Dracula and DaVinci Resolve’s Dual Citizenship
Vampires are all the rage these days. With HBO’s cult hit “True Blood” and the “Twilight” phenomenon, a new wave of bloodsuckers have successfully carved out their own territory in American pop culture. But vampire fever is spreading beyond US borders, and “Kutsal Damacana 3: Dracoola” is a film that’s proving both trends and productions can have dual citizenship.
There is no denying that Los Angeles, California and Istanbul, Turkey are two very different areas of the world. The United States’ second most populated city is well known for its A-list inhabitants and film industry ties, while the European megacity is most commonly associated with its rich economic and cultural history. Despite these dissimilarities, LA and Istanbul can find common ground in “Kutsal Damacana 3” and Loren James White.
“Kutsal Damacana” is a popular Turkish film series’ take on the legend of Dracula. The series’ third installment, “Kutsal Damacana 3: Dracoola”, is a dark mixture of comedy and horror. The story follows the Dracula character, played by Sahin Irmak, as he lives through the ancient Ottoman Empire era into modern day Turkey.
As the Digital Intermediate Colorist on “Kutsal Damacana 3”, Loren also had a significant journey ahead of him. The project required him to travel from LA, where he works as a freelance colorist using Resolve at the Bandito Brothers post house, to Digiflame, a full service post house in Istanbul. Loren is used to splitting his time between the two cities for work, but this was the first time he needed to integrate workflows. He used DaVinci Resolve in both locations to bring his two worlds together.
Loren explained: “Serkan Semiz, head of Post Production at Digiflame, approached me to let me know he had a RED feature in the works that would be moving into the color grading phase within the month, so he sent me some of the footage via FTP. This is where I really benefitted from having Resolve at my personal suite in LA. I was able to start coming up with looks and kicking ideas back and forth with Korhan Bozkurt, the director, before I even arrived. My assistant at Digiflame was grouping shots together in the meantime, another great time saver.”
Getting a head start on color correction was especially handy due to the fact that Turkey tends to favor a different style of imagery than the US does. Loren said, “Creatively, it’s very interesting to go from LA to Istanbul. The creative differences help keep me on my toes, but it’s having Resolve in both locations that gives me the power to pick up where I left off, every time.”
Loren’s favorite feature of the DaVinci Resolve Software is the 3D tracking, but he is also a big fan of the automatic scene detection, which was especially useful in grading “Dracoola”. He explained, “Being a horror/comedy, there are a lot of dark scenes. So I was able to make sure the actors’ faces were always lit well, and do it fairly quickly.”
Resolve’s 3D object tracker enabled Loren to lock a PowerWindow to an on-screen object, turn on 3D tracking, and press play. The 3D object tracking then automatically followed the object’s movement, position and size, saving a dramatic amount of time formerly needed for key frame generation.
With automatic scene detection, Loren could slice self-contained clips up into individual shots for grading. With an EDL, he could even manually tweak the scene cut results, making the process quick, easy and accurate.
Loren had quite a lot of material to get through, and a limited amount of time to do it in, so the real time performance of Resolve was yet another advantage. “The real time performance is huge; it makes the grading session smoother and clients absolutely love it.”
Loren’s Resolve color grading suite at Bandito Brothers in LA is very similar to Digiflame’s in Istanbul. He uses Resolve on a Mac Pro, with NVIDIA’s GTX 285 and GT 120 cards and Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink HD Extreme 3D in both locations. Loren also uses Blackmagic Design UltraScopes for monitoring.
But he switches it up from there. While he uses a Panasonic 12 Series Plasma in conjunction with a 24-inch LCD grading monitor in LA, Loren’s Turkish Digiflame suite is equipped with a 58-inch Samsung Plasma client display and a 24-inch JVC DT-V24L1D monitor.
Bandito Brothers is a full service production and post company, working on everything from feature films to commercial spots, and their DI theatre is 2K, with a stereo compliant projector and 3D capabilities. Their sister company Cantina Creative does high-end theatrical and commercial VFX work.
Because Digiflame does a great deal of feature film work, they take some of their projects outside for a second look. Loren explained, “We work closely with neighboring labs, who offer Arrilaser and Lasergraphics printing for the film out process.” He continued, “Istanbul is a very congested city, and there are certain theatres that attract the majority of viewers for Turkish films, so we get right to the root of it and check the prints at those local theatres before duplication begins.”
Loren’s job is usually done at this point, save for the occasional small fix. He can rest easy knowing that Resolve enables him to do his best work “from start to finish,” no matter where in the world he is.