Grading and mastering Billy Lynn – the ultimate challenge
From Ang Lee’s creative vision to the technical implementation
To tell the story of a soldier who returns to the USA damaged by his time in Iraq, director Ang Lee tore up the cinema rule book. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk was shot at 120 frames-per-second (fps), with high dynamic range and extended colour gamut, and in 3D.
For those fortunate enough to see it in its native format, the result is startling. Far from the sense of distance that 24fps film creates, this puts you right in the action. It is not that this is a window into the world of the story: you are absolutely there, bullet casings flying past your face.
This was Ang Lee’s vision, but to make it a reality Sony Pictures called in some experimental technical and creative support. Canadian Ben Gervais has been a camera assistant in his time, as well as a broadcast engineer and post-production technician. Today he is a workflow consultant, and on Billy Lynn he is credited as Technical Supervisor.
“When going out on the frontier, you need the best survival equipment available, and we had it with Baselight.”