Genval, the enchanted lady

  • 13.05.2011

Until now the majority of feature films produced in Europe simply stuck to the standard 2K. Soon we will present an entire case-study on post-production, based on Bye Bye Blondie, which will allow you to understand all subtleties of these often overlooked steps, but without sharing too much technical information we can already affirm that the work done here brings perfection one giant step closer to attain. In concrete terms, this means that each image in 4K is 10 million pixels and weighs 40 MB, whereas images scanned in 2K “only” are 3 million. So now we can translate all nuances a classic film reel contains. With the added bonus that it is then possible to alter every image on the computer with surgical precision.

That it is precisely Abel and Gordon, whom certain people consider to be old-fashioned artisans, who have taken up this challenge makes a lot of sense.

“There are always a lot of wide shots in our films,” Fiona Gordon explains. “It is extremely difficult to distinguish all characters in these shots. Unlike Tati, we do not have access to 70mm. So we are trying to find any possible way so that our far away characters are well defined and clear. 4K was one of the solutions for this problem.”

When grading, it also makes it possible to be even more precise with the colours,” Dominique Abel adds. “Had we opted for chemical grading (editor’s note: like Bouli Lanners did for Les Géants), then we had never been able to obtain this result. We made a huge mix of techniques for this film. Step by step, we discover the world of digital post-producing and it is quite fascinating. Fortunately we received perfect assistance. Maybe one day we will go completely digital. Actually, we already tried this time, but gave up on it, because the shoots didn’t take the high lights and big differences in contrast very well. Since the both of us are obsessed by the sea, it isn’t easy to work entirely in digital under these conditions. So we cut the apple in half: shoot on silver film with a digital post-production. Maybe next time…”

Dame Blanche Genval, supported by the TWIST Cluster, is being presented at Cannes together with other Walloon audiovisual companies. Since La Fée was very well received by the public and the professionals, it is quite likely that the Brabant-based company will be able to build its reputation and convince several artists to call on their services.

“We are very proud,” says Paul Englebert, the very nice digital cowboy who just broke a few ribs in a painful motor accident (we hope you feel better soon, Paul!). “The management of a post-production process in 4K is logistically very demanding given the size of the images, and many people hit a brick wall with it. Our test ride worked out fantastically, and this opener at the Fortnight is culmination of a flawless “workflow”.”

It seems like La Fée is another strong asset assuring the future of a strong company such as Dame Blanche Genval.