Prime Focus World was brought in by Bhansali Productions and Viacom 18 Motion Pictures to deliver color grading and stereo conversion services for Padmaavat, and PFW Stereo Supervisor Jimmy Philip and Stereo Producer Bakshad Amrolia worked closely with DoP Sudeep Chatterjee and director Sanjay Leela Bhansali to deliver PFW’s contribution to the film.
Utilizing Prime Focus' proprietary View-D™ process and proven production pipeline, the cutting-edge conversion of Padmaavat hit 3D theater screens on January 25, 2018. Involving meticulous crafting and attention to detail by Prime Focus' global team of artists, the 3D release delivered a wonderfully immersive experience for the audience.
"We wanted to try 3D with Guzaarish and we’d also tested a few shots for Bajirao Mastani which looked fantastic but it eventually didn't happen. Padmaavat in 3D was always an idea and finally sometime in July-August, we got a nod for 3D conversion. Although a major apprehension was that there was very less time and whether we'd be able to pull it off. There are many things that can go wrong during 3D conversion - ideas can shift, dimensions can shift, with one character appearing bigger than the other. So naturally, a lot of work was put into the conversion of the film,” said DoP Sudeep Chatterjee. "One of the brief we shared with them was to align the depth and the parallax with the drama on screen because more than the technicalities, it was the aesthetics that mattered on Padmaavat."
Prime Focus's approach was to avoid heavy clean-plating to preserve the integrity of the photography, introducing a subtle depth and dimension to the movie. Stereographer Jimmy Philip said, "We played the depth sensitively, using it to enhance the narrative arcs of the movie. The conversion was designed to complement the photography – to enhance the beautiful images captured on camera by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his Director of Photography Sudeep Chatterjee.'
A further challenge of the 3D conversion was the size and scale of the scenes captured, including Mongolian fight scene, Jauhar sequence and the climactic battle between Ranveer and Shahid. These scenes required lots of attention to detail and heavy rotoscopy in order to allow the View-D™ artists to create the necessary depth.
"There are sparks and embers emitting from the torch and the bonfire. We spent a lot of time placing and animating these embers, really filling up the volume on screen to create an especially immersive experience," said Jimmy. "There are lots of 3D moments in this scene, with floating embers, dust drifting across the battlefield and arrows flying towards camera – it's a great sequence and a fittingly dramatic climax for the film. We leveraged our extensive elements library to recreate most of these FX elements, while also carrying out additional comping to enhance the overall effect."
In addition to the battle scene, PFW delivered sequences throughout the film including the introductory jungle sequence.
"The jungle sequence was really complicated," said Jimmy. "Due to the nature of the shots, the layers of vines, the texture of the woods and the character of Padmavati dancing around in the foreground, this sequence required an amazing amount of roto and paint work. Over 2000 stereo shots we delivered for this show were completed in a tight timeframe of just 2 months."
Prime Focus also delivered grading services for the film. Colorist Ashirwad Hadkar worked with Sudeep to employ a series of distinct looks to mark the distinction between the two different worlds - like one of Khilji which was dark and rustic and the world of Padmavati and Ratan Singh which was romantic, pure and opulent.
"It was a genuine honour to work on Padmaavat with one of the true masters of modern Indian cinema. Prime Focus welcomed the many technical challenges Padmaavat presented with open arms, while ensuring that we do justice to the film's grand vision and scale from a stereoscopic standpoint. Out intentions were to utilise 3D to serve the story, emphasising situations, characters and plot whilst reaching a new level of post conversion quality,” said Neeraj Sanghai, Business Head, Prime Focus Limited. "We are thrilled to see the overwhelming response to 3D from the audience which, aided by higher ticket prices for 3D screenings,[ has helped the makers maximise their returns significantly."
Click here to read more about our work on Padmaavat.