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Edit Studios Masters the Mistika for Award-Winning Looks

Edit Studios in Tel Aviv carried out the colour grade on ‘Baba Joon’, named best film at the most recent Ofir Awards, Israel’s Academy Awards. It is the first feature shot on a RED camera that Edit Studio has graded on the SGO Mistika grading and finishing system they purchased just over a year ago.
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‘Baba Joon’ is the feature film directorial debut of screenwriter and director Yuval Delshad, an Israeli and the son of Iranian immigrants. Baba Joon means ‘papa’, expressing respect and affection for fathers in traditional Iranian families. The film portrays the challenges of choosing between tradition and personal freedom, complicated by generational differences.

Controlling Images

In preparation for work on a number of documentary and feature film projects this year, Edit Studios wanted to equip its digital intermediate theatre with the capacity to work at 2K resolution in real-time, and to render out projects in 4K. They invested in a Mistika finishing system and Mistika Assist Station, choosing the Mistika due to its flexibility across types of projects and the relative ease with which it could be integrated into the facility’s file-based workflow.

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“The images came beautifully shot on the RED Epic, which produces great texture in the image,” said Mistika artist Alvaro Barrasa, who did most of the grading on ‘Baba Joon’. “However, it also tends to generate some noise when you try to manipulate the image, especially in the darker areas. Fortunately, Mistika enabled us to create our own composites and control everything right up until the screening, including the DCP, to result in a filmic look.

“We also wanted to create different looks depending on the various moods of the characters, but always remain aware of the Middle Eastern climate at the same time. The light in that area of the world is usually quite bright and flat, and requires a bit of creativity, especially with regard to the wide panoramic shots. The idea was to bring out as much depth and richness in each frame as possible.”

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Channel De-noise Effects

Edit Studios' chief grader and colourist Yoav Raz said, “Alvaro had some effective techniques for handling the noise that the camera produced in some of the shots. I was working on the Mistika Assist station at the same time that he worked on the main Mistika system here, and he would create duplicates for me to de-noise.

“I was surprised by the Mistika's optical flow de-noise effects. Alvaro could create alpha channels on some parts of the image, and then use these to de-noise only those sections, and apply some of the paint effects to isolate the de-noise regions from other areas of the image. The Mistika system’s ability to re-conform those shots back to Alvaro's main timeline so quickly and efficiently impressed me as well.”

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Fast Integration

Although ‘Baba Joon’ was one of the studio’s first projects using Mistika, their TD and post production supervisor Amit Gilboa found the integration to be extremely fast. “This project taught us a great deal on how to organise and structure our projects in the system, and on the many options it puts under the director’s control. For example, we were able to re-conform Alvaro's complex layer stacks numerous times to new cuts and versions without losing a beat within our timeframe,” he said.

Since the studio completed ‘Baba Joon’, colourist Yoav Raz has graded the film 'Tikkun', which has won numerous awards at the Jerusalem Film Festival and the Locarno Film Festival. Yoav said, “The movie was shot on a RED camera in colour, but with the idea of making the final film in black and white. We received some very useful tips and tricks from Mistika colourist and specialist Sam Sheppard on behalf of SGO. He showed me how to use the channel effects and some other methods of isolating colours and dealing with the RED log footage.

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“The process of isolating or manipulating channels using Mistika was so easy and really gave this film the special look it has. We also worked with the visual effects artist on some shots and scenes with a convenient, fast round-trip between Mistika and the VFX suite.”  

Further to its success at the Ofir Awards, ‘Baba Joon’ has also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival 2015. Edit Studios is devoted to new work within the Israeli film and television industry. The facility has been handling post for some of the country’s primary productions, such as 'The Kind Words', one of Israel's most successful movies of 2015 and an Official selection at the Toronto Film Festival, and 'Ibiza', a major summer blockbuster. 'Hotline' won Best Documentary Film at the Jerusalem Film Festival and is an Official selection at the Berlin film festival, 'Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me' was screened at the Venice film festival, and 'OMG I'm a Robot' is Israel's first sci-fi comedy.    www.sgo.es