Tina Menger, a second year media design student at the Bavaria Film Studios, one of Europe’s largest film production companies, developed the story of Change to 8 together with her fellow students. She also served as director and editor. Her story on the production and editing process with EDIUS 8 follows.
What can be more exciting than to produce your own short subject film, especially when working with a team of equally passionate colleagues from concept to the final master? Nothing. There was no question: we wanted to be part of the Pieces of 8 project!
A professional production requires comprehensive casting, especially with Change to 8 because the actors had no spoken words and needed to be able to get the story across just by their facial expressions. We also had precise ideas about what the location should be.
After doing quite a bit of research and location scouting, we found the perfect hotel for shooting in the town of Wasserburg am Inn. The management team and the entire staff of the Hotel Fletzinger Bräu supported us tremendously — even though we must have been in their way with our team and equipment throughout the shoot.
We decided to shoot in 4K with Blackmagic Design's URSA as first camera. Although it was our DOP Fabian Winkler's first encounter with this camera, it posed no problems. The huge iPad-sized display was a great help for me as director.
Typical for any 4K production, the makeup artist (Evgenia Stamler) had to work even harder, because of the ultra-high resolution revealing even the smallest irregularities and details. Our chief of lighting Lucas Lemnitzer also had to take extra care for perfect lighting than he would have had to on a traditional HD shoot.
As our second and mobile camera, we shot with a Blackmagic Design Production Camera 4K. The URSA would have definitely been too heavy and too bulky to be mounted onto our slider.
Shooting 4K is surely still a challenge — but the more effort you invest in preparing every detail the more stunning results you get. We were quite spoiled, having the luxury of being supported by two camera assistants. Our film has no dialog, so we didn't have to worry about sound recording. Working together with our main actors, Bettina Kenter and Max Schneyder, was just as smooth as well. So we were able to finish shooting in just two days.
With both cameras, we decided not to record in RAW. We trusted that the 4:2:2 10-bit color sampling of the Atomos Shogun 4K recorder would leave us with enough color depth to do our color grading in EDIUS as desired. This way we were able to keep things small and manageable at the set concerning the handling of media.
Loaded with about 200 GB of material, we started the editing process. magic multi media were kind enough to provide us with our own EDIUS Pro 8 edit suite. Ingesting the data via USB 3.0 took just about an hour. After this, we were able to start editing immediately — with no need for any transcoding.
This was my first experience with a 4K project and I had anticipated a rather time-consuming editing process and expected long work days. Despite the high data rate of our 4K material, EDIUS was not stressed at all and allowed a fast and creative workflow — without ever forcing us to wait. We were finished with the rough cut by the end of the first day of post production.
By the afternoon of the second day, we were able to show the producer a first preview. With the support of team member Veronika Barta of magic multi media, we then continued finishing the project. And personally speaking, it was at that point that I decided to edit my thirdyear finals project next year on EDIUS as well. This is because all of the color correction, color adjustment, YUV settings, mask filters and picture manipulations with the Layouter tool work in real time, even in combination!
We had decided on a warm sepia look. With the tools for primary and secondary color correction (to handle shadows, for example) we could precisely achieve the look we wanted and could easily match the URSA material with the Production Camera 4K footage. During the editing process, we sent a lower resolution file to our music composer Johannes Ott. Although the time frame was very limited, he managed to compose a perfectly fitting score.
On the third day, we were through with editing and sound design. We then applied some final touches and fine tuning. Often the mask filter was a great tool to emphasize certain areas (like the title on the cover of the menu card), to hide or soften borders, highlight faces or change the color of objects. The EDIUS Layouter tool was great to slightly reframe a few scenes to achieve a more intense effect. This was especially true at the start of a slider move, which is often a little bit shaky — the EDIUS stabilizer did a fine job smoothing this movement out.
With its 3D functionality, the EDIUS Layouter was also applied to enhance the opening sequence. We animated a still frame in 3D space to make it look as if the door is being closed, to make it clear that the young man lives in room No. 3.
It's really fun and inspiring to be able to instantly put an idea like this into action, see how it works, change or tweak it. EDIUS Pro 8 allowed us to fully concentrate on our plot, the desired look and storytelling, while not being distracted by any technical issues at all. I can't think of a more optimal way for a creative tool to perform.