Article Overview

FINAL FRAME helps bring The Cove to the Screen

The Cove

Oscar winning documentary The Cove follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers and free divers in a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Japan, where they uncover a horrifying microcosm of devastating ecological crimes; a massive slaughter of more than 20,000 dolphins and porpoises every year and the subsequent sale of their mercury tainted meat. The unforgettable story of The Cove, directed by renowned photographer Louie Psihoyos and produced by Paula DuPré Pesmen and Fisher Stevens, is inspiring audiences worldwide to take action. The film puts viewers in the water and in the drama with the filmmakers with breathtaking impact.

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The Cove is the first nomination and win for Louie Psihoyos. It was edited by award-winning editor Geoffrey Richman.

Utilising state-of-the-art techniques, ingeniously camouflaged and planted equipment, the production purchased Sony PDW-F350L, HDR-SR1 cameras, thermal imaging, and night-vision cameras. Some of the footage was also shot from unmanned aerial drones and a blimp equipped with a remote-controlled camera. Sony HVR-A1U HDV cameras were used where the filmmakers had to stay lightweight, as well as Sony HVR-Z1U for the covert underwater filming. The team began shooting in 2005 with most of the scenes shot in Taiji, Japan.

In December 2008, Psihoyos and Fisher arrived at Final Frame Post with their edited documentary, ready to create the DI for the film, which premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. They had an amazing story in the can, along with an extensive amount of underwater, night, and espionage-heavy footage. “The Cove is one the most moving documentaries I’ve ever worked on. It is full of beautiful, jaw-dropping imagery, terrifying shots, angry crowd scenes and intriguing footage,” noted Final Frame Post Co-Founder and Senior Colourist Will Cox. “It is a call to action and a spy thriller at the same time while also a gorgeous testimony to the natural world. However, we had a challenge ahead of us. The very nature of shooting underwater is an extremely changeable, malleable situation. Coupled with its innovative acquisition methodologies, action footage, and the dramatic nature of the cinematography, there was significant work to be done in colour grading and finishing the film.” It was up to Cox to make the images everything they could be, pulling clarity out of murky waters, poorly lit interiors, exteriors, and news-style production while doing service to this important story. Digital Vision’s Nucoda Film Master played a pivotal role in Final Frame’s successful finish for the film.

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The Cove premiered at the 2009 Sundance

“The tools of the Film Master colour grading and finishing solution was critical in my ability to create these images and we needed an integrated toolset to finish the film on a very short deadline,” continued Will. “The bulk of the footage was shot at 59.94 and needed to be converted to 23.98. The documentary also draws on a large quantity of archive footage that had to be incorporated into the overall look and feel of the story. It was imperative that we were able to work on this project in one place at one time and the Film Master provided us with the tools to do so.”

Martin Bennett, VP Worldwide Marketing for Digital Vision, noted “When The Cove premiered at the 2009 Sundance with rave reviews we knew that this was an important story and we were honoured to play a role in its success. Will Cox and the Final Frame Post team consistently work on interesting and important documentaries; we look forward to working with them in their ongoing work supporting important filmmakers and their stories. We congratulate Louis Psihoyos, Fisher Stevens, Paula DuPre Pesmen and their entire team of brave and brilliant filmmakers.”

The Crew

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