“Blue Car,” first-time feature director Karen Moncrieff’s critical hit at Sundance 2002, was the first film bought out of the festival by indie rainmaker Miramax Studios, for a reported US$1.5 million dollars. Moncrieff said that Final Cut Pro and Cinema Tools were the “primary engines” of the film, which had a Final Cut Pro-based production workflow
“Blue Car” features an 18-year-old aspiring poet who draws support from her high-school English teacher while sharing a home with a shutdown mother, self-mutilating sister and the memory “of happier times with the father who abandoned them,” according to an
Apple Hot News article.
Producer David Waters designed flexible offline and online stations around two Power Mac G4s, an Aurora Igniter card, Final Cut Pro and Cinema Tools. These systems allowed him to shoot on film, edit on video and finish as needed when a distribution deal was struck.
“Final Cut Pro was an economical decision, but one of the nicest things for us is that we were getting to look at uncompressed materials,” said Moncrieff. “So it was beautiful the whole way.”
To qualify for Sundance, the production had submitted a Digital Beta online master. But to play the festival, they needed to ship a film print in just three weeks. Waters had set up for just such an eventuality, but a late decision by Moncrieff to insert an additional title sequence to the online version meant it no longer matched the offline version. The “true” online Digital Beta version lacked the edgecode numbers required to produce a lockbox copy for the negative cutters, but the offline DV version no longer reflected the final cut.
Using Cinema Tools and taking advantage of the QuickTime media format, Waters was able to reconnect his online and offline media and produce both a correct online version with edgecode numbers and a true cut list. The film print of “Blue Car” just beat the Sundance deadline. The film is scheduled to open in New York and Los Angeles in early November.