Blackmagic Design has announced that new Australian horror film “Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism” was completed using DaVinci Resolve Studio for colour correction, editing, visual effects (VFX) work and audio editing. This included extensive use of the DaVinci Neural Engine’s AI features, Fairlight Desktop Audio Editor console, DaVinci Resolve Mini Panels and DaVinci Resolve Speed Editor keyboard.
“Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism” was directed by Nick Kozakis and included Supervising Sound Editor Benni Knop and Colourist Timothy Whiting. The film was shot in regional Victoria, Australia against the stunning landscape of Daylesford and Hepburn Springs over 24 days.
Inspired by true events, faith and sanity are put to the test when a devout Christian begins to suspect his mentally ill wife is demonically possessed. “Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism” is a terrifying look at a woman, played by Georgia Eyers, who is tormented between science and faith. After being pushed by her husband, played by Dan Ewing, to seek treatment from a group of religious zealots, a ruthless exorcist, played by Tim Pocock attempts to save her soul by putting her through hell.
The film cycles between well lit, relaxing locations to frightening and fog shrouded wilderness and dramatic ritualistic violence. The look, feel and pacing of the film was essential for its success, and to ensure their vision was captured correctly the filmmakers decided to use DaVinci Resolve Studio.
DaVinci Resolve Studio was used for colour correction, editing, audio editing with the Fairlight page and VFX work using the Fusion page.
“With Resolve, having all of the post features in a single program was a lifesaver. Most of us working on the film’s post production have been working with Resolve for years, and it’s amazing how every year it keeps improving, all while giving customers the updates for free,” Whiting said.
DaVinci Neural Engine’s AI features were used throughout the post production process. DaVinci Neural Engine uses state of the art deep neural networks and machine learning, along with AI to power features such as facial recognition, object detection, smart reframing, speed warp retiming, super scale upscaling, auto colour and colour matching.
Some of the DaVinci Neural Engine’s AI features that were used with the film were Magic Mask, which removed the necessity for intricate rotoscoping and keying, Speed Warp for slow motion effects, and Object Removal for covering up moving objects in an otherwise static shot.
Whiting explained, “We used the Magic Mask a lot. Things like automatically rotoing a bible on a table to brighten and reveal it, or automatically generating hold out mattes on foreground moving vehicles in order to remove vehicles behind them. One day we lost light, so the Magic Mask was used to select the actors’ faces and brighten them up. In another scene we were hours from the city and any rental house, shooting outside by a lake. In a freak moment the wind caught some black material and blew it into the camera, knocking it over and smashing most of our ND filters. Due to both lost time, weather changes and lack of NDs, we had exposure issues in the scene. We used Magic Mask to select the actors and change the exposure of foreground and background elements.”
The Object Removal was particularly helpful to Whiting to remove facial blemishes and objects like drones and non period cars. The feature allowed him to detect and track objects in a shot without manual rotoscoping. This allowed the filmmakers to isolate difficult to mask elements for colour grading and other effects.
“Shooting on location in country Victoria created its own challenges that we had to manage in post, including changing light and weather conditions, errant cars and people in frame, as well as in unexpected plague of insects. Without Resolve’s Object Removal and object tracking, we would have lost many hours dealing with repetitive tasks instead of creativity,” said Whiting. “Resolve’s AI seriously saved us days of work and I was able to show Nick and DP Carl Allison what fixes were possible on set, so we knew we had what we needed in the edit bay.”
Fairlight’s Role in Audio Editing
ADR recording, as well as sound editing for the entire film, was accomplished by Knop, who used DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Fairlight page along with the Fairlight Desktop Audio Editor and Fairlight Desktop Console.
Knop explained how Fairlight products helped him complete the film, “We used Fairlight for sound editing the whole film and it was incredible. The Fairlight Desktop Audio Editor was so quick to move around the film and edit clips; it was less fatiguing on my hands than using a mouse and keyboard and it was also way more fun! I also used the Fairlight Desktop Console for mixing the film and with its 12 faders I had all the control I needed.”
Knop continued, “I love Fairlight’s clip effects. Being able to add VST straight onto each individual clip, including things like iZotope RX for cleaning dialogue, EQing the clip, adding or reducing clip gain, and I could also do all thing with the Fairlight Desktop Audio Editor. I also love the ADR features in Fairlight. The fact that it’s built in natively and so easy to use. Cueing up your ADR and having the dialogue script on the screen with cues makers for the actor is just amazing.
“Fairlight has progressed into an amazing DAW so quickly, and even since we finished this film the upgrades have been mind blowing with the new AI noise reduction and vector based automation. The team at Blackmagic Design listens to their users and are constantly pushing the boundaries. They are adding things we didn’t know we needed, but also taking our feedback on board.”
“Godless: The Eastfield Exorcism” is available in North America on Tubi and is one of Australia’s first ever Tubi Originals. The film’s Australian premiere will be at the 2023 Melbourne International Film Festival. The film has also been picked up by XYZ Films for release in North America, released in Canada with Elevation Pictures and picked up in Australia and New Zealand by Umbrella Entertainment. Follow @eastfieldexorcismmovie on Instagram for updates on the film.