Los Angeles-based post-production house Shapeshifter used Blackmagic Design’s Teranex 2D Processor and DaVinci Resolve color correction software to finish the feature-length documentary “Mel Brooks: Make a Noise.”
“Mel Brooks: Make a Noise” recently aired on PBS as part of the popular American Masters series, and has quickly become one of the most talked about documentaries of 2013. The film combines celebrity interviews with archival footage to shed light on the comedy giant’s personal life, creative beginnings and legendary career.
Director Robert Trachtenburg chose to shoot the film’s interviews in 4K at 23.98fps. This footage was then edited into a 29.97fps (DF) project and was combined with the archival footage, taken from more than five decades of Mel Brooks in film, television and on stage, which was already 29.97fps.
Shapeshifter colorist Randy Coonfield began color correction on the film by converting the provided 29.97fps project back to 23.98fps, recreating a proper link to the original footage and creating AAF files, allowing him to conform all of the 23.98fps 4K footage in Resolve to begin color correction. He also did a large amount of zooms to reframe interviews, which had been shot with this idea in mind.
Resolve’s ability to work with the full resolution files provided zooms of 200 percent and more, which still looked terrific. Work included extensive secondary color, diffusion effects and many Power Windows to create a specific look. This required a lot of tracking as well, and Resolve handled all of it perfectly.
After color correcting and resizing the 23.98fps material in Resolve, the team used Blackmagic Design’s Teranex 2D Processor to perform a render process that created DNxHD media for conversion back to 29.97fps. The new, color corrected 29.97fps footage was then cut into the sequence, replacing the original lower resolution shots. Once the timeline had been finalized at full HD resolution, a mixdown of the entire piece was created, which was again sent to Resolve for a final color pass.
Some of the footage needed additional work, like noise reduction, sharpening, repositioning and color. A few interviews needed more color correction or different zooming, which was redone in the 23.98fps project. Much of the archival footage was already color corrected, so this step required very little manipulation to achieve the desired result.
For the final step, the entire 29.97fps mixdown was sent back to the editing team, which then overcut the archival footage and any newly created footage from the camera files, adding titles and finalizing the film.