Ghost in the Shell; Turning Original Manga into Film
 

Ghost in the Shell; Turning Original Manga into Film

In the near future, Major (Scarlett Johansson) is the first of her kind: a human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world’s most dangerous criminals. When terrorism reaches a new level that includes the ability to hack into people’s minds and control them, Major is uniquely qualified to stop it. As she prepares to face a new enemy, Major discovers that she has been lied to: her life was not saved, it was stolen. She will stop at nothing to recover her past, find out who did this to her and stop them before they do it to others. Based on the internationally acclaimed Japanese Manga, ‘The Ghost in the Shell’, the film explores the burning questions around our inevitably tech-driven futures.

The creative and technical task of converting GITS’ script into images, while paying homage to the original manga and anime versions, fell to DoP, Jess Hall. It would be the next instalment in the collaboration between Hall and Director, Rupert Sanders. To attune a Japanese visual aesthetic, GITS was approached more like a substantial conceptual design project – to create a futuristic world with naturalistic undertones.

Anime has incredible depth and attention to detail in every frame, painterly qualities, subtle palettes of pastels and accent colours employ a generally bold, graphic compositional style. The colour palette of anime films are unique; light quality is elegant, considered and highly refined. Jess’ colour story for the film comprised a palette of 28 colours – a complex mix of subtle secondaries, greys, cyans, violets, ambers and cool white light. Reproducing such a palette and then controlling it throughout post-production would require a colourspace of equal complexity.

Park Road’s commitment to a consistent P3 colour pipeline offers real advantages to a production, and in the case of collaborating with Jess Hall, this was certainly the case with GITS. P3 colourspaces offer a large gamut of pure spectral primary colours, and with this wide range of colour values, Jess could be sure what he captured would be consistent through the entire workflow.

Park Road has been moving towards the use of one seamless colourspace on-set in dailies grading, in VFX, and for the final online DI mastering for some time. In-house Workflow Architect, Tony Pratt, describes the unified colourspace as..

“Fundamentally allowing the team to collaborate effortlessly, focusing on the shape of the images, balancing the gorgeous vintage glass, maintaining high quality interaction with Jess and enabling loop that supports efficiency and creativity”.

When dailies were screened into Park Road’s cinema in DCI there were no surprises; the images tracked exquisitely.

Capturing images through Arri Alexa65’s unique lenses meant it was critical that what Jess saw would track perfectly between the team on-set, to the colourists suite, and then through to the cinema-based rushes screenings. When on-set, Jess had absolute confidence the full gamut of the images captured in-camera tracked through the production’s digital workflow, enabling rapid creative colour decisions. The Alexa65, perhaps most importantly, employs a medium format sensor that brings the background forwards, giving a slightly flattened perspective in the spatial relationships between framed objects. This aligned perfectly with Jess’ proposed anime aesthetic.

Park Road’s move towards a P3 colour pipeline began in 2009, when Ian Bidgood, Director of Picture Engineering, established a consistent D65 white point for both Rec709 and P3 colourspaces throughout the facility. A common white point has many advantages for the entire production chain – consistency between offline and online media makes for more efficient online.

Supporting collaboration with GITS were Codex Vaults connected to Park Road via a direct fibre-optic link, creating a very fast data management regime. The speed at which the data could be transferred enabled in-demand screening from the ArriRaw media for critical reviews and subsequent optimisation. The productions’ editorial, Jess’ team at Stone Street and the grading suite noted quick and transparent communication provided by the rapid turnaround.

Jon Newell, Colourist at Park Road, worked extremely close to the workflow and saw first-hand the benefits of one seamless colourspace to the films DI capabilities. He describes his time on the project as..

“Being one where the seamless data workflow, and careful colour management of the camera technology became invisible to all departments – thus we were able to focus absolutely on delivering the best images possible every minute of every day. The results are stunning, and faithfully reflect Jess’ creative intention”.

Ghost in the Shell (2017) - Wellington Film Industry

Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Action | Crime | Drama

Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks.

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