“We will never know our full potential unless we push ourselves to find it. It’s this self discovery that inevitably takes us to the wildest places on earth.”
Prior to the screening of the film, we were introduced to Dolby's PRM-4200 Professional Reference Monitor which was used for the film's final color grading. This monitor represents the very best in image quality, sporting a wide dynamic range of colors augmented by some of the deepest black levels I have ever seen. It's no surprise this monitor has become the choice for color correctors working with digital camera technology.
The film's sound mix was a collaboration between Skywalker Sound and Dolby who provided the 7.1 TrueHD lossless soundtrack for its theatrical and Blu-ray release.
After a cocktail reception that included demonstrations of Dolby's newest mobile technologies, we were ushered into their state-of-the-art screening room where we were welcomed by the company's President & CEO, Kevin Yeaman (left). Next up was Stuart Bowling, Global Technical Marketing Manager of Cinema who walked the audience through the history of the screening room and an on-screen tour depicting the positioning of the speakers throughout the theater that will provide for the film's 7.1 surround presentation.
What a better way to introduce the film than to bring out its director, Curt Morgan, who began a career in snowboarding, but after several injuries, turned his sights towards capturing the sport on film. These days, aligned with Brain Farm Digital Cinema (a company he founded), Morgan has become one of the most popular sport cinematographers, who along with Jared Slater, recently won an Emmy for their work on National Geographic's Great Migrations.
For the next 115 minutes we found ourselves completely engrossed in the digital presentation of The Art of Flight.
I was quite captivated by this film that provides more style than substance. I mean, visually, The Art of Flight is an amazing watch even for people like myself who aren't into snowboarding. The cinematography is just jaw-dropping incredible as viewers are taken to treacherous terrains inside some of the most remote regions on Earth located inside South America, Alaska and British Columbia. The film showcases the talents of snowboarders Travis Rice, Scotty Lago, Bjorn Leines, Mark Mcmorris and Eero Niemela who jump from helicopter to riding the snowscape, showing off an amazing amount of "tricks" that are completely mind-blowing.
Unfortunately, for those of us who are unfamiliar with snowboarding and the names attached to this film, very little recognition is gained at its end. There is a total disconnect to the talent. No backstories. Nothing to make us more familiar to who they are. When we are introduced, their faces are hidden beneath ski masks as their names are briefly flashed before us. It's impossible to tell one snowboarder from another as these miraculous stunts are performed. On the other hand, for pure entertainment value, The Art of Flight is an awe-inspiring, adrenaline-pumping documentary that manages to captivate its audience with its stunning imagery. I walked away from this film with newly found respect for a sport I never knew existed.
This Blu-ray release is stunningly beautiful both visually and sonically. Mixed in Dolby 7.1 TrueHD, the film pushes the limits of the best sound technology currently available. From the film's ear-splitting techno rock soundtrack to the whispering winds of the Alaskan landscape, there obvious attention given to bringing out the smallest nuances of sound. Watching The Art of Flight in Dolby's screening room in 7.1 was nothing short of being a completely immersive experience. However, the limitations I have found watching the Blu-ray on my home 5.1 system have finally convinced me to upgrade to 7.1.
Following the presentation we were treated to a filmmaker's Discussion and Q&A that included the following individuals:
Curt Morgan: Director, Producer and Editor, Brain Farm Digital Cinema
Charlie Rosene: Executive Producer, Moving Images, Red Bull Media House
Chad Jackson: Executive Producer, Brain Farm Digital Cinema
Eric Hansen: Postproduction Supervisor, Brain Farm Digital Cinema
Juan Peralta: Recording Mixer, Skywalker Sound
John Loose: Senior Manager, AV and Media Production, Dolby Laboratories
Jurgen Scharpf: Rerecording Mixer, Dolby Laboratories
Carey Burns: Colorist, Spy Post
Mark "Lando" Landvik: Athlete/Actor
Clark Fyans: Lead Guide and Field Producer, Brain Farm Digital Cinema
Angus McGilpin: Creative Director, Dolby Laboratories
You can view the entire discussion panel video as well as an exclusive interview by clicking on the links below
The Art Of Flight
Exclusive Interview with Juan Peralta
Rerecording Mixer, Skywalker Sound