Creative Post Breaks Ice in the Wonders of the Arctic 3D

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Thu, 06/12/2014 - 15:14 -- Nick Dager

Images copyright and courtesy of Science North (via Creative Post).The $4 million Wonders of the Arctic 3D natural world epic marks Science North's fifth IMAX production in conjunction with Lickley and Chicago’s Giant Screen Films. The 42-minute film, which focuses on the effects of climate change to the Arctic environment and the impact on humans and animals, such as the resilient Inuit peoples and Polar bears that reside there, has been distributed in more than 100 theatres around the world.

The film depicts how it is the toughest place to live on earth and how creatures that live there thrive despite the harshest elements. Historically, more than half of the Arctic Ocean was covered by ice all year round but in the past 50 years, ice cover has been reduced by 70 per cent, and is predicted that within 15 years, there could be a completely ice-free Arctic during some months of the year, according to Lickley. The film provides a voyage to a world many would never visit themselves and plays a key role in educating and informing audiences about this incredibly important topic.

Cameras used in filming Wonders of the Arctic 3D included an IMAX Dual Phantom 4K, a Red Epic 5K, a 35MM 8 perf vista vision 3D IMAX Camera (scanned to 6K), and a 65MM Aerial IMAX MSM Camera (scanned to 8K)

Images copyright and courtesy of Science North (via Creative Post).Toronto’s Creative Post started work on the film back in 2010 when primary camera shooting started. Part of what made it possible to achieve such stunning results is the company's pipeline. Supervising editor Adrian Saywell said, “The first duties included onset processing and backup of Phantom footage. Once backed up and shipped to Creative Post, the processing of dailies for all digital formats in both Phantom and Red was completed using Mistika. This enabled us to create HD ProRes files with matching names and T/C’s for offline. Before we purchased Mistika, the Phantoms T/C would not match the QT created by other programs.”

Saywell continues, “Footage was supplied by DKP and Science North at various resolutions ranging from 4K to 8K in both 2D and 3D. Utilizing the open platform that is Mistika, we were able to scale all the various formats to the end result 5616X4096, which was then filmed out to 70MM for IMAX Projection. As it is near impossible to work in 3D at the full 5.6K resolution, the proxy and render options in the Mistika enabled us to scale to 2K in 3D, where all work was completed before applying the corrections back to the raw camera material. This made it fast and easy to work in such a large format. Full online finishing, stereoscopic 3D alignments, color correction and titling were performed in Mistika as well as final versioning in 5.6K 3D, 4K Scope 3D and 2K Scope 3D. New tools in version 7.2 enabled us to apply display filters such as log to linear LUTs as well as cropping of 1.85 and 1.79 images into the 70MM format without actually applying any FX to the environment.”

Images copyright and courtesy of Science North (via Creative Post).Creative Post's owner and CEO, Ken MacNeil says before they had a Mistika on board, they would not have been able to work on a film of this scope, within the given deadlines. Purchased in 2011, Mistika was chosen for its multi-resolution capability and advanced 3D tools that are required for the 4K+ resolution that Creative Post generally master in. Saywell was also able to use Mistika’s powerful tools to stabilize and fix 3D shots, which included color matching, and alignment, that he said, without Mistika, would have been deemed unusable.

Senior colorist Jim Fleming was also able to use the powerful color grading tools to pull the best images out of the footage. The 3D color grading session was technically straightforward because the left and right images were already exactly color-matched in the pre-grade processing. This allowed for a film that was breathtaking in its amazing images but also for 3D that was easy to watch, allowing for a more realistic viewing experience.

View the Wonders of the Arctic 3D film trailer here