Mistika warms-up active volcano scenes at BTV Post in stunning documentary “Lava Land” in multiple formats for Electric Sky
Mistika is hot in post in Hawaii-based film for Discovery, Sky and The Weather Channel
“Mistika’s incredible stereoscopic 3D tools enabled us to deliver on time and to the high standard required for this complex project. The fact that we can also edit, grade, composite and deliver on a single system means our pipeline is streamlined and robust.”
Ian Grey, Mistika Online Stereographer and Colourist, BTV Post, London
“With delivery deadlines looming, the Mistika delivered on its promise to quickly and effectively correct the inevitable raft of technical problems that come with Stereo 3D production in extreme environments. And with every iteration Mistika is quickly evolving into the industry’s best grading tool, even with up to four different cameras shooting any scene, we left the grade with a consistent look, and some very hot looking lava!”
Nick Kennedy, Series Director, Electric Sky
3D Specialist BTV Post chose Mistika for the grading, online finishing, re-versioning and digital mastering of four spectacular documentary films titled Lava Land for Electric Sky in high frame-rates and multi-dimensional platform deliveries in HD, 2D and stereoscopic 3D.
The challenging and extremely dangerous filming environment which included aerial helicopter shots, footage from active volcanoes on hot lava surfaces as well as underwater filming, all using different cameras, meant that the footage received was uncontrolled and had to be stabilised in Mistika at BTV Post. Ian Grey, Colourist and Online Editor was responsible for the entire post production of the complex project, working with George Dutton Online Stereographer at BTV Post.
Ian Grey explains the process “The production team brought back some truly stunning images of lava deltas but were forced to shoot a lot of the footage at a distance through heavy plumes of white smoke. This caused the lava to become lost and flat within the image, but with Mistika I had the ability to isolate the colours of the lava, using its wide range of qualifying tools, allowing me to boost the colours of the lava to really accentuate the warm hues. Combined with pre-sets or hand-drawn shapes, which I could track, I was able to do the corrections required.”
The commissioning editor, Jim Gagne for TWC was delighted with the grading and commented on the stunning results achieved by BTV Post. Ian adds further “Using Mistika’s stereoscopic correction tools, we were easily able to address any problems that arose from filming an observational documentary but there was one sequence in particular that proved problematic. The programme explored the submarine volcano off the coast of Hawai’i which required underwater filming. During the course of the shoot a globule of water became visible on the lens in one eye causing the illusion of 3D to be broken. Combining multiple features of the system I was able to paint out the globule with information from the other eye and then using the composition and stereo effects I could converge the fix to sit at the same depth as the rest of the shot. With Mistika’s all in one box solution I was able to keep the sequence in the show and in 3D.”
Nick Kennedy, Series Director working for Electric Sky concludes “With delivery deadlines looming, the Mistika delivered on its promise to quickly and effectively correct the inevitable raft of technical problems that come with Stereo 3D production in extreme environments. And with every iteration Mistika is quickly evolving into the industry’s best grading tool, even with up to four different cameras shooting any scene, we left the grade with a consistent look, and some very hot looking lava!”
The film was shot on location on Hawaii’s Big Island in Stereo 3D. The crew follows exploits of brave scientists and hardy residents, from rainforests to barren rock, where lava flows from boiling vents. The footage also reveals one of the world’s most active volcanoes, Kilauea, where the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO) is situated, recently celebrating over one hundred years of research where its mission is to help protect life through ongoing research.
Filming in potentially dangerous environments, exposed to the weather, toxic gases and molten rock was a real test for the film crew and camera equipment but everyday for the HVO. The film also takes audiences on a journey with the Island of Hawaii’s Civil Defence and Volcanoes National Park’s rangers and officers on the ground, in the jungle and up in the air in helicopters as they show viewers what their roles entail. The programme continues with footage following Tom Pohaku Stone who resurrected traditional Hawaiian surfing and is now doing the same for the ancient art of he’eholua rock sledding, by building a 50ft rock luge run. Photographer Brian Lowry’s inspirational story is also followed as he tries to capture the magic of the volcanoes making the 25 mile hike for 22 years through the lava fields on a weekly basis. These hikes would be backbreaking for anyone, but Brian, born with severe disabilities, does not let that slow him down.
Electric Sky was commissioned by The Weather Channel to create the four 30-minute episodes in 2D. They also future-proofed the series in Stereo 3D formats, and did so for two one-hour versions of the programme which were co-produced specifically for Discovery Europe and Sky. The Weather Channel series “Lava Chasers” aired in the U.S. in June 2013. The series will air on Discovery and Sky 3D in the UK in August this year.
BTV Post is a cutting edge facility house leading the way in HD, S3D and 4K. Blending creative talent with technological expertise, the company manages and delivers complex workflows and projects for their clients. BTV Post was one of the first companies in the UK to offer high definition services; ten years later they are at the forefront of stereoscopic 3D content creation and digital media.
Ian Grey joined BTV Post in 2007 as an Edit Assistant having run the in-house edit suites at October Films. During this period with BTV Post he developed his knowledge and skills. Having entered the industry with a desire to become an offline editor Ian found his focus moving towards online editing and grading. A brief spell of freelancing work followed, which included VT Online Editor for Springwatch and work for DragonDI. Ian returned to BTV Post in 2010 specialising as a Mistika operator for 2D and 3D finishing and is now working on high profile projects using SGO’s technology.