SGO’s Mistika was used at every stage of Framestore’s post production pipeline for the stunning stereoscopic 3D post production of The Foundling, produced for PHILIPS. Mistika was used for conforming, creating seamless workflows, stereo 3D graphics, titles and visual effects. The film was designed to demonstrate the PHILIPS 21:9 Cinema 3D TV for the brand’s “Parallel Lines” competition, directed by Barney Cokeliss for RSA Films. The PHILIPS Parallel Lines campaign invites directors to put forward their own unique visions of a set six-line dialogue to illustrate that: “There are millions of ways to tell a story. There’s only one way to watch one.”
Framestore’s Executive Producer, Commercials, Tim Keene states: “Mistika gave Framestore the full Stereo toolset to see through the project from start to finish. Originally I had set aside other 3D stereo VFX resources to assist the post production, but soon realised that I was able to rely solely on the Mistika to cater for all the VFX and Mastering needs of The Foundling.”
Framestore’s brief was to create a subtle and immersive 3D experience, in the style of their previous work for Avatar. Framestore, leading UK authority on stereoscopic 3D and renown for using innovative technology to create high-end images for every platform, chose Mistika for this high profile project. Initially, Mistika conformed the film from DPX files into two full resolution streams for the left and right eye. Its unique stereoscopic alignment tools were then used to quickly align the left and right cameras. The speedy process was impressively achieved using Mistika’s in-built optical recognition software to remove any vertical misalignments caused during the shooting process.
David Cox, Mistika Visual Effects Artist & Colourist was responsible for the entire stereo 3D post effects, using Mistika, where he explains: “Colour grading was initially carried out in a dedicated grading suite at The Framestore in order to allow the director to continue a relationship with a particular colourist. Mistika was able to create a seamless workflow to enable this. It presented left and right streams of corrected DPX files to the external grading system, flipping and flopping shots where necessary to make the external grading as simple as possible. While the grading was in process, I was able to continue to work on the ungraded material knowing that when the grading was complete, I could simply swap the ungraded DPX files for graded ones and all my work would simply be attached to the graded images. This worked perfectly, as did Mistika’s own colour grading ability to match shots that were later changed and to provide a final “once-over” in 3D.“
Mistika was also used to create all the 3D graphic and visual effects sections in the film. Graphics included forming titles which dissipated in a smoke-effects fashion, created by using Mistika’s “feedback” effect to create a procedural animation to the internally generated type. There was also a “time passing “sequence which was created using many traditional circus posters and these where composed in stereo 3D using Mistika’s stereo 3D compositing space, which allowed accurate positioning, while viewing the result at the same time in stereo 3D.
There were also many subtle and outstanding visual effects, which were deliberately intended to be invisible to the audience. One example was the scene of the mother’s face at the start of the film. It was felt that she looked too old in that scene, as she needed to look older later on in the film, and the comparison was not so clear. Mistika’s painting tools came to the rescue and were used to “airbrush” a younger look to her face, with the animated result tracked in stereo 3D onto the stereoscopic base shot.
Other visual effects shots that had great impact in the film, included adding a stereo 3D coconut into a “coconut shy” shot, so that the coconut flew directly at the audience for a classic, surprise “stereo 3D moment” making viewers react suddenly. The closing scene of the circus caravan train moving away were actually tripled in length using combined multiple passes in Mistika to elongate the entourage. Finally, there were a number of small tweaks that were required to perfect certain shots in the project, such as removing distant buildings and adjusting elements for better composition and clarity using Mistika.
David Cox adds: “Mistika proved to be the perfect post production tool for this project as it needed to handle all of the natural stereoscopic issues, plus be able to make edit changes, colour grade and provide graphics and visual effects to the final film. It did all of this extremely quickly, allowing the maximum creative time to be spent perfecting the film.”
The Foundling depicts the life of a unicorn baby abandoned at a circus by his mother. The unicorn boy grows up in the circus’ freak show, much to the amusement of spectators. The unicorn’s mother returns to see her son and he chases her through the circus in 3D.
The film is available to view at PHILIPS in 2D and in-store in 3D as a way of demonstrating PHILIPS’ new 3D TVs.