Cutting Edge Delivers on Gatsby

In The Great Gatsby, Director Baz Luhrmann and his team have delivered a decadent, sensual and grand filmic look. Australia’s Cutting Edge was intimately involved in the creation of this glittering look, with nine staff working on the project for nearly five months. Led by Adrian Hauser, Senior Digital Intermediate Colourist, and Hugh Seville, Lead Flame Artist, Cutting Edge worked alongside the Bazmark team in a true environment of teamwork and collaboration.
Cutting Edge’s contribution centered around the set-up of workflows, the DI Stereo Grade, Opticals design and creation, and Theatrical Deliverables – all in Stereoscopic 3D. They also played a key role in developing much of the conceptual work as the project expanded and exploded in the minds of its creators.
Baz Luhrmann was highly complimentary of the Cutting Edge creative product.
“Adrian’s precise sensibilities in the digital realm, and in terms of his color together with his acute spatial stereoscopic knowledge and awareness, allowed CM and I and the whole team to go far beyond our expectations on Gatsby in finding the vibrancy and color described in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel,” said Baz.
Cutting Edge Senior Colourist Adrian Hauser said that creating the look was an inspirational challenge and an opportunity to implement his full range of skills.
“Whilst appearing heavy handed in its approach to color and light in the final theatrical presentation, the 3D grade on Gatsby was in fact a very delicate process, realising and enhancing the subtle color nuances of Catherine and Simon’s work,” he said.
“Baz has an amazingly sensitive eye for color detail, so a large part of the process was to set styles that retained these color nuances in low 3D cinema light levels, which can tend to bleach color from the screen and make things appear dingy. Baz’s Great Gatsby is a modern retelling of a classic tale and I believe the graded result is a hybrid between the look of classic cinema with its gorgeous color reproduction processes and recently matured digital cinema technology.” 
Adrian said that it was inspiring and a pleasure to work with Baz and Simon on the project.
“Working closely on the grade with Baz, Catherine Martin and DOP Simon Duggan, we spent quite a lengthy time developing and enhancing the final look of the film,” he said.
“Simon delivered such beautifully lit, grandiose and richly detailed sequences to work with, the scope for elevating and polishing the look of the film was vast, thus truly enhancing the grading process. It was a joy and honor to be involved in the film making process.”
Complex workflows in the DI were also established by Adrian. The film was shot as a true stereoscopic feature and wasn’t post converted, so this required a grading and 3D finishing workflow that conformed, aligned and was graded in 3D from start to end.
“With a little over half the shots in the film being delivered from VFX and the cut being progressively ‘locked’ up to near one week out from delivery meant the conform was truly a ‘rolling’ conform,” said Hauser. “We were constantly updating the cut and adding new VFX shots whilst grading and 3D sweetening the film.”
Additionally, living up to the challenge of a Baz Luhrmann movie, the conform incorporated a lot of poetic 3D multi-layer dissolves, resizes and transitions, which were mostly all finished and stereoscopically sweetened in Baselight.
Cutting Edge was also instrumental in the creation of the film’s Opticals. Aside from being a device favoured by Baz, these Opticals reference the grand tradition of the 20s where these were used extensively as the VFX of the day.
Hugh Seville, Cutting Edge Lead Flame Artist, created these Opticals in conjunction with the Bazmark design team. Hugh said that it was a real privilege to work on such a design led project, and that he was spellbound by the Bazmark design team’s vision and beauty and ability to keep it all on track.
“There were particular scenes where we needed to convey a rich tapestry of multi-layered graphics, dissolves, and transitions,” Seville said. “It was challenging but aesthetically beautiful, and Baz referred to these as the ‘poetic glue’ in the film.”
“The Bazmark design team were an absolute delight to work with; it was a truly organic process and taking their briefs and translating them was a true highlight of my career,” he said.

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