Grading Quantum Break


Juan Ignacio TV-Bay Magazine
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Developed by Remedy Entertainment, published by Microsoft Studios and produced by Lifeboat Productions, the sci-fi game Quantum Break is an interactive and integrated live-action TV show that features actual characters chosen by the players game choices.

Available for Xbox One and Microsoft Windows users, Quantum Break follows protagonist Jack Joyce attempting to save the world with his time manipulation powers. Due to the multiple outcomes of the game over a series of events and time scales, extensive post-production work had to take place in order to retain consistency with the story throughout the television show.

Juan Ignacio, an experienced SGO Mistika operator, worked as a colourist and Stereo 3D Supervisor at the prestigious Bad Robot and now owns his own studio, LightBender. Juan used SGOs Mistika toolkit to overcome any challenges that Quantum Breaks unique format of television brought to the shows postproduction process. The LightBender studio has three Mistikas that are used for a variety of projects, however this was the first time Juan and his team worked on such a unique gaming project.

As the VFX Supervisor and colourist on the project, Juan built a team of over forty people in three different countries. The project uniquely relied heavily on the gameplay of the user in an active timeline of events. There isnt one set story line in Quantum Break so it required a great deal of VFX, very complex visuals, and a huge amount of accuracy. It took Lifeboat productions approximately eight months to deliver the final cut, using Mistika to review VFX and serve as a hub for conforming and versioning.

Using Mistika helped Juan create a more solid set of looks that made sense from the very beginning and were intimately connected with the videogame itself. One of the trickiest parts of the project was the freedom of choice of the player as they have to face decisions. Those decisions would affect each episode of the show they will see and some of these could potentially be very dramatic changes. Using Mistika helped re-conform swiftly as it allowed Juan to go through chunks of the four episodes with all options open, cutting them all in together at the end. Mistika allows for a full timeline with the main narrative displayed alongside all the different variations making it easy to render all together. Mistika also allowed Juan to trace each episode back to before they had the final episode, making the re-conform process really easy as it then didnt take a lot of time.

A challenge was presented to Juan and the team at Lifeboat Productions as Quantum Break was shot on Alexa XT, using the latest firmware in ProRes 4444 XQ files, however the Mistika did not support this file type at the time. Juan requested from SGO that they developed the support for the files within the system. In a couple of weeks, the 16bit TIFF files were then created for the VFX from the original ProRes 4444 XQ files, since ProRes XQ is a 12-bit format.

Alongside its speed, Juan chose Mistika as part of LifeBoat Productions toolkit because of the technical freedom and creativity it allows. Mistika works with all its tools in customisable ways for a fully artistic purpose, not tied up into rigid structures, making it the most versatile tool around.


Tags: iss121 | grading | quantum vbreak | remedy entertainment | vfx | mistika | Juan Ignacio
Contributing Author Juan Ignacio

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