LOS ANGELES - Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, director Stephen Daldry's film slated for a Christmas day limited release from Warner Bros. Pictures, expanding to wide release January 20th, was the first major studio production to shoot with the ARRI ALEXA camera in a Codex/ARRIRAW workflow. It was also the first digitally captured film for veteran cinematographer Chris Menges, ASC, BSC.
This new workflow provided the production with a number of distinct benefits. The uncompressed ARRIRAW data output resulted in unsurpassed image quality and maximum flexibility for post production processing. The solid state Codex data packs used to capture the raw camera data provided rock-solid reliability and a way to jump-start the process of preparing dailies, back-up media and post production deliverables. Codex technology also provided the means for collecting complex metadata, including camera settings, notes from the director and DP, and other vital production information, making it instantly accessible to downstream members of the production and post production team.
1st AC Gregor Tavenner, who had previously worked with ALEXA and Codex technology on the Martin Scorsese film Hugo, described the Codex/ARRIRAW workflow as both a boon to production efficiency and easy to integrate with traditional production practices. "Once you are familiar with the Codex system, it is very easy to use," Tavenner says. "It is ergonomically designed and robustly built. For the war film World War Z, we carried nine Codex Onboard units across the ocean with great success."
On Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, the dailies workflow was simple and straightforward. When Codex data packs were removed from the ALEXA, a technician reconciled the metadata with the camera reports and recorded backup copies to an on-set RAID. The data packs were then sent to Deluxe for dailies and deliverables processing. Deluxe also made LTO backups. The data packs were then returned to the set for reuse.
Tavenner notes that the emergence of raw camera media holds enormous creative promise for film productions, but requires the support of proven workflow technology. "None of the new raw technology is useful without the support behind it," he notes. "We have had great service throughout the introduction of ARRIRAW, and we look forward to its further development. I am particularly excited about the possibility of 60 FPS ARRIRAW, which in my mind is quite a useful option that we've had with film cameras since the Nineties."