CS Films provided the color correction, online editing and finishing for writer/director Matt Osterman film, the supernatural thriller ‘Phasma Ex Machina.’ The film, which marks Osterman debut as a feature film director, is also the first project for CS Films, the turnkey post house recently launched by CRASH+SUES, the award-wining commercial-based company to meet the growing demand for services dedicated to the independent film arena.
‘This project was a great opportunity for CS Films to work on a high-end film with an innovative, top-notch director,’ says CS Films producer Amanda Burgland. ‘Our goal was to create a filmmaker-friendly creative environment that provides feature length projects with a seamless workflow and surpass our clients’s expectations, and this job allowed us to do just that.’
‘Phasma Ex Machina’ explores the gray area between life and death and how science may bridge the two. The main character, Cody, is dealing with the challenge of raising his younger brother James after the death of their mother and father. Obsessed with reuniting with his parents, he plunges into the murky science of the supernatural when he invents a machine intended to be a conduit to the other side. As the plot unfolds, Cody machine attains an unforeseen level of success. However, it becomes clear that it poses a threat as he learns that both the supernatural and human nature have a dark side.
Colorist SUE employed her daVinci 2K+ system to color correct ‘Phasma Ex Machina,’ which DP Adam Honzl shot on Panasonic P2 digital media. The director and DP had pursued a rather unconventional look for a ghost story, opting for a warm color palette instead of more traditional chilly blue and gray tones.
‘They wanted all the ghost scenes to have a very specific look, so it was a matter of establishing it and staying with their formula,’ says SUE. ‘Since Matt wasn’st sure he’sd have the budget for color correction, he and Adam strived to get as close as possible to the palette they were going for in-camera,’ she adds. ‘With their color treatment establishing the look, I could go back and take things further by adjusting the contrast levels and amount of saturation.’ The result was a soft de-saturated look for the flashbacks, contrasted by a more colorful and realistic look during the balance of the film.’
‘We created a specific and distinct look for ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Phasma,’s’ notes Osterman. ‘SUE was able to bring that look to life and add a level of consistency that was pretty hard to accomplish,’ says Osterman.
Osterman knew that getting his film accepted into New York IFP Narrative Lab program, which offers an invaluable five days of mentorship, technical advice and support from industry experts to a select group of filmmakers, would be a great asset to the project. CS Film color correction helped him create a polished, rich look that made ‘Phasma Ex Machina’ an impressive candidate, and it was chosen as one of handful of films to become an Official Selection of IFP Filmmakers Labs 2009.
After returning from New York, Osterman continued to implement feedback from his lab mentors, which helped him, as editor of the film, to improve its flow. Once he completed cutting the feature, he handed it off to CS Films’s online editor Mark Anderson for finishing.
Anderson re-conformed the footage, working from the original P2 files using Autodesk Discreet Smoke as his platform of choice. He laid off a textless version for SUE to re-color correct to HDCAM SR, and then added the opening title sequence. ‘Matt had everything very buttoned down,’ Anderson notes. ‘His team had all the graphics and titles in production when we were working on the transfer and finishing. So when the final master was ready to go, the titles were waiting for us. It was a seamless assembly.’
Jennifer Kramer and Jon Thomas produced ‘Phasma Ex Machina.’ Aaron Stokes Ltd in Minneapolis provided the audio post for the film and Seamless Sound, also in town, created the music and sound design.
CRASH+SUES grew out of City Post Film Company, an offline editing house that opened February 1985. City Post soon teamed up with sound designer Tom Lecher, adding Echo Boys music + sound design to the City Post banner. In 1990, CRASH+SUES was launched to fulfill a creative need within the visual media community of Minneapolis.
Quickly gaining recognition for leading edge talent and state-of-the-art equipment, CRASH+SUES has grown to provide high-quality color, edit, fx, animation, motion design, and finishing for markets nationwide and beyond. CRASH+SUES, now a certified woman owned business, continues to expand and evolve with our clients’ ever changing needs.
CRASH+SUES has always maintained the attitude “anything worth doing is worth doing best”…and the best is found first and foremost in their people. CRASH+SUES has a balanced mix of veterans with expert skill sets exhibiting a deep knowledge and understanding of the industry, as well as young, out-of-the-box creatives with vast amounts of talent, energy, and always a fresh perspective.
TITLE: Phasma Ex Machina
PRODUCTION COMPANY: Phasma Productions, LLC/Minneapolis:
Writer/Director/Editor: Matt Osterman
DP: Adam Honzl
Producers: Jennifer Kramer, Jon Thomas
EDITORIAL/POST PRODUCTION CO: CS Films/Minneapolis
Producer: Amanda Burgland
ONLINE EDITORIAL COMPANY: CS Films/Minneapolis
Online Editor: Mark Anderson
FX + ANIMATION COMPANY: Studio Collective/Minneapolis
FX Artists: John Franz-Wichlacz, Jon Thomas
AUDIO POST COMPANY: Aaron Stokes Ltd./Minneapolis
Audio Engineer: Darin Heinis
MUSIC + SOUND DESIGN CO: Seamless Sound/Minneapolis
Composer: Wojciech Golczweski.
Sound Designers: Ben Allison, Jon Mohs