Ender's Game Makes Big Sci-Fi with a Little Post House
November 4th, 2013

After previewing footage of Ender's Game at CinemaCon this year, raved about the film -- shot on RED EPICs:

"The battle room and some of the shots there looked 100x better than the teaser poster, and those weren't even the moments I would call 'epic'."

Opening at the top of the box office last weekend, Ender's Game caused Contact Music to make the argument that it could be the success story of 2013. The movie did indeed slip under the radar with its November opening. For such an expansive science-fiction movie from a huge studio, Ender's Game benefitted greatly from using a smaller post-production house -- Light Iron.

Light Iron CEO, Michael Cioni told StudioDaily:

"Light Iron is a very small company, and this is a really big movie and there was no disadvantage to the production in terms of our size," said Cioni. "Digital Domain said this was probably the smoothest VFX pipeline they've ever done. And it's interesting that it came from a small company like Light Iron and not a traditional lab."

Light Iron colorist Ian Vertovec described that workflow:

"With Red, it's very straightforward," Vertovec said. "We essentially just pulled the Red log film, with a Cineon curve, from the R3D files, loaded it as 10-bit RGB in log and then colored directly into P3 color space."

In the interview and behind-the-scenes video with Gavin Hood embedded above, he details the massive world the production created for the movie -- from the battle room to the bars of soap in the shower. This detail was surely improved by the dailies process that came from working with Light Iron:

"This is heresy, but it's almost like a broadcast mentality instead of a cinema mentality," Cioni explained. "You get the benefits of having constant review and feedback, which is how we do things in broadcast. The DIT, Tim Nagasawa, did incredible work, and Tim mentioned that Gavin wanted a process using our Lily Pad system on set, where he would get notes from Gavin and Don regarding the look and feel of each scene. At the end of the day, they would review everything together after it was finished processing."

Ender's Game's success in making a big movie on location with a small post-production facility points to a future of more flexible shoots, quicker dailies, and better details.