Storyline brings VFX and grading closer with Baselight

Storyline brings VFX and grading closer with Baselight
December 2, 2015 carolineshawley

[02 December 2015]

Leading Norwegian production and post company adopts OpenEXR-based BLG workflow 

Storyline Studios, Norway’s biggest and most experienced post-production company, recently installed Baselight colour grading systems, along with Baselight for NUKE plug-ins to provide strong workflow links between effects and finishing. Describing their company as “the highest concentration of film nerds in Norway”, Storyline provides an end-to-end technical and creative service from cameras and directors to finish and delivery, for projects from commercials to feature films.

Storyline is particularly noted for its visual effects work, and wanted to find a more efficient way of incorporating VFX into its colour workflow. The solution lay with Baselight for NUKE, a software plug-in that provides complete grading capabilities within the VFX environment. A complex grade and associated colour space transforms published in the colour suite can be imported into NUKE allowing the compositor to see precisely what the colourist sees. The plug-in also gives the NUKE operator access to the Baselight user interface to tweak the grade if necessary to make the effect more seamless, as well as providing colour re-mapping and a final output. This allows everyone the confidence to push further what is creatively possible.

This collaboration is only possible because Baselight provides a metadata-driven, renderless process. Grading decisions and colour space transforms are maintained in the FilmLight BLG file format and applied accurately at the moment of viewing. This allows BLG files to be shared with other systems – like NUKE – where they can be updated and returned to the colourist for final adjustments.

“When it comes to feature films this collaboration is particularly important, because it is easier to do the VFX work from day one, from right after shooting,” explained Torulf Henriksen Storyline’s CTO. “In the past we had to decide when to do the grading – should we do VFX before or after? With the BLG workflow that issue is resolved: compositors can work on VFX even after grading, they can keep track of colours along the BLG journey and finesse the work as the look of the film develops. That was the reason the VFX department selected Baselight within NUKE.

Storyline also installed two Baselight ONE grading suites, one with a Blackboard control surface and one with Slate. They had no hesitation in selecting Baselight because it was the most popular choice among the company’s staff and their high-profile freelance colourists. “The response from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Henriksen. “It is powerful, easier and faster, and the DoPs noticed this instantly.”

Amongst the company’s list of high profile projects graded on Baselight is Norway’s disaster movie, The Wave, which has been picked to represent the country in the 2016 best foreign-language Oscar, graded by senior colorist Cem Ozkilicci.

To complete such a positive experience of using all BLG-enabled products from FilmLight, Storyline has also just placed an order for four Daylight systems for on-set dailies and high-performance transcoding, which additionally provides BLGs from initial grading on or near set, and a Baselight Assist.