/News 01.05.24

Cutting Edge Shines a Spotlight on Their Latest Feature Film Projects

Post-production studio Cutting Edge has kicked off 2024 with the US theatrical release of two major indie films, Land of Bad and Sleeping Dogs. Produced by the same production company and both starring lead actor Russell Crowe, Cutting Edge provided picture post services for both films.

Cutting Edge’s services included dailies, grade, online, VFX, mastering, and delivery. In addition, Cutting Edge also facilitated editorial hire on Sleeping Dogs.

“Working on a feature film is always exciting, but working on two feature films for the same production company was a high-octane and rewarding experience for the Cutting Edge team,” explains Marcus Bolton, Head of Features & Television at Cutting Edge. “We identified early on during our discussion with the Producers and the respective creative teams that it was essential to find efficiencies between the two films while also treating them as unique cinematic experiences with distinctive needs.”

Both projects were filmed in Australia with post-production based in Queensland and New South Wales, allowing Producers to utilize the Location Offset and relevant State Funding Agency Incentives for Production and Post-Production. This included support from Screen Queensland and VicScreen.

Land of Bad

Set in the South Philippines, Land of Bad is an action thriller that follows an Air Force drone pilot who supports a Special Operations team on a critical rescue mission.

Filmed on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia, under the guidance of the talented DOP Agustín Claramunt, Land of Bad was strategically shot to capture the essence of a warzone in Southeast Asia.

Cutting Edge was one of three vendors that worked on VFX shots integral to completing these scenes. Commencing work in July and delivering the final shots in October 2023, Cutting Edge was responsible for key elements including CGI planes featured in the final action scene.

Led by Cutting Edge’s VFX Producer Andrew Strouthos and VFX Supervisor Damien Thaller, the company’s VFX team undertook months of intricate work completing these sequences.

The team at Cutting Edge are not just post-production experts; they are wonderful collaborators, artists, and engineers who you truly enjoy working with. 

Their tireless contributions to our film were pivotal in bringing our vision to the screen. Their commitment, expertise, and enthusiasm made all the difference in an incredibly demanding environment.

William Eubank, Director, Land of Bad

“I was excited to hear Cutting Edge was in talks with William Eubank after collaborating with him on his last feature, Underwater,” explains Thaller. “William talked about creating the B1 [Bomber] in CGI and wanted to see some highly dramatic action shots that were tightly framed and focused on the engine burners as they ignited.”

One of the biggest challenges for the VFX team in executing these scenes was working within the parameters of the background environment plates.

Filmed from a helicopter, the plates were shot at speeds of 280 km/h; however, the CGI jet in the action sequence needed to achieve top speeds of 1500 km/ h. To make up the discrepancy, Cutting Edge rebuilt several background plates, augmenting and re-timing them to be faster and to fit with the film’s fast-paced action.

Instead of making the jet fit the plate, we made the plates fit the jet – a challenge our team happily threw themselves into.

Damien Thaller, VFX Supervisor 

Sleeping Dogs

Sleeping Dogs is an action thriller that tells the story of a former homicide detective suffering from memory loss who is trying to piece together and solve a decade-old case.

Like Land of Band, principal photography and post-production for Sleeping Dogs took place in Australia, spanning the three states of Queensland, New South Wales, and Victoria.

Working across state borders can present its share of challenges, and for that reason, the project’s workflow needed to be predetermined and mapped out carefully. This was achieved by Cutting Edge working closely with Post Supervisor Kath Raphael, the HODs, and the Creatives during preproduction to ensure there was a clear pathway from principal photography through to post and delivery.

Cutting Edge’s team say they were also fortunate to work with US director Adam Cooper for the first time, stating that Cooper’s collaborative approach made Sleeping Dogs a rewarding experience across the board.

Marcus and everyone at Cutting Edge are the cream of the crop.

Inasmuch as I was posting remotely from Los Angeles, they made the workflow effortless and easy and gave me and my team all the tools we needed to succeed and make Sleeping Dogs the very best it could be. 

As a first time director, you often don’t know what you don’t know — from color grading to VFX — and the expert craftspeople at Cutting Edge were thoughtful in helping to guide me in achieving my vision. I am eternally grateful that my first time was with them.”

Adam Cooper, Director, Sleeping Dogs

With filming based in Victoria, Cutting Edge relocated their dailies team and equipment to the state’s capital Melbourne to set up a dailies lab. Supported by the Cutting Edge technical team, a remote workflow was implemented to uplift the editorial rushes to the Editorial team based in Sydney, over 400 miles away.

This is a remote workflow Cutting Edge has facilitated on many occasions, with an understanding of the critical nature of having a secure and stable system in place. Using this experience, their team were able to set up quick turnarounds for Editorial to hit the ground running each morning.

Sleeping Dogs had an additional strong post-production presence in Queensland. This presented an opportunity for Cutting Edge to base Sleeping Dogs, including the grade, in their facility at Village Roadshow Studios (VRS) on the Gold Coast.

Working in 4K and across multiple versions of the film, Cutting Edge needed to ensure adequate infrastructure and support were available to allow the film to move across facilities as required.

The theatrical version was the hero version for Sleeping Dogs; this was the initial version that was graded and online. Subsequently, once the theatrical version was approved, the post-production team created the HDR and SDR broadcast versions. Again, the post team carefully planned and mapped out the workflow to find as many efficiencies as possible.

Cutting Edge’s team describe working on Land of Bad and Sleeping Dogs as a “huge privilege”, not only from the opportunity to work alongside US partners, but also the chance it gave Cutting Edge to reconnect with some important Australian partners.