Wellington, New Zealand — Park Road Post Production used SGO’s Mistika DI color grading system on the The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, a production of New Line Cinema and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures (MGM), the second film in The Hobbit Trilogy directed by Peter Jackson.
Mistika’s involvement at Park Road included supporting on-set services and screening HFR digital dailies, all the way through to the DI online, stereoscopic work and stunning final grade for the film. The studio boasts purpose-built DI theatres for both high-end 2D and stereoscopic finishing work, supported by Mistika 4K/stereoscopic master systems combined with dedicated finishing suites with matching SGO technology and shared storage for speed and fluidity between their online editors and colorists.
Supervising digital colorist for The Desolation of Smaug Trish Cahill worked with a team at Park Road alongside lead DI colorist Vickie-Lynn Roy, using Mistika’s color grading toolsets to complement the second film’s darker and richer narrative as the characters head through Middle-earth toward both Erebor and, of course, Smaug — the creature played by Benedict Cumberbatch and brought to life by VFX artists at Weta Digital.
“At Park Road we are inspired by filmmakers who share our constant desire to push storytelling tools forward,” said Cahill. “That motivation allows us to deliver world-leading results for our clients which never let technology take the lead, but which give us compelling color grading tools with which to achieve a director’s vision.
“Park Road chooses tools which are not only scalable and technically deep, but have truly focused on using those tools as enablers for creative expression,” she continued. “With the Mistika we were able to work interactively with the production, at high frame rate, taking the unique looks developed for the second film and extending them in the final grade sessions to focus on visual narrative. The best thing about great tools is they enable us to work with filmmakers to bring the world they imagined to life.”
Roy explained some of the technical intricacies behind the scenes: “Beyond the look development undertaken prior to the final online sessions, such as the variable ‘lens’ effects built entirely in the Mistika, we were able to effortlessly fold in highly technical requirements for specific shots — such as deep mattes, themselves mathematically driving complex grade and stereo effects — all on the same platform, and all the time running critical stereo work in parallel with the ongoing look refinement, as the team headed towards the final delivery.”
According to lead stereographer Meetal Gokul, “The interaction of grade and stereo is so often underestimated, so at Park Road we work in parallel – with any screening format, 2D or 3D, available for review at any time. The stereo toolset in the Mistika was definitely used to its fullest for the second film in the Trilogy, and as always my team’s focus is on an incredible 3D experience which drives the story forward. This film is amazing, and the Mistika continues to provide exactly the right platform to service productions of any scale.”