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PICTURE MILL CREATES CURTAIN CALL FOR 'DREAMGIRLS'

February 21, 2007
PICTURE MILL CREATES CURTAIN CALL FOR 'DREAMGIRLS'

The project came to Picture Mill through Dreamgirls' picture editor Virginia Katz, ACE (Kinsey, Gods and Monsters), who had worked with the studio on Jet Li's Fearless in 2006.

"[Director] Bill Condon had a very specific idea about that transition out of the last scene of the movie and into the titles," says Picture Mill art director David Clayton. "His idea was to end the movie with the title song; then begin the end sequence with a driving instrumental version of one of the show stoppers, 'I Love You, I Do,' underneath the picture as the title lets loose with a sequence of almost blinding kinetics."

To facilitate the transition, Picture Mill created a deep 3D background animation of soft-focus circular shapes that float through the screen and the titles. Katz and her editorial team supplied Picture Mill with a comprehensive reel of select takes for each actor, along with additional wild clips from the movie. To show as many looks as possible of each actor as quickly as possible, a design decision was made to use double and triple-split screens that slid in and out of frame.

Clayton notes that split-screen animation was done within Final Cut Pro's motion keyframer. "This allowed our editor, Kye Krauter, to work very quickly and focus on the creative side of the edit instead of having to export shots in and out of another program. For each character's ID shots, we used garbage mattes and some light compositing within Final Cut to achieve just the right look."

Condon later asked Picture Mill to expand the concept to include many of the key below-the-line players on the production, including DP Tobias Schliessler, costume designer Sharen Davis, editor Katz, production designer John Myrhe, and choreographer Fatima Robinson. Each discipline required acquiring elements, such as costume sketches, production art, and conceptual designs, that were then inter-cut with the final shots from the movie.

Additional Picture Mill credits included creative director William Lebeda, executive producer Ty Van Huisen, producer Ryan Mosley, designer Grant Nellessen, 3D animator Bryan Thombs, 2D animation/compositing artist Josh Novak, and 2D animators Chad Bonanno and Akemi Abe.

Visit www.picturemill.com to view the titles.