R!OT Posts Marine Corp Film in HD

  • 15 October 2002, Santa Monica, CA — R!OT recently provided a full slate of HD post production services for Enduring Freedom, "The Opening Chapter", a unique short film saluting the role of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps in the war on terrorism. Produced by American Rogue Films and directed by Klaus Obermeyer Jr. the 5-minute film recently debuted at a screening for members of Congress and industrial leaders at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. It will also appear in more than 4,000 Regal Cinemas movie theatres nationwide on special HD video projection screens.

    Enduring Freedom, "The Opening Chapter" was shot in and near Afghanistan and focuses on the role of the Navy and Marine Corps there. Interviews with service personnel are woven with combat footage and images of soldiers performing their daily duties. The film includes such never-before-seen images as live bombing runs with F-18 aircraft and night combat in Kandahar and Kabul. The object of the film is to capture the scope, complexity and challenges of the soldiers’ mission and the spirit with which they are fulfilling that mission.

     

    The film was conceived by American Rogue executive producer Lance O’Connor who felt that televised images from the battlefield failed to adequately capture the talents and commitment of America’s fighting men and women. "They are incredible kids doing unbelievable jobs," he said. "But every time you see them on TV, they are standing ‘like exhibits’ outside of tents saying ‘hi’ to mom."

    All of the footage included in the film, with the exception of a brief clip of the attack on the World Trade Center, was shot for it and recorded with Panavision HD cameras. American Rogue provided six weeks of training to combat photographers from the two service branches who did all of the camerawork. Because HD cameras had never before been used in this way special night vision lenses needed to be fabricated for the cameras and rigs built to secure the cameras to aircraft for aerial scenes.

    Post production work similarly broke new ground. Telecine work was completed at Company 3 with Stefan Sonnenfeld as colorist. HD editor Jason Frank worked with offline editor Tim Sherry of Mint Editorial, Obermeyer, O’Connor and the Marine Corps’ Lt. Colonel James Kuhn (who co-wrote the film with O’Connor and Obermeyer) in preparing the finished master.

    Among other things, Frank developed a technique for producing slow motion in HD something currently not possible to accomplish as an in-camera effect. "They shot some of the material at 59.94 fields per second," Franks explained. "We turned that into slow motion by using each field as a frame—the result being approximately two and a half times slower than normal."

    R!OT’s technical staff assisted by preparing alternate versions of the film in formats required for review and distribution. That included recording a version to film for distribution to theaters not equipped with HD projection systems.

    O’Connor said he brought the project to R!OT because of its experience in HD and its strong HD production pipeline. "They did it all, lock stock and barrel, and it was fantastic," O’Connor said.

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