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Shunji Iwai Uses DaVinci Resolve Studio for Grading/VFX on ‘KYRIE’

Blackmagic Design has announced that DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, colour grading, visual effects (VFX) and audio post production software was used for grading and VFX on Shunji Iwai’s feature film “KYRIE.” Director Iwai himself completed the grading, while VFX was handled by Yuji Tanaka.

Collaborating with music producer Takeshi Kobayashi, the film is another music-focused movie, following on the heels of “Swallow Tail” and “All About Lily Chou-Chou.” The story revolves around Kyrie, a street musician who can only express herself through singing, and depicts the encounters and farewells of four men and women. AiNA THE END, former member of the girl group BiSH and now active as a solo artist, makes her cinematic debut in the lead role and also contributes to the film’s soundtrack. Popular actors including Suzu Hirose, Hokuto Matsumura and Hana Kuroki are also featured.

“When I was writing the novel that inspired this film, I learned about AiNA and continued writing the story with her in mind,” said Iwai.

Set in Miyagi, Osaka, Hokkaido, and Tokyo, the film unfolds in locations significant to the director, Iwai. The shoot took approximately five months, spanning 42 days. “During the shoot, I had to deal with various challenges such as schedule, location issues and budget constraints. I also handled the lighting myself this time. On the other hand, I allowed the actors more freedom without providing detailed explanations. To save shooting time and avoid burdening the actors with repetitive tasks, we shot scenes with multiple cameras. Although we decided on a certain tone during shooting, we tried to keep it as plain as possible. I avoided using filters on set because once applied, there’s no going back. If I wanted to use a filter effect, I processed it digitally,” explained Iwai.

KYRIE Director Shunji Iwai.

In post production, Iwai graded the film by himself, and VFX work was done by Yuji Tanaka. “I started using DaVinci Resolve Studio for myself about two years ago. Generally, I adjust using tone curves. Even if I have an idea of how I want the colours, explaining it to someone else is quite challenging. It’s faster for me to do the grading myself,” Iwai shared.

Regarding VFX work, Tanaka noted, “We had around 90 cuts of VFX using Fusion. Many of these are details that viewers might not notice, such as digital removal.”

For example, as the film spans 13 years in the relationships of the characters, there were instances where nonexistent buildings appeared in scenes. Tanaka mentioned, “In the Osaka scene, I removed the Abeno Harukas building, which should not have been present during the era depicted in the scene. Conversely, in the Shinjuku Station South Exit scene, which was shot around 2am with no one around, I added more people in the scene.”

Talking about a scene where Kyrie is pregnant, Tanaka explained, “I created a mesh with Grid Warp to represent the pregnant belly, stretched it and used Paint to blur it. We tried to make it look as natural as possible, avoiding a CGI like appearance.”

On Fusion, Tanaka said, “Since Fusion is node based, it’s easy to redo or make corrections in the middle of the process. You can keep parts in the node tree and change the order of connecting them, making corrections much easier than a layer based application. It also provides a clearer overview of your work.”

“DaVinci Resolve not only excelled in grading but also played a vital role for corrections using the Fusion page. It allowed us to achieve things that might not have been possible in the past, which was great,” concluded Iwai.


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