As most movie audiences are aware, the entertainment industry has gone through a digital evolution. From digital cameras to digital post production technology, innovative filmmakers are now provided the cost-effective tools to create high-concept, big-screen quality films, independent of the Hollywood studio system. With global businesses becoming more cost conscious, so too is the motion picture industry. The digital technology being used on Nicholas of Myra is affordable to most filmmakers. "I think a majority of creators and producers would agree that the less money we spend on technology, the more we can spend on story and creativity," stated Nicholas of Myra Producer-Director Gerald Hartke. "Whether you spend two-hundred million dollars to make a movie, or a couple million, you need to give the audience their money's worth. With Nicholas of Myra, we aim to give them even more than they're expecting." Hartke believes the larger audience also longs for a return to classic cinema.
Utilizing the advanced Ultra-HDmax, 4k digital cinematography and post production process that Gerald first began developing back in 2004, the creative team behind Nicholas of Myra has been able to achieve a rich, eye-catching look that will be indistinguishable from traditional motion-picture film to the general audience. His proprietary process was developed to give Nicholas of Myra the look of classic epic films from the 50's and 60's that used expensive celuloid processes, like Technicolor. For Hartke, the advent of digital motion picture technology was the culmination of years spent working with analog video. "Back in the late 90's, I had read that the Sony company was committed to developing digital video cameras to be used by George Lucas on his new Star Wars films," Hartke noted.
"Not only was that achieved, but Sony also acquired a ground-breaking video software platform, " he added. " And soon after, developed it into a professional non-linear editing application." Now that the industry is well into the digital media age, Hartke can't think of another company that has impacted digital filmmaking as much as Sony. "We've been utilizing Sony technology on our production from day one," he stated. "If it weren't for Sony pushing the envelope with digital cinema for George Lucas almost two decades ago, I probably would never have gotten the chance to make Nicholas of Myra." Executive Producer Thomas Mallare felt that a mutually beneficial opportunity presented itself for their production company and for Sony.
"Based on Jerry's innovative use of their hardware and software on our film, I suggested we approach Sony and try to work with them," said Mallare. Michael Bryant, Director of Product Marketing for Sony Creative at the time, agreed that this was a unique opportunity for their company. "We were extremely excited to hear about the production of the film Nicholas of Myra," said Bryant. "We see this film endeavor as an inspiration and a bellwether opportunity for Sony."
Using all of the new technology available to them, the production team has been able to recreate historic scenery and lanscapes from two separate time periods, as well as facilitate a raging Mediterranean seastorm and other awe-inspiring sequences that would otherwise be too cost-prohibitive to manage in practical environments. Another ambitious step the team took was to become the first feature film production in history to capture 12k digital motion picture images -- equivilent to IMAX 70mm film -- for several establishing shots in the movie.
Thanks to the working relationship with Sony, the Nicholas of Myra creative team has been able to exceed what is typically expected of an independent production. From scene cutting and color grading to blue-screen and green-screen compositing -- from sound effects recording and mixing to Dolby Digital surround sound mastering -- the team has been able to do a majority of the post work in-house and will deliver a final digital print that meets all of the present DCI (Digital Content Initiative) specifications for theatrical distribution.