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Lake Baikal 4K documentary deploys Mistika technology
On location for "Baikal" (image from RSS Production).
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Referred to as “The Blue Heart of Siberia,” Lake Baikal is the deepest lake on earth and magically lures different cultures to coexist and fuse peacefully within its realm of beauty. Moscow-based RSS Production set out to capture the essence of this unique area in the documentary film “Baikal” directed by Alexander Dukhon. The portrayal was entirely produced and post produced in 4K native Stereo 3D using SGO’s Mistika technology at RSS Studios. Post involved editing, color grading, sound design and CG and took two months to complete. Native stereoscopic 3D optimization was accomplished in Mistika by Daniel Ovrutsky.

“The visionary technology we now have at our disposal in productions such as these plays a vital part in exposing viewers to the beauty of stunningly remote locations such as this ancient Siberian lake, bringing intense clarity like never before.” stated director Dukhon, “Our aim is to make Baikal the first of many future documentary series dedicated to awe-inspiring places on our planet, and at the same time using the world’s most innovative technologies, such as Mistika, which contribute enormously to enrich our work.”

RSS Production invested in Mistika in 2013 predominantly for color grading and finishing. Mistika was put straight to work on various projects including blockbuster Stalingrad, directed by Fedor Bondarchuk. It was heralded as Russia’s first movie ever to be completely produced with Stereo 3D technology and digitally re-mastered into the immersive IMAX 3D format.

Baikal’s filming commenced in February last year with eight adventurous RSS Production film crew members embarking on a gruelling ten-day trip through the Lake Baikal region. Located in central Asia, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996, and also contains approximately twenty percent of the globe’s unfrozen fresh surface water. The shoot took place in just seven days in extreme weather conditions of minus thirty degrees Celsius with few sunlight hours over the short winter days. The team made their way along the lake’s western coast, visiting Olkhon Island and Ulan-Ude, the capital of the Republic of Buryatia in Russia.

Baikal’s footage was shot using RED Epics and Stereotec 3D rigs, including RSS Production’s unique set-up on a small sized sightseeing helicopter for aerial footage. “This approach makes filming native stereoscopic 3D aerials much easier, avoiding the need to use large vehicles with massive stabilization systems, and reduces costs as well.” noted Dukhon. In addition, the soundtrack music was especially written and composed from scratch and produced exclusively for the film. It was creatively intertwined into the sound design to reflect the eerie atmosphere of Lake Baikal’s land and spirit. The film warmly depicts the human element in a sub-zero and unearthly landscape by sharing endearing stories of the local people whose hearts belong to it.