Blackmagic Design today announced that the thriller “My Daughter Was Stolen” used a variety of its gear throughout production and post, including URSA Mini Pro, URSA Mini 4.6K and Pocket Cinema Camera digital film cameras, DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio for color grading, editing and sound design and Fusion 9 Studio for visual effects (VFX).
“We did the entire project in Blackmagic Design,” said Ari Golan, producer, camera/MoVI operator, drone pilot, post supervisor and colorist, as well as owner of Golan Studios and Atomic Imaging, the production and post houses behind the film. “Everything was shot on five Blackmagic Design cameras and completely edited, graded and finished in DaVinci Resolve Studio. Even the sound mix was done in DaVinci Resolve Studio, as well as green screen compositing. Fusion Studio was then used for VFX work.”
The film, which premiered internationally in select theaters March 1st and subsequently March 9th on the Lifetime Movie Network, takes place in current day Chicago and follows two actresses competing for the same role. When one doesn’t get the role of her dreams, she kidnaps the other actress’ four-year-old daughter. 10 years later the girl escapes, but her captor pursues her and begins a murderous rampage culminating in a final chase sequence and showdown.
During filming, DP Don E. Fauntleroy, ASC, used URSA Mini 4.6K PLs as the A and B cameras, as well as an URSA Mini Pro for all gimbal and drone shots, including overhead tracking shots of cars, establishing shots of locations, and the film’s opening shot approaching the downtown Chicago skyline from over Lake Michigan. An URSA Mini 4.6K EF was also used for splinter units and pickup shots, as well as a Pocket Cinema Camera for select stunt drive overs.
“The only non-Blackmagic Design cameras on set were used for still photography,” Fauntleroy explained. “Going into this project, we had just completed ‘Jeepers Creepers III,’ which also used URSA Mini 4.6Ks. We were so pleased with the look and capabilities of the Blackmagic Design cameras that when we started this production, we didn’t even have a conversation regarding which cameras we would use. It was a foregone conclusion that it would be the URSA Mini 4.6K and URSA Mini Pro.”
While Fauntleroy cites the cameras’ form factors, dynamic ranges and affordability as additional factors in why they were chosen, it was the image quality above all else. “Blackmagic Design cameras provide the best image per dollar you can get. Also, the RAW CinemaDNG workflow with DaVinci Resolve Studio is seamless, robust and versatile,” he said.
As Editor Roger Wolski noted, in post, the team was able to switch back and forth for editing and color grading in DaVinci Resolve Studio through the use of collaboration mode. “We used the collaboration mode during the edit because I started editing while the film was being shot. First thing in the morning, the previous day’s footage was copied to the server via the clone tool. Then Assistant Editor Nick Scurto would edit the metadata and label the clips by scene and take, all while I was editing clips already finished. This not only allowed the assembly edit to be completed just a day or two after filming wrapped, but also allowed Ari to grade simultaneously,” he explained. “I also found DaVinci Resolve Studio’s trim tool pretty intuitive to use. It made trimming and fine adjustments very quick.”
During grading, Golan was tasked with creating a warm, happy feeling for the beginning of the film; however, as tragedy and drama unfold, the look moves to cooler tones. He relied heavily on several of DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio’s new features throughout his work, including the Match Move filter which allowed him to easily replace pictures and video, for example replacing images on television screens and cell phones.
“It saved us from having to use another program outside of DaVinci Resolve Studio, which on a greater scale, was true for the majority of the post workflow in general,” Golan said. “The only thing not done in DaVinci Resolve Studio was VFX in Fusion Studio, as well as some sound effects and foley editing, but that was brought into DaVinci Resolve Studio as stems.”
VFX Artist Adam Clark relied on Fusion 9 Studio’s planar tracker for a number of shots, including tracking fire to objects and bullet wounds to an actor. “In conjunction with the new powerful planar tracking options, I leveraged Fusion Studio’s superb roto tools to isolate tracking areas,” he said.
Dialogue Editor Terry Shaughnessy was in charge of adding in sound effects, music and creating the final mix. “While my audio editing was done in DaVinci Resolve Studio’s edit page, we used the Fairlight page for setting up sub groups, main outs, dynamic filtration and final delivery stems,” he added.
“With the addition of Fairlight audio to DaVinci Resolve 14, we can deliver projects the way we want without having to send out to other programs,” concluded Golan. “Not only do we have advanced color grading and editing in one program, but we also can set up subs and mains and route everything accordingly, output the master, and separate left, center and right surround channels all in one step.”