Award-winning post houses Company 3 (CO3) and EFILM joined forces to provide Eon Productions' newest James Bond feature Skyfall–the first digitally-shot film in the franchise–with a complete, integrated workflow, ensuring consistency from dailies through to digital intermediate (DI). Based on this model, the companies have branded their collaborative location service as EC3, which leverages the technology and personnel of both post houses.

Starring Daniel Craig as Bond, Skyfall is directed by Sam Mendes (Revolutionary Road, Jarhead, Road to Perdition) and shot by Roger Deakins, ASC, BSC (True Grit) on ARRI Alexa in the camera's ARRIRAW format. Deakins, who has worked exclusively with EFILM for many years, including on his first digitally-shot feature, In Time, wanted to continue his collaboration with the company for the DI phase of Skyfall Company 3 in London teamed with EFILM to provide dailies color grading and a rigorous pipeline to maintain the integrity of the color metadata during the editorial and VFX stages, where such workflows can break down.

"I always enjoy working with EFILM, not only for the quality of their work but for their enormous support," says Roger Deakins. "They become a partner in the film making process and work with us to make the film as best as possible. All movies create challenges and this was no exception with Skyfall. I was impressed that EFILM, with its British counterparts, was able to offer their usual support and exceptional service in the UK."

"All of us at CO3 London were excited to be part of the Bond franchise's first foray into digital cinematography," says Patrick Malone, Head of Digital Intermediate at Company 3 in London. "We worked hard to meet the filmmakers' exacting standards and by all accounts it has been a great success." 

During production, the ARRI RAW files were captured to Codex drives via T-link connection. EC3 set up temporary dailies suites for the project in London and subsequently in Turkey when shooting moved there, so Deakins could be in constant contact with dailies colorist Marc Lulkin to get the images to look the way he intended. The resulting grading information generated on set combined with the timing adjustments made in the suite was then applied to the offline media delivered to editorial as well as the viewing copies created every day for review by the director and cinematographer. 

Company 3 and EFILM built packages of custom look-up tables (LUTs) and provided calibration services so that everyone who worked with the images could view them identically, regardless of differences in the color space and display technology they used. This helped ensure all members of the post production team were working to achieve the same vision throughout the editorial and VFX steps. 

Meanwhile, Company 3 de-bayered the ARRIRAW files and transcoded the imagery to DPX files, with the CDL metadata remaining intact, to be augmented or revised during the final DI, which was done under Deakins' supervision by colorists Mitch Paulson and Adam Glasman at Company 3's London location.

"We have always enjoyed collaborating with Roger," relates Kevin Dillon, General Manager of EFILM and EVP, Deluxe Creative Services, "but Skyfall was especially rewarding as we were able to bring our great resources from Company 3 London and EFILM Los Angeles together to provide a single workflow solution from dailies to DI."