POST LAB IO x
Future Pictures

The Devil's in the Details

How Post Lab IO sent Late Night With The Devil back to the 70s’

Director
Colin and Cameron Cairnes
PRODUCer
Mat Govoni
POST-PRODUCER
Darius Family
STAKEHOLDERS
Image Nation, Umbrella Entertainment, AGC, Screen Australia, VicScreen

Services

Full post-production spanning 12+ months:

  • Architecture & Management
  • Dailies & Data Backup
  • Multi-site Remote Editorial
  • Conform & 4K Grade
  • 4K DI / Picture Finishing
  • Visual Effects
  • Sound Post-Production
  • Masters & Deliverables

Festivals

  • SXSW 
  • Fantasia Film Festival
  • Sydney Film Festival
  • Melbourne International Film Festival 
  • New Zealand International Film Festival
  • Sitges Film Festival
  • BFI London Film Festival
  • Adelaide Film Festival
  • Chicago International Film Festival
  • Toronto After Dark Film Festival

Distribution

International Sales
North America & Europe
Australia

"You know the saying, 'I felt transported'? That's exactly how I felt as part of the audience, watching the film. It's a credit to Post Lab IO’s work on the visuals and Emma's achievement in sound. Everyone was committed to making it true to that era's time and world. Everyone was on the same page; everyone just got it." -Colin Cairnes, Director

Mission

"Can you capture the unnerving essence of a 1970s horror whilst wielding the cutting-edge audio-visual prowess of today?" That was our challenge. Our mission? To craft a retro horror masterpiece that not only transports audiences back to the eerie ambience of a 1970s talk show but does so with the razor-sharp quality of modern cinema.

Outcome

Our endeavour culminated in a triumph that resonated across the industry. The film not only hit its aesthetic targets but also won critical acclaim. Our meticulous blend of period-specific visuals and contemporary sound design ensured the film struck a perfect balance between authenticity and modern cinematic excellence.

Impact

The project made waves on several fronts. For the audience, it was a blend of nostalgic horror and modern cinematic thrill, as evidenced by packed houses at prestigious festivals like SXSW, Fantasia Film Festival, and Melbourne International Film Festival. Critics, including luminaries like Stephen King and director Kevin Smith, lavished praise, with a stellar 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. This acclaim translated into commercial success, with IFC Films and Shudder securing major territory releases across North America, the U.K., and Ireland, including a sought-after theatrical release in the U.S.

Overview

A script that's been ten years in the making, crafted by the visionary duo Colin and Cameron Cairnes (Scare Campaign, 100 Bloody Acres).

The brothers had a clear vision: to create a "slightly dangerous, live television atmosphere" that would transport audiences back to the '70s —a time when satanic panic was the ultimate ratings booster.

Drawing inspiration from late-night talk show legends like Don Lane, Dick Cavett, and Johnny Carson, the directors aimed to craft a film that was as spooky as it was suspenseful. The film also delves into the grey area between science and belief, questioning the boundaries of our understanding in a way that leaves audiences both thrilled and thoughtful.

Off the back of a successful collaboration on feature film Lone Wolf, Mat Govoni called us in May 2021 to pitch the project “I’m working on another film, this one with the Cairnes Brothers. It's a horror in the form of a late-night talk show broadcast tape, we’ll be doing a studio shoot and it needs to look and smell like it was shot in the 70s.”

"We're all here to make something decent, to do meaningful work. It's always about finding the right fit in a new partnership, wondering, 'Are these guys on board? Are we on the same page?' Our experience with your team was affirming; it was about problem-solving and making it the best it can be. We have nothing but positive things to say about that experience." - Mat

An email with the finance plan shortly followed and we got to work crafting a post-production budget that would enable a meticulously crafted audio-visual experience that was as authentically '70s as disco and bell-bottoms, but with the crispness of modern cinema. 

Ah, the gap—the exhilarating, sometimes hair-pulling space where a director's dream meets the nitty-gritty of post-production. It's where the storyboard turns into a budget spreadsheet, and where our expertise turns challenges into cinematic gold.

So, you've got a decade-old script by Colin and Cameron Cairnes, directors who double as editors, and a producer, Mat Govoni, who's already a fan from our previous collaboration on Lone Wolf. Sounds like smooth sailing, right? Not when you're staring down a $400,000 budget and a 12-month timeline.

Dailies & Backup

In a world where everyone's trying to reinvent the wheel, we opted for simplicity. The goal was fast turnaround so that material could be reviewed ASAP. It's not about being flashy; it's about being efficient and effective.

Workflow: 

  • We used industry standard Silverstack XT to process camera cards onto redundant storage.
  • From there proxies were generated using Davinci Resolve, with an applied show look developed by colourist Nicholas Hower CSI. 
  • All material was archived to LTO tape and vaulted. 
  • Dailies previews were sent out via Frame IO
  • Silverstack daily reports sent out to the Studio.

Editorial

The Cairnes brothers are both Avid editors (not that kind of Avid), and naturally wanted to work from the comfort of their respective homes. We made this possible using a tool we’ve come to love, our secret weapon for remote collaboration… LucidLink.

You know that phrase “The future is now?”. Yeah, that's LucidLink. It’s like if Avid was owned by Atlassian and they were in the post-production business. 

With LucidLink, we had four edit systems (the brothers, an assistant, and our DI station) accessing the same media which appears locally on each computer as if they’re in the same facility. 

Workflow:

  • Premiere Pro
  • LucidLink

VFX

Meet Adam White, co-founder of Future Pictures and the Gandalf of VFX. With a background as both an editor and visual effects supervisor, Adam knows how to make the unreal look real. He led a small but mighty team of artists, including Dylan Perry, Greg Cooper, and Peter Leary, in creating the film's visual magic.

We set up a VFX shot tracking system in ClickUp, our go-to project management tool. But the real game-changer once again was LucidLink (see Remote Editing). Work-in-progress shots were rendered directly into LucidLink, enabling the Cairnes brothers to drop them straight into the edit. Revised renders would be overwritten, automatically updating the edit project. 

This process truly shined during finishing. Revisions to shots were automatically updated into the Digital Intermediate project in DaVinci Resolve. This allowed us to effortlessly render out new sound references bi-weekly in the weeks leading up to the final mix. The cherry on top? These new references also included updated grades, graphics, and titles.

In total, we had nearly 300 VFX shots to tackle. Post Lab IO handled 32 in-house, while the rest were expertly executed by Adam's freelance team. It was a collaborative dance of art and technology, all orchestrated to bring a devilishly good story to life.

Workflow:

  • After Effects
  • Mocha Pro
  • Houdini
  • 3DS Max
  • Photoshop
  • LucidLink (Sharing to Editorial)
  • SyncThing (Sharing between VFX team)

Colour

Ah, colour grading—the unsung hero of post-production. Meet Nicholas Hower, our senior colorist and the wizard behind the curtain. Inspired by late-night legends like Johnny Carson, Nicholas and cinematographer Matthew Temple set out to recreate that '70s analog broadcast vibe, but with a modern twist.

INSERT IMAGE OF NICK AND NICK QUOTE

“Nick's great… I could not imagine there being anyone a better colourist on this job. He clearly got what we were trying to set out to achieve. And he went to extreme lengths, I think to make that happen.”

Nicholas didn't just slap on some filters; he went full mad scientist. Partnering with Video Lab, a specialised video transfer company, they meticulously captured the spatial and temporal qualities of standard definition analog tape and NTSC broadcasting.

This wasn't just a simple colour correction; it was a deep dive into the physics of vintage video. They recorded thousands of colour patches to U-matic tape, which then formed the basis for a custom LUT (Look-Up Table).

Using ColourSpace software, this custom LUT was engineered to emulate the non-linear colour changes of analog tape. It was a labour-intensive process that required a keen eye and a deep understanding of both vintage and modern video technologies.

The result? A film that's a visual time machine, transporting audiences back to 1977 while keeping them firmly rooted in the now. And let's not forget how his meticulous work gave the VFX team the roadmap they needed to bring the devil himself to life, all on a shoestring budget and tight timeline.

Workflow

  • <<INSERT TOOLS >>

Sound Design

In a world where everyone's trying to reinvent the wheel, we opted for simplicity. The goal was fast turnaround so that material could be reviewed ASAP. It's not about being flashy; it's about being efficient and effective.

Workflow: 

  • We used industry standard Silverstack XT to process camera cards onto redundant storage.
  • From there proxies were generated using Davinci Resolve, with an applied show look developed by colourist Nicholas Hower CSI. 
  • All material was archived to LTO tape and vaulted. 
  • Dailies previews were sent out via Frame IO
  • Silverstack daily reports sent out to the Studio.

Press

Accolades

  • Endorsement tweet from Stephen King, calling it a "Must watch."
  • Kevin Smith described the film as "Rosemary's Baby meets Network" and said it "looks like it's literally shot in the '70s."
  • Best Screenplay - Sitges Film Festival 2023
  • Audience Award (Best International Feature) - Fantasia International Film Festival 2023
  • Best Feature Film (Gold) - Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2023
  • Best Lead Performance (David Dastmalchian) - Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2023
  • Best Screenplay - Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2023
  • Most Original Film - Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2023
  • Best Editing - Toronto After Dark Film Festival 2023

Credits

  • Digital Intermediate (such as assistant editors)
  • Editorial Department (including editors, assistant editors)
  • Sound Department (like sound designers, mixers)
  • Visual Effects Department (VFX artists, supervisors)
  • Stunts (coordinators, performers)
  • Camera and Electrical Department (camera operators, gaffers)

Thankyou :)

Thanks for checking out our case study! If you'd like to speak with us about how we can help enhance your next project, get intouch with us here: new-business@postlab.io

Links

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