Avid customers drive creative achievement at Oscar Awards

MUMBAI: Avid Technology has announced that at last week‘s Oscar Awards all of the nominated and award-winning films in the Best Motion Picture, Directing, Film Editing, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Visual Effects, Documentary Feature and Original Score categories at the 80th Annual Academy Awards® were created using at least one Avid, Digidesign, Sibelius or Softimagesystem.

Nearly two-thirds of these nominees employed workflows consisting of multiple systems from the various Avid brands, and for the eighth-consecutive year, every nominee for a Sound Editing Oscar used Digidesign Pro Tools systems. In addition, the award-winning Animated Feature used both Avid and Digidesign systems, the Visual Effects winner used SoftimageXSI for pre- and post-visualization as well as Avid systems, and the majority of the nominees for Original Song were scored using Sibelius 5.

Christopher Rouse who an Oscar for editing The Bourne Ultimatum says, “The most difficult thing about editing this film was dealing with the overall story and structure. We shot for a fair amount of time, starting in September 2006 and ending in July 2007. We added scenes…we took them out…we cannibalized scenes. We were constantly manipulating the footage – not only as it was originally intended, but often re-inventing the material to tell a stronger story.”

While the editing team remained focussed on the creative aspects of the cut, an Avid editing and shared-storage setup helped them keep pace with more practical concerns such as inputting and organizing the massive amount of footage and keeping track of constant revisions. As many as eight Windows-based Media Composer® Adrenaline systems were connected to a 16-terabyte Avid Unity MediaNetwork shared-storage system at one time.

“An Avid system is far and away the most comfortable tool for me to work with. There are zero barriers between me and the material. That for me makes all the difference,” adds Rouse.

Digidesign Pro Tools was instrumental in the film also being awarded the Sound Editing and Sound Mixing Oscars. Scott Millan, rerecording mixer on The Bourne Ultimatum points out the critical role that Pro Tools played in helping the team meet complex audio demands and a tight production schedule. “I knew how difficult this project was going to be from the beginning so I strongly recommended that we use Pro Tools. It was to our benefit, hugely because the post-production process was very fluid. We had a lot of conforms and a lot of new material coming in frequently. Pro Tools gave us the flexibility to work very quickly and overall we were served very well by it. It was pretty much a prerequisite on this project and key to our creative process.”

Dario Marianelli who won an Oscar for composing the score for Atonement, revealed how Sibelius 5 was used as part of his creative process in composing the score. “I knew that Atonement needed two distinct musical themes. There is the relentlessness of Briony – we called her the girl with faulty brakes, she just can’t stop until she’s wrecked everyone’s lives. And then there’s the intense love story between Keira Knightley’s character, Cecilia, and Robbie played by James McAvoy.”

To create the first of these two themes, Marianelli built up an evolving, percussive composition, and then amplified the tension further by adding the metronomic sound of Briony’s typewriter keys over each beat. “That was just one of those crazy ideas, and it really worked,” he noted.

For the love story theme, the composer used a more traditional, strings-based approach, which matched the mood and also the wartime period of the film. “Panorama view in Sibelius 5 really helped me with arrangements of both these themes because I don’t think in pages, I just think in music. With Panorama, there are no breaks in your thinking, you can think more laterally,” Marianelli added. Panorama view hides page breaks in scores, instead, displaying them on an infinitely wide page. Avid and Digidesign systems were also used in creating Atonement.

Avid Technology CEO Gary Greenfield says, “We congratulate our customers for being recognized as the best in the industry. We’re fully committed to providing them with ground-breaking tools—from music composition, audio editing and mixing to 3D animation, video editing and visual effects—that enable them to unleash their creativity and produce the world’s most compelling content.”

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