A BEAUTIFUL PLANET: AN OUT OF THIS WORLD EXPERIENCE IN IMAX® 3D

A Beautiful Planet, the most recent addition to the amazing list of IMAX space documentaries by acclaimed filmmaker Toni Myers features exclusive footage of Earth showing a new perspective of the place we call home. From IMAX Entertainment, in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the film features stunning footage of our  magnificent blue planet — and the effects humanity has had on it over time. 

The footage was captured by the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.  A Beautiful Planet was the first of Toni’s films to be captured digitally and in 4K- astronauts used the Canon 1DC still camera for the exterior shots and the Canon C500 for the interior shots.

Technicolor Toronto provided complete color finishing and sound services for the film.  Preliminary production meetings began in January 2013 followed by extensive camera testing for shots taken from the International Space Station.  Once in production footage was sent electronically to Technicolor in Toronto or was physically brought down to earth by the astronauts and sent to Technicolor Toronto for dailies processing.  After picture lock, 2D and 3D conforms were created and final 4K color finishing began.  Colourist Brett Trider worked closely with Cinematographer James Neihouse as well as Legend 3D to develop a colour palette that complimented the spectacular and immersive imagery.

A Beautiful Planet was the first of Toni Myers’ films to be mixed in 12.0 Immersive IMAX® sound.  Re-Recording Mixer, Cory Mandel, worked with composers Maribeth Solomon and Micky Erbe, utilizing the new sound format to wrap the audience in the score.  Cory was instrumental in the creation of this new theatrical audio format which uses an expanded, multi-channel sound system unique to the IMAX theatre experience and specifically designed to enhance the immersive experience. The team went into the final mix with 600 audio tracks, double the average amount for a feature film, making A Beautiful Planet the largest film ever mixed at Technicolor Toronto. 

The film, which is narrated by Jennifer Lawrence and offers an awe-inspiring glimpse of Earth and a hopeful look into the future of humanity, was released in IMAX® and IMAX® 3D theatres worldwide April 29th, 2016.

IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX Corporation

HOUDINI & DOYLE

Houdini & Doyle is a 4K/UHD Canada/UK co-production from Big Talk Productions (UK), Shaftesbury (Canada) in association with Shore Z Productions.  Inspired by true events and the relationship between Harry Houdini (Michael Weston) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Stephen Mangan), the series draws heavily on the rich history of the period, offering a mix of the real world, crime and the supernatural.

The first 8 episodes of the series were shot in the UK around Manchester. Technicolor London set up the 4K/UHD workflow utilizing the security of Technicolor’s Global Dailies solution and ensuring the color continuity on-set.  Post production for the project took place in Toronto with Technicolor housing the complete pipeline, including offline editorial, color finishing, sound and packaging. “My experience with Technicolor was fantastic”, said Executive Producer David Hoselton, “Having so many superb resources under one roof makes it incredibly convenient; the fact that everyone is so damn nice makes it a no-brainer. ” Technicolor Toronto has a number of 4K/UHD suites covering all creative areas and Houdini & Doyle was able to make use of these. Colorist, Brett Trider worked closely with Cinematographers Phillipp Blaubach and Stephen Reizes to set the look for Houdini & Doyle. “Television is becoming increasingly cinematic.  What I think really sets this show apart is that it’s a period piece with a modern cinematic look,” said Trider. “Due to the increased resolution provided by 4K/UHD, I was able to maintain details in both the high and low lights and take advantage of the increased dynamic range of the raw camera footage.”

Mr. X provided all of the VFX for Houdini & Doyle, including On-Set Supervision for the episodes shot in the UK as well as VFX Supervision in Toronto. Lead by Visual Effects Supervisor, Ed Taylor, the team developed simple creative solutions that were inspired by their experience on “period” projects such as Penny Dreadful and The Three Musketeers.  Working with Producers Adrian Sturges, David Hoselton and Maggie Murphy, Mr. X delivered approximately 36 shots per episode with the most challenging being a CG Scotland Yard and Houdini Hotel.  Technicolor’s Design and VFX team worked together with Mr. X, to de-modernize some exterior shots, create crowd duplication and various composites.

Re-recording Mixers Al Degraaf and Mike Woroniuk worked with the client to create a period mix with a modern supernatural interpretation.  The multiple deliveries of the series required subtle differences in the mix- ITV required a more traditional feel and Fox was looking for a more contemporary sound. “We were lucky to have a unique score provided by composer James Jandrisch for each episode of Houdini & Doyle”, said Re-recording Mixer, Al Degraaf. “The unconventional style of the music was a real creative driver for the show and Mike and I used it as inspiration to create supernatural elements that enhanced the story.”

Technicolor also provided real-time mix review supervision in three locations simultaneously (connecting Technicolor mix stages in Toronto with London and Los Angeles). This gave the executive producers based in the London and LA the ability to listen to the mix in Toronto at full 5.1 theatre quality, highlighting Technicolor Sound’s ability to be flexible, adaptive and to work to the highest standards internationally. Technicolor’s end to end approach continued through the delivery process, managing Houdini & Doyle’s extensive delivery schedule and providing different HD versions for the North American and UK markets as well as the 4K version for Sony.  

Click to read complete Houdini & Doyle case study.

Toronto Supervisor - Sound Services, Cory Mandel

Cory is an award-winning Re-Recording Mixer and Music Scoring Mixer with over 25 years of experience.  He mixed the Oscar nominated IMAX film, “Cosmic Voyage” and has been nominated for 2 Emmy awards, numerous IMAX Film Awards and MPSE Golden Reel Awards. He’s won an IMAX Film Award for “Nascar 3D” and 4 MPSE Golden Reel Awards, for the IMAX films, “Nascar 3D”, “Deep Sea 3D”,” Sea Monsters” and “Rocky Mountain Express”.

Cory’s resume also includes numerous TV series, feature films and IMAX DMR features such as “The Avengers- Age of Ultron”, “Mission Impossible-5”, “ “The Hobbit” Trilogy, “Transformers”, “Star Trek: Into Darkness”, and the “Harry Potter” series.

Cory has played a key role in the evolution of IMAX Sound, helping to develop IMAX PSE for documentaries and IMAX DMR (Digital Remastering) for Hollywood titles. IMAX recently asked Cory to help with the design of their new IMAX Immersive 12.0 sound format, for which he has recently completed mixes of “Captain America: Civil War”, “Jungle Book”, “Alice Through The Looking Glass”, “The Martian” and “A Beautiful Planet”.

Can you tell us about the new IMAX 12.0 Immersive sound format?

It’s a custom designed immersive sound format that relies on the same point-source clarity & articulation of the sonic image that IMAX has been famous for, for the past 40 years.  We designed it so that the audience would perceive a deeper, fuller overall sense of immersion. The 12.0 immersive format has the ability to place the audience further into the center of the film experience in an organic and natural way.

What sound gear are you currently using?

Our main stage is outfitted with the latest version of the Euphonix S5  2-man console, with full IMAX 12.0 and Dolby ATMOS capability built in. We’re running 3 Pro Tools HDX machines and have the capability to run over 1000 channels of audio simultaneously. The stage has 2 completely discrete speaker sets, one for THX 7.1 and Dolby ATMOS and one for IMAX Immersive and IMAX 6.0. Digital picture is projected by a Christie projector.

What is the most memorable project you were involved with?

There are so many…each is memorable in its own way…It’s impossible to pick just one.

Tell us about you, your musical tastes and Influences, and what led your career in this direction?

I came up on the music side and was classically trained and worked as a singer-songwriter in my teens and early 20’s. I did club dates in Toronto and a few national television shows, before realizing that becoming a “rock star’ might not be as easy as it looked. I progressed to writing and producing for my own music company and then moved into production full time, recording, mixing and producing music, which evolved to full time post mixing in the 90’s. I became involved with IMAX in 1995 and that relationship had a certain special chemistry that has evolved to where it is today.

My musical influences are broad, but if I had to go to a desert island with only some recordings, they would be: Weather Report’s “Heavy Weather”, Best of Coltrane, Prefab Sprout’s “Two Wheels Good”, “Works” by Pat Metheney, Best of James Taylor, Bowie’s “Let’s Dance”, Mozart’s Requiem, 1st & 2nd Gymnopedie by Erik Satie, the score to Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Quincy Jones’s “Back on The Block”, MJ’s “Thriller” Earth Wind & Fire’s “All in All” and Drake’s “Take Care”.  (I could go on and on…but I’ll stop there)

What are some of your favourite most pinnacle moments of your career so far?

Having the opportunity to work with Bob Clearmountain on the DMR mix for The Rolling Stones, concert film, “Shine A Light”. Recording and mixing the score for “The Nutcracker” with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in the UK.   Mixing anything with directors Stephen Low, Toni Myers and David Lickley. The great response from the Wachowski’s entourage after they screened the mix of “The Matrix: Reloaded”, which was the very 1st day-and-date DMR film ever done.  Mixing an acapella song by vocal group “Take Six” for a film by Jeff Berry….60 tracks of 5 part vocal harmony perfection…it was heaven. I love working with people who are passionate about sound and understand the visceral impact that it can have.                                    

How has the evolution of technology changed the way that you work?

Yes and no….the creative process remains the same, but the speed in which we can do things and the choices and technical flexibility that we have now, are considerably improved.

What advice would you give people who want to get started doing what you do?

Make sure that you’re very passionate about the choice to do this…you’ll need that passion to sustain yourself through the lean, early years and it will always serve you well as you make your way. It should be the main reason to choose this career.

How do you differentiate yourself in order to stay competitive and ahead of the game?

I’m always looking for emotional inspiration in film-making. If we can create moments that inspire, or that people can identify with, or relate to in a meaningful way that helps them in their own situation, I’m extremely happy. The real power of film is being able to create such moments for people. That’s what it’s been about for me from the get-go.

What is the most fun part of your job?

I truly love that it’s a 50-50 split between art and science…both sides of my brain are engaged at all times.

Montreal Colourist - Anne Boyle

Anne Boyle has been a colourist at Technicolor Montreal since 2013. She has worked on numerous theatrical and broadcast projects such as Helix 2 (Syfy), The Red Tent (Sony), This Life (Sphere Media), The Art of More (Sony) and the animated feature The Little Prince. Anne graduated from the renowned National Film School in England with a specialty in digital grading.  She worked as a colourist in London, Dublin, Amsterdam and Asia with industry heavyweights such as Peter Doyle.

What is the work environment like at Technicolor Montreal?

It is more interesting and there are a variety of opportunities here. I have noticed that the local productions in broadcast and film are of a very high standard. And the animation market is growing at a fast pace. The team in Montreal meshes well and has great chemistry; this makes me feel in my element.

What is the role of a colourist?

In my opinion, it’s about getting inside the mood and meaning of the piece and allowing that to shine through the picture just as the creative team intended. My job is to enhance the picture and fit the mood so it can serve the story. I greatly enjoy bonding with the client – it helps understanding their vision for the project. We can then meet and exceed their expectations for what’s in their mind’s eye.

What are important qualities for a colourist to have?

Being eager to know more about the craft of colour grading is key. To have an instinct and a good eye is also essential. It’s a must to be a people person and enjoy working with the client. We need to ensure integrity and a sincere communication exchange through the process. I feel that the role I play requires more than knowledge and craft, it also demands inspiration, intuition and a well-developed sense of aesthetics.  In the end, it is essential to be in sync with the client to make sure they are fully content with our work.

What are the most prominent projects of your career?

The Little Prince was a brilliant film and a wonderful adaptation of St-Exupéry’s novel from director Mark Osborne. This experience will stay with me forever. I’ve also enjoyed working with Pierre Jodoin (DOP) on The Art of More. We worked on this series with the new ACES workflow, which was a new and interesting challenge. The show was endowed with a lavish signature - it explores the theme of arts - the rich colours and tones are undeniably magnetic to the screen.

What are your favorite types of projects to work on?

I enjoy working on genre pieces because you can stretch and play with their classic patterns – pushing boundaries is also part of my craft. I appreciate working on features, broadcast and shorts equally.

How do you stay competitive?

To remain competitive in colour grading, you need to be constantly looking for new techniques, new technologies and equipment. Technicolor is a forward-thinking provider when it comes to colour grading, especially with Baselight. A competitive colourist is also aware of the wide array of tools and solutions that are available to achieve the client’s expectations.

What would you be if you weren’t a colourist?

An architect, because it is a great combination of “pragmatic” and “creative” which is also linked to my craft as a colourist. Also, an architect’s assignment must fit into a rigid framework – you have the possibility to go in multiple directions as long as the result fits in the same framework and plan. 

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AQPM

Nicolas Savoie, Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Client Service Montreal hosted a panel at the recent AQPM (Association Québécoise de la Production médiatique) annual conference which was held on May 3rd-5th in Quebec City. The subject of the panel was Broadcast strategies and Content Distribution in Quebec and internationally. The panel brought together several influencial speakers of the industry: Mia Desrochers, Director of Distribution at l’Office National du Film (NFB), Pierre-Alexandre Labelle, Cofounder of Under The Milky Way, a content agregator, Jean Mongeau, General Director and Chief Revenue Officer at la Société Radio-Canada (SRC/CBC), Anick Poirier, Principal Vice President of International Sales at Séville International and Entertainment One Canada, and  André Provencher, Vice President of Creation and International Development at Québécor Contenu. The panel discussed two important themes for Quebec producers: the sale of content internationally and the increase of new broadcast platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and iTunes.   

Nicolas introduced the panel, highlighting the increasing globalisation of the markets of contents driven by the rise of OTT platforms. This trend involves many challenges, as well as a lot of opportunities for local producers.

Technicolor is a proud partner part of the annual AQPM conference. This year, the event has attracted an impressive 300 visitors. 

Technicolor - The Leader in Versioning

In Canada, Technicolor provides versioning services for theatrical and broadcast needs whether it’s for blockbusters, animation TV series, fiction or documentaries. Technicolor has established an expertise in the industry providing English and French (Canadian, International and Parisian) versioning services for over 30 years. At Technicolor, clients benefit from a turnkey service: detection, adaptation, voice recording with artistic direction, retiming, audio mix, titling, inserts and deliverables. This strong experience as well as its relationships with Union des artistes (UDA) and the Société des auteurs de radio, télévision et cinéma (SARTEC) has provided Technicolor with a network of actors, artistic directors and sound professionals who are qualified to deliver the clients’ requirements.

The work is done in state-of-the-art facilities: 9 recording studios equipped with Pro Tools for voice recordings, 6 studios equipped with Dubstudio, 3 studios dedicated to voice over and finally, a studio equipped with ISDN, Source Connect and Skype. "Technicolor offers the complete solution when it comes to content adaptation. We are a trusted business partner for producers, studios and well-known broadcasters," highlights Alain Baccanale, Vice President  Operations & Strategic Affairs.

Technicolor's facility meets the requirement of content security demanded by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and has successfully passed every audit completed by major Hollywood studios.