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The Amazing Spider-Man's color and conform

By Nicholas Restuccio
July 12, 2012
The Amazing Spider-Man's color and conform CULVER CITY — At Sony Colorworks, digital colorist Steve Bowen and DI conformist Benjamin Sutor worked with a pretty inventive system for the color correction and conforming for The Amazing Spider-Man, directed by Marc Webb. 
 
With the intense post schedule, large quantity of effects shots, and a stereo footage, Colorworks (www.sonypicturesstudios.com/.../colorworks/colorworks.html)
figured they needed to run two rooms concurrently one for 2D and one for stereo 3D.

As editor Alan Bell would finish a reel he would send a QuickTime DNX HD reference movie as well a corresponding EDL from his Avid. Colorworks wrote their own software that would use the Avid EDL to tell the Filmlight Baselight to go back to the original Red Epic footage, extract specific frames and export them in various formats for the 2D and 3D conform.

To get things up and running fast they originally pulled 2.5K 16-bit DPX files for the left eye and right eye, says Sutor. Plates for visual effects would get made at 2.5K and shipped out to Imageworks and VFX houses, while production footage would be sent off for a 3D convergence pass. Finished VFX and 3D production footage would get dropped in at 2.5K and a 3D timeline would be constructed in Autodesk Smoke. The 3D timeline was then sent to the 3D room for final grading. The left eye would be fed into the 2D room where Bowen would work with director Marc Webb and cinematographer John Schwartzman to grade a 2.5K 2D version. Later, all production footage was re-pulled and over cut at 4K for the 4K 2D version.

While that was happening colorist John Persichetti, and stereotographer Rob Engle would work on the 3D footage setting the convergence and matching the left and right eye geometry.
 
Bowen (left) would then go grade the 3D version. He says it takes quite a bit of tweaking to make 4.5-foot lamberts, the approximate luminance of a 3D screen wearing stereo glasses, look like 16 footlamberts, the approximate luminance of a 2D screen. Bowen laughs when explaining that it felt like he put his 3D glasses on and off at least 10,000 times a day.
 
"Imageworks did a really good job wrangling all the effects, and keeping the vendors to the specs," says Bowen. "By the time they got back to me very little work had to be done to make them match into the existing footage."

After the 3D version was graded, the Colorworks software would be rebuilt to the 2D conform timeline with 4K DPX files from the original Epic production footage.  When the timeline was exported at 4K, says Sutor, it would up-rez the 2.5K visual effects shots to 4K on the fly.

Bowen and Sutor (below) would then export out DCP and film versions of the final movie.