American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 42

*|*

Tracking an Intricate Workflow

G

ravity was a complex production
that mixed virtual and real imaging
elements in innovative ways. What
follows is a rough outline of the key
steps involved in the project's workflow.
CG lighting supervisor Paul Beilby of
Framestore and senior producer
Michael Dillon of Technicolor
provided these details, with additional
input from other members of the filmmaking team.
1. Orbit Path - Framestore
Cuarón works with the team at
Framestore to define the trajectory of
the film's action above the Earth, which
will define the Earthscapes in the film.
2. Previs - Framestore
Cuarón and Lubezki work with a team
of animators to produce a low-res
animated version of the movie with
virtual camera moves.
3. Prelight - Framestore
Lubezki works with a team of technical
directors to produce the lighting design
of every virtual sequence in the film.
The CG assets are simplified to facilitate fast rendering and feedback.
4. Pre-DI
Using two separate, accurately calibrated DI theaters in Los Angeles and
London, Cuaron, Lubezki, supervising
digital colorist Steven J. Scott and
visual-effects supervisor Tim Webber
refine the color timing of four rendered
film clips, working in real time. Results
are rendered out (sometimes as just a
single frame) and sent to Framestore as
reference for the final look of the shots.
5. Techvis - Framestore
The previs and prelight data are used to
produce camera-movement trajectories
and lighting environments for both
characters' points of view for use in
production.
6. Live-Action Production with LED
Box - Shepperton
Techvis data is processed on set to

42

November 2013

produce motion-control camera moves
and animated lighting in the LED Box.
Lubezki tweaks the illumination from
the LED images, adding humancontrolled hard light for the sun. The
speed of the camera moves is modified
to adapt to the actors' performances.
7. Live-Action Production with
Puppeteering Rig - Shepperton
Techvis data is processed on set to move
Bullock on "puppet strings" to simulate
zero gravity in the space capsule. This
sequence is lit traditionally.
8.Live-Action
Production/Traditional Shoot -
Shepperton
Most of the space-capsule interiors, as
well as one 65mm scene set on Earth,
are lit and shot traditionally.
9. Conform and Rendering -
Framestore
A. Animators and riggers work on the
"performances" of the spacesuit "characters" and space-vehicle actions using
production data as a reference.
B. Modelers create high-quality
versions of the previs assets.
C. Look-development technical directors and texture artists refine the look of
the materials using reference photography from NASA and material samples.
10. Integrating Live Action and CG
- Framestore
A. Compositors work on the live-action
plates received from the shoot and
conform them back into the
previs. Several teams of animators,
animation supervisors, creature-effects
supervisors and technical directors
collaborate with the filmmakers to
create the final actions and camera
moves based on the actors' performances.
B. Lighting technical directors work
with internal visual-effects supervisors
and lighting supervisors to produce lit
shots, ensuring that they match the live
action.
C. Compositors work with visualAmerican Cinematographer

*|*

effects supervisors and compositing
supervisors to integrate the shoot data
and the CG imagery to create the final
images, which are then reviewed and
fine-tuned by Cuarón and Lubezki.
11. DI Ingest - Technicolor
The finished 2-D files from Framestore
are ingested, accompanied by external
mattes to facilitate separate color timing
of important individual elements in the
frame.
12. DI Grade - Technicolor
Scott works with Lubezki and Cuarón
to refine the 2-D image, using many
layers of animated rotoscopes. The final
files are used to create a 2-D DCP,
Kodak Vision 2383 release prints and
an HD master.
13. Stereoscopic Conversion - Prime
Focus Film and Framestore
Prime Focus converts the live-action
material and some visual-effects
elements to 3-D. Framestore converts
the rest of the picture.
14. 3-D Grade - Technicolor
The filmmakers optimize the grade for
4.5 foot-lambert and 7 foot-lambert
brightness levels of projection for 3-D
white screen and Imax 3-D, respectively. As part of this process, they selectively apply a reverse-vignetting
adjustment to compensate for the hot
spot associated with RealD's silverscreen projection system.
File formats
- Live-action production: ArriRaw
2880x1620 deBayered to Log C v3
- Framestore CG output: 2060x876 10bit Log C DPX
- Framestore external mattes output:
16-bit RBGa TIFF
- 2-D graded files: 2048x858 10-bit
Log C
- Benjamin B



American Cinematographer - November 2013

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - November 2013

Contents
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 1
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 2
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 3
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 4
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - Contents
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 6
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 7
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 8
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 9
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 10
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 11
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 12
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 13
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 14
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 15
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 16
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 17
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 18
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 19
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 20
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 21
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 22
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 23
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 24
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 25
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American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 27
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 28
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 29
American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 30
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American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 34
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American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 38
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American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 40
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American Cinematographer - November 2013 - 43
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