Video Gorillas, a developer of state-of-the-art media technology incorporating machine learning, neural networks, visual analysis, object recognition, and live streaming, announced today that Netflix’s November 2, 2018 theatrical and online release of “The Other Side of the Wind,” the final, previously unfinished film by iconic filmmaker Orson Welles, utilized Video Gorillas’ artificial intelligence (AI) powered Bigfoot Frame Compare technology in post.
Principal photography on “The Other Side of the Wind” started in 1970 and ended in 1976 and Welles continued to work on the film until his death in 1985, leaving behind detailed editing notes, a 42-minute work print, and a 3.5-hour reel of work-in-progress rough edits. In October 2014 Royal Road Entertainment and its founder, producer Filip Jan Rymsza, with the assistance of producer Frank Marshall, announced it had purchased the rights to complete and release “The Other Side of the Wind.” Netflix announced in March 2017 that it would be the film’s distributor, and the original negative, dailies and other footage arrived in Los Angeles to resume post-production with editor Bob Murawski, sound mixer Scott Millan, and negative cutter Mo Henry. Netflix had investigated several possible solutions to assist Royal Road in the conform process. This included Video Gorillas, whose cutting-edge AI and visual analysis technology could quickly provide the producers with crucial insight into what footage they had and potential challenges they would need to overcome in the final edit.
“Video Gorillas, like everyone who worked on this film, was driven by an all-encompassing desire to help maintain and represent the vision of Orson Welles,” said Video Gorillas CEO Jason Brahms. “Working on ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ was a once in a lifetime experience, and we couldn’t be prouder that our artificial intelligence-based Bigfoot technology contributed to the completion of this important film.”
Video Gorillas’ proprietary Bigfoot technology is used to automate manual-labor intensive processes like conform and compare. For compare it performs complex tasks at extremely high speeds, such as differential analysis of film frames that are unique, common, or have shifted or moved between two versions or cuts of a film or TV show, as well as identifying whether common frames are identical. For conform it enables automation by comparing the frames from a reference picture to those from film scans, and reconstructs the timeline using the sequences of frames that have the most points in common.
“The Other Side of the Wind” presented an unusual challenge to the filmmakers and Video Gorillas, because it was in many ways a hybrid of a film restoration and new release project. This resulted in Bigfoot being used by the producers in an equally unusual way: as a business intelligence tool. With more than 100 hours of 40-year-old footage in a range of formats, it was essential that the producers and editors quickly gain an understanding of what footage they had before kicking off the editing process.
“During the completion of ‘The Other Side of the Wind’ we were faced with a very unique challenge,” said producer Filip Jan Rymsza. “We had a 3.5-hour reference cut assembled from various sources, which had to be conformed back to 100 hours of scans, which consisted of 16mm and 35mm negatives and 35mm prints. Traditionally, an assistant editor would have over-cut the reference picture, but some of it was blown up from 16mm to 35mm, or blown up and repositioned, or flopped, or printed in black-and-white from color negative, which made it very difficult to match by eye. Without Video Gorillas’ AI technology finding these precise matches this would’ve taken a team of assistant editors several months. Video Gorillas completed this massive task in two weeks. They were a crucial partner in this extraordinary effort.”
Scanning the amassed film footage from “The Other Side of the Wind” resulted in more than 9 million frames. Since Bigfoot was initially CPU-based software, Video Gorillas developed an experimental GPU-version to enable one local machine in its Los Angeles office to do the job that would normally take 200-300 servers. After two days of ingesting the footage it took only three days of GPU time to analyze the film, and at peak load Bigfoot was analyzing 12 million frames per second. Other stats include:
Approximately 300,000 frames (3.5 hours) of reference material
Approximately 9,500,000 scan frames (100+ hours)
Over 2 trillion total frames compared
Database size of 704GB
Overall match rate (scans to reference picture) of 95%
Both 16mm and 35mm footage, and in some cases a combination of the two
In the end Video Gorillas was able to deliver the first set of Edit Decision Lists (EDLs) within two weeks of starting the project, and Bigfoot made it possible to identify both the correct shots to use based on Welles’ original reference edits and the highest quality scans available in cases where there were multiple options for the same sequence.
“The Other Side of the Wind” is a Royal Road Entertainment production and was originally produced by Welles and Les Films de l’Astrophore. Executive producers are Peter Bogdanovich, Jens Koethner Kaul, Beatrice Welles, Dominique Antoine, Carla Rosen-Vacher, Olga Kagan, and Jon Anderson. The film was directed, co-produced, and co-written by Welles. Starring John Huston, Robert Random, Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg, Lilli Palmer, Edmond O’Brien, Cameron Mitchell, Mercedes McCambridge, Norman Foster, Paul Stewart, Dennis Hopper, and co-writer Oja Kodar, the satirical “The Other Side of the Wind” focuses on a Hollywood director who comes out of retirement to complete a groundbreaking film. It utilizes storytelling techniques which were uncommon at the time, including mockumentary style, color and black and white photography, and film-within-a-film.
The finished version of “The Other Side of the Wind” had its world premiere at the 75th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2018, and was released theatrically and online by Netflix on November 2, 2018.
About Video Gorillas
Video Gorillas is a media-focused product and services company that develops state-of-the-art video technology incorporating machine learning, neural networks, visual analysis, object recognition, and live streaming. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles with engineering based in Kiev. For more information visit: http://www.videogorillas.com.