges to both the online and the grade,” he continues. “We had to make the HD material match SD material, which was the bulk of what we were doing, and the SD material match HD material, which is significantly harder.”

Written and directed by Gabriel Range (The Day Britain Stopped, The Man Who Broke Britain) Death of a President was posted over a six-month period at M2 in London. Offlined in Avid and conformed in Nitris, it was then passed onto Nucoda Film Master for grading. The look had to be just right, striking a balance between authoritative documentary on the one hand and filmic for theatrical release on the other. Meanwhile, numerous visual effects had to be carefully graded into the finished whole.

“The sheer number of formats was the biggest challenge,” says colourist, Ross Baker. “They would have some archive footage of a scene and go out and reconstruct the whole thing from the archive, the problem being that the archive normally had gone through several generations and colour space changes. So we had to matchgrade HD-shot footage to look like the archive, making hue changes, isolating certain colours, softening certain colours individually and so on.”

Death of a President was the first job that M2 put through the Film Master and Baker is happy with the way the system performed. “The whole fact of it being nonlinear is brilliant, as it meant I could just jump around wherever I wanted. The toolset is great too. I never felt I was going to run out and it‘s very intuitive and speedy to use.

“It‘s the grading tool of the future,” he adds. “Grading is not just twiddling balls and knobs. You roll into your next shot and see what it is and your hands start moving on their own. It‘s an intuitive thing and the nicest thing about the Film Master is that after the first couple of hours on the job it‘s intuitive with you. The panel‘s just right and the buttons are where you want them so you don‘t have to take your eye away from the picture, and that‘s really important.”

Given the convincing realism that has been achieved with Death of a President as a result, the audience won‘t want to take their eyes off the screen either.

About Digital Vision

Digital Vision provides innovative image restoration, enhancement, colour correction and data conforming systems that major movie studios, television networks and post-production facilities use to produce and enhance feature films, TV programs and commercials. The company‘s Nucoda product line provides a strong suite of products for the burgeoning digital intermediate 2k/4k market. The company‘s award-winning products are a standard of the media & entertainment industry and are deployed at top facilities around the world.

Digital Vision AB was founded in 1988 and is headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with two wholly owned subsidiaries, Digital Vision (US) in Los Angeles, California, and Digital Vision UK in London, England. The company maintains its global presence through a network of qualified distributors. Digital Vision is listed on the Stockholm stock exchange. For further information, go to



All trademarks used herein, whether recognised or not, are the properties of their respective companies.