Chinese Dark Comedy ‘Billion Coward’ Posted with DaVinci Resolve Studio

Blackmagic Design has announced that Chinese dark comedy “Billion Coward” was edited and graded by post production artists with Guangzhou Red Cube Film Co., Ltd. using DaVinci Resolve Studio.

Based on a play of the same name, “Billion Coward” was produced by Jiang Haibo, the producer of the hit comedy film “Goodbye Mr. Loser,” and stars popular comedians including Zhang Zidong, Yu Shasha and Huang Cailun. It follows a cowardly man, who gets involved in a complicated robbery when he comes across his ex girlfriend in Thailand. The film was premiered on Chinese streaming website Tencent Video.

The post production of “Billion Coward” was completed by a team of editors and colourists headed by post production director Pang Xiwen, who had worked as editor, DIT or technical director for films including “Chasing the Dragon,” “Racer Legend,” “Choy Lee Fut Kung Fu,” “Once Upon a Time in Shanghai,” “Xiang Jiu Xiao,” and “The Dawn of Chinese Soviet Republic.”

“Since I joined Pearl River Film Studio as a film editor in 2006, my editing tools have evolved from splicers to nowadays software apps. My team switched to a DaVinci Resolve workflow in 2018 to improve our workflow efficiency because Resolve had become a versatile tool capable of editing, all the way through colour grading and VFX compositing, and most of the colourists we had been working with used DaVinci Resolve,” said Pang.

“Billion Coward” particularly needed an efficient workflow as it was going to be screened in theaters and usually at least half a year is enough for posting a feature film for theaters. But we only had three months for this project,” he said. “Thanks to the fact that both our editors and colourists use Resolve, it eliminated the conforming work, which is a huge time saver compared to workflows using third party editing apps.

“Sending over the edit timeline to the colourist doesn’t mean the end of editing work. Changes might be asked by the director, DP, producers or the film bureau, which means the timeline often has to be sent back and forth between the editor and colourist. Without Resolve, even a small tweak of a few seconds would take an assistant editor two or three days to align the edit points, let alone the many changes scattering across the timeline, which means a huge waste of time. With Resolve, it would save a large amount of costs and time,” revealed Pang.

When the edits were finalized, the project file was sent to senior colourist Yin Yonghuan, who only needed to open the file with Resolve to see the final timeline and immediately started final grading. To make sure the master met all the technical requirements for theater screening, the final grading was completed on the DaVinci Resolve system in the 200 square meter colour grading theater at Pearl River Film Production Center.

Due to the pandemic, the client decided to change the premiere from theater screening to online streaming, which required them to create a Rec. 709 master for online streaming. “In Resolve, we simply output the DCI-P3 timeline to a Rec. 709 monitor through a DeckLink 4K Extreme capture card, which allowed us to easily find shots that needed to be adjusted. After that, we converted the colourspace of these shots with a LUT, thus quickly creating the Rec. 709 version,” Pang concluded.

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