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Blackmagic Cloud Powers Remote Post Production on Feature Film This Closeness

Blackmagic Design announced that post production for the independent film “This Closeness” relied on a remote, collaborative Blackmagic Cloud driven workflow. With only five weeks to complete the edit, Post Supervisor/Executive Producer Pierce Varous of Nice Dissolve worked closely with Editor Brian Kinnes and Colorist Joseph Mastantuono, also relying on DaVinci Resolve Studio’s real time collaboration features to edit and grade the film in time for its premiere at the 2023 SXSW Film and TV Festival.

Directed by Kit Zauhar, “This Closeness” follows the story of a couple, Tessa and Ben, who rent a room in a stranger’s apartment while in town to attend Ben’s high school reunion. Taking place entirely in one location, the film follows the shifting dynamics and mounting tensions between the houseguests and their host, Adam.

“Blackmagic Cloud was a huge benefit to our workflow. Pierce started by doing the initial sound sync, and then I was able to immediately jump into the project file from the cloud, and we were off to the races,” said Kinnes. “Since we only had five weeks to lock picture, any time saved was extremely valuable. Constant open collaboration in Blackmagic Cloud was perfect for sorting out any hiccups along the way and running exports for quick feedback.”

“There’s nothing like instant feedback for a colorist; it saves so much time when everyone can chime in and comment during the process rather than having to interpret notes later on,” added Mastantuono. “Blackmagic Cloud and remote grading just made it a breeze for us to collaborate from different locations, and project management became really easy. Using a Web Presenter 4K, we were even able to have live sessions where I was working from my home studio in New York, while the director was sitting in Nice Dissolve’s theater in Brooklyn, and the DP was watching a stream in Los Angeles.”

Having the entire film take place in an apartment presented some unique challenges for the team. Using a DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel, Mastantuono graded the film with consistency in mind. “Grading minimalist spaces with white walls is something that is often deceptively difficult for a colorist. Any tiny shift in color is immediately perceptible, so you have to get things perfect, otherwise, it feels like you’re in a different room all of a sudden. Overall, we created a naturalistic feel while very subtly using tones to enhance the emotion of various scenes, without ever drawing attention away from the performances.”

According to Kinnes, “This Closeness” demanded a careful and sensitive edit. “With such few characters in a claustrophobic environment, every cut has to guide the audience’s understanding of the space and the emotion of the moment,” he said. “This is the most dialogue heavy film I’ve worked on thus far, and I was excited by the challenge of working with such beautifully written conversation and strong performances.

“It was a joy to build out these scenes and find the rhythm of the film with Kit, not only in each sequence but in the structure of the entire project. Throughout our editing process, we worked to mold the performances in a way that not only highlighted the brilliance of the actors, but also mined the material to discover new emotional beats for the audience to latch onto.”

While Mastantuono and Varous regularly use DaVinci Resolve Studio, “This Closeness” was Kinnes’ first time using the software to edit a feature film. He was initially hesitant to learn a new system under such a tight timeframe but was able to dive right in due to DaVinci Resolve Studio’s ease of use.

“It’s always a bit nerve racking to jump into a new software, especially for such a large project, but I instantly felt at home,” said Kinnes. “I immediately found DaVinci Resolve to be extremely reliable and responsive, as well as aesthetically nice to work in. Its edit timeline felt smoother and more tactile to maneuver than any other software I’ve used.”

Varous concludes, “For us, Blackmagic Cloud has rewritten the rules of film finishing. It’s not about being in the same room anymore; it’s about being on the same page.”

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