Darius Fisher
Online Editor and Co-Producer

One village's attempt to survive the Middle East conflict is captured by DNA and Blackmagic

The small village of Budrus is at the forefront of the unarmed movement within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and, more broadly, the Middle East. This multi-award winning film documents the very real danger facing this small village. A documentary of gritty substance, it records forever the inspirational journey of the residents of Budrus and their attempts to bring a just peace to their corner of the world.

‘Budrus’ documents a man and his 15 year old daughter in their unarmed movement to save their village from destruction. Along the way, the film shows the human face of Fatah and Hamas, as well as the many Israeli supporters who come to Budrus. These very different people all come together in a desperate desire for peace and to defend the rights of the villagers of Budrus to live their lives in freedom. This collective non violent action designed to confront the ever-present danger to the village of Budrus, shines a light on the very best in human nature.

The film is directed by award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha and produced by Ronit Avni, the founder of Just Vision. In ‘Budrus’, the filmmakers tell the true story of the successful, non violent protest movement that began with community organizer, Ayed Morrar, and his 15 year old daughter in 2003.

The filmmakers were blessed with a powerful story to tell, but in order to be successful and gain recognition amongst the huge number of documentaries about the region, Budrus needed to be more than a compelling story. Budrus also needed to be a well-made, professional-looking film…and of course, all done on a limited budget!

The film has universally met all these criteria and has quickly gained international acclaim. Budrus has won awards at the Berlin Film Festival, Tribeca, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Jerusalem Film Festival and most importantly, become a powerful educational tool across the globe. To make this possible, Julia Bacha turned to post production company DNA and it’s founder Darius Fisher.

DNA is no stranger to the big topics in life, having collaborated on the highly acclaimed award-winning documentary about the oil industry, Fuel. It should come as no surprise to find DNA's inspirational founder, Darius Fisher, once again taking up the challenge of bringing one of the most important stories of our time to the world.

For DNA’s Darius Fisher, and colleague Olaf Wendt, bringing Budrus to life involved wrestling with widely varying source footage and meeting the very tight deadlines imposed by the international film festival circuit. By its very nature, Budrus is meant to tell a multicultural story. This called for numerous versions in different languages and formats, allowing this important documentary to be shown on the big screen around the world.

Budrus was offlined in New York and D.C. using Final Cut Pro NLE systems, and was then onlined and conformed by DNA in Los Angeles, with the help of their huge range of Blackmagic Design equipment.

“We were in charge of managing the whole finishing process,” said DNA’s Fisher, “and this included resolution and frame rate conversion in addition to Teague Cowley and Olaf Wendt’s entire color correction process. With new footage still trickling in and different festivals demanding different formats under tight deadlines, we could not have maintained our delivery schedule without our compliment of Blackmagic Design equipment.”

In the end, this involved accessing more than 8 terabytes of source material that Fisher and Wendt stored on their self-designed networked storage systems. “We were able to create a multi-level, hybrid infrastructure for our workflow, starting with our Blackmagic Design Studio Videohub router that let us distribute our HD-SDI signals from any workstation to wherever they were needed. This included the Teranex VC100 Format Converter we relied on for transcoding to HD and the Apple Color system that was used for color grading. We would send the video from the Apple Color system using Blackmagic Design’s DVI Extender to the JVC DLS 35 digital projector we relied on to evaluate the final result.”

In fact, DNA had calibrated all of their flat panel monitors and digital projection using probes generating 3D LUTs to Rec. 709 and was able to feed them with any needed signal out of their Color system through their HDLink Pro high definition resolution monitoring converters. “This gave us consistent HD visual imagery with a full range of monitoring capability,” Wendt said. “The Blackmagic Design equipment enabled us to rely on a uniform viewing environment.”

The DNA facility also boasts four Blackmagic Design Multibridge Pros and one Multibridge Eclipse system among their facility’s external PCI Express capture and playback equipment. The Multibridge can switch instantly between SD and HD (or 2K if needed), which, with the help of their Blackmagic Design Mini Converters, provided reliable I/O to any of DNA’s workstations.

“We even had a VHS deck with a component output,” Fisher said, "and I was able to feed its analog standard definition video and stereo audio channels to our Multibridge Pro to mux the video and audio into a SD digital signal. We could then send it via SDI to the Teranex converter where it was up-rezzed an de-interlaced into proper 1080P HD, then sent through the Blackmagic Design Studio Videohub to a Multibridge Pro where it was captured as a 1080p 23.98 or 25PsF Quicktime file.”

The modular architecture of the Blackmagic Design Mini Converters meant DNA could always find a way to route a signal to the workstation or monitor where it was needed.

“A lot of the material we had to work with had interlaced fields in its video,” Fisher said. “So the ability to route signals to our Broadcast Sony CRT was very helpful in making sure we took the correct approach to deinterlacing. The combination of all of these Blackmagic Design systems together proved to be greater than the sum of their parts.”

“Without the Blackmagic Design equipment in our facility, we never could have made the deadline we were facing,” Darius Fisher said. “We feel bringing the story of ‘Budrus’ to the screen will help the world understand the significance of this very important event.”

Budrus will be showing in Washington, San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and Michigan in the coming months. Check the film’s website for details and more information. Http://www.justvision.org/budrus

Hopefully, the story of Budrus will continue to bring out the very best in people, no matter what side of the political divide they find themselves.