Thursday, February 22, 2007

Inside Offing David: making it shine

Daniel Christie spends hours in front of a computer in a monumental cleanup effort to enhance the visual look of the indie film OFFING DAVID in order to bedazzle its viewers.

"It's funny, there are a few moments when I actually get distracted from the task at hand and find myself completely absorbed in the narrative of the film," says Christie.

Christie joined the team in 2004 as Director of Photography and is now Visual Effects Supervisor. That dual role gives him unique control over the film's visual look and what is inevitably seen in the theatre.

He says OFFING DAVID does not follow the trend towards light comedies among Australian indie filmmakers, nor does it look the same. He says it has been a goal of the crew to maintain high production values and "cinematic sensibility" in both the camera work and editing which makes it stand out among similarly budgeted films.

"My role as VFX Supervisor is to create effects that will blend seamlessly into the narrative of the film and aid the suspension of reality," says Christie.

Included on his list of 39 visual effects, he must create content that shows up on the display screen of David's mobile phone, with the help of graphic artist Peter Shepherd. He also must hide stray objects which weren't meant to be seen in the film: legs from crew members, misplaced light stands, or microphones which wander into view.

Christie also works closely with the director to judge the colours of thousands of shots which must be adjusted to please the eye. "Our chosen colour palette subtly characterises the world around our protagonists and helps us enhance the look of the film," says Christie.

The 75-minute drama is digitally stored on a computer hard drive in Sydney taking up nearly 200GB of space. Visual effects and compositing are being done in Adobe After Effects 7, utilising various plug-ins, including Synthetic Aperture's Colour Finesse for colour grading.

Daniel Christie has studied extensively at UBS Film School and works regularly at Metro Screen in Sydney.