Above Us All is a feature length movie by Dutch director Eugenie Jansen.
After the death of her Indigenous mother, the eleven year old Shay is taken by her Flemish father from Australia to Ypres, Belgium. In the surroundings, full of traces of the Great War, Shay tries to understand her mother’s death. In the meantime the camera is spinning around in circles questioning about our position in time and space.
This film is a very, very special one. In January 2014 post production company Loods Lux & Lumen took on the task of bringing this movie to the cinemas. Normally I wouldn't mention this but this time I feel I should. Why?
Above Us All was shot in 3D at 50 frames per second. So yes, it actually beats "The Hobbit" by 2 frames per second. No other post production company in The Netherlands felt like they were up to the task of handling four times the data of a regular feature film. Loods Lux & Lumen has come up with an efficient workflow that kept the incredible amounts of data under control during grading, while maintaining maximum flexibility up until the final days of production.
Loods Lux & Lumen is one of the few companies in The Netherlands able to grade for digital cinema release in 3D. Working in stereoscopic mode on the Nucoda, we decided to do a first run in 2D, in 720p 50, while checking results through the Xpand active glasses every now and then. Nucoda is a great system for working in 3D, being able to automatically match & grade the 'other' eye. Also the toolset for aligning, slightly morphing and depth grading is truly up to the task.
Halfway through the process we re-conformed the whole movie to its final delivery resolution, 2048 x 858 cinemascope. Grading continued in 2k stereo full time at 50 frames per second. Towards the end of production we performed the final depth grading with stereographer Kommer Kleijn. Finally, the subtitles were placed in 3D (and depth graded) in Clipster after which the movie was mastered to DCP.
Looking back, I am proud of the way the post production for this movie was handled. Sure, it wasn't all that easy. Imagine: two DPX streams of 2k footage running at twice the speed is a performance killer pur sang. We did a good job of handling this mammoth amount of data (touching 45 TB every now and then). Stereoscopy, I feel, is not exactly a colorists' dream. It's frustrating to see how much color, contrast and pure brightness is lost looking through the necessary glasses. And, sure, results do vary. Projector bulbs, reflective screens, active or passive 3d, these are all of influence on the final result. Kind of hard to anticipate to all of these factors and maintain the look you've created.
Still, I would do it again instantly because this is technically a very interesting and still improving process. So maybe, if 3D doesn't 'die' on us again....
Oh, these are some of the people that were key on the creation:
directed by: Eugenie Jansen
produced by: René Goosens, Annemiek van Gorp, Digna Sinke
camera: Adri Schrover
stereographer and high framerate: Kommer Kleijn
edit: Nico Leunen
post production: Loods Lux & Lumen - Ruud de Bruyn
online & mastering: Mike Vosmaer
colorist: Jef Grosfeld
3d stereo artist: Tim Mendler
vfx: BOSTI - Florentijn Bossound design: Michel Schöpping