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Entries in Beyond the Mask (28)


Beyond the Mask: Behind the Scenes

Here is a sneak peek of a “behind the scenes” featurette about the visual effects in Beyond the Mask. This video is a small taste of the bonus features that will be available exclusively on the Beyond the Mask DVD…coming September 8th!


Beyond the Mask - IN THEATERS JUNE 5TH

Beyond The Mask is now showing in theaters! Gather the troops (or at least your family and friends), find a theater, and enjoy this rollicking adventure! CLICK HERE


Beyond the Mask - Theatrical Trailer!

The official trailer is finally here!

Double crossed and on the run, an assassin for the British East India Company seeks to redeem his past by thwarting a plot against a young nation's hope for freedom.


The leading mercenary for the British East India Company, Will Reynolds has just been double-crossed and now is on the run in the American Colonies. Working to redeem his name and win back the affections of the woman with whom he's never been fully truthful, Will now hides behind a new mask in hopes of thwarting his former employer. As his past life closes in on him, Will must somehow gain the trust and the help of his beloved Charlotte - as well as Ben Franklin - while he races against time to defuse a plot of historical proportions. Coming to theaters Spring, 2015, Beyond the Mask is a revolutionary new family film that brings history to life in a faith-filled adventure celebrating grace, liberty, and the true freedom that can only be found in Christ.

Movie Website


Beyond the Mask - Final Audio Mix

“There were many people involved in the sound work for Beyond the Mask. We had sound designer Nathan Ashton, composer Jurgen Beck, and their teams,” says director Chad Burns. “But on a project, there’s usually one person who has what is called the ‘golden ears.’ And that person is the last one to listen to the audio and put all the pieces together. It’s an incredibly important job.”

Allow me to introduce Ben Zarai, Beyond the Mask’s “golden eared” sound mixer. I had the privilege of interviewing Ben about his time working on Beyond the Mask. Ben is an LA based audio expert who knows his field well, having worked on audio in over two hundred films. Chad, Aaron, and Nathan Ashton had the opportunity to work with Ben on the film’s final audio mix. As Chad commented, “Ben is really a power mixer. He didn’t just do the work of a final mixer. He did the work of a music mixer, a sound effects mixer, and then a final mixer as well. Ben’s impact on the movie was a night and day difference.”


Director Chad Burns in the studio with audio mixer Ben Zarai

All of the pieces have already been recorded and created by the time the film reaches the mixer, but at that point, Ben arranges each of them so that they sound good relative to each other. As Ben says, “My job is to take all of the sounds plus all the music and blend them together so that everybody can understand the dialogue; the sound effects are what they need to be – big and dynamic or soft and subdued – everything that needs to happen to make it sound like a movie.”

In the studio, Ben worked alongside Chad, Aaron, and Nathan to create the final mix. Working as a team, they went through the film, moment by moment, adjusting each individual sound to reach the perfect combination. In the mixing process, Ben converted the audio from stereo to surround sound as well as adjusting several elements on each sound. “We have all the different sounds on a computer, and we turn them up and down and modify them so that they sound a little bit thicker or thinner or add more treble or bass to each sound, just to get everything to fit together as well as it can.” There are many aspects to every sound, but Ben’s main adjustment is the relative volume of each sound. “That is probably number one. How loud the music is, even how loud maybe the strings are versus the horns, compared to the dialogue.” But knowing which layer to increase or decrease gets complicated quickly, and that’s where the discerning ears of an experienced mixer are needed. “Maybe the scene is on a ship,” Ben offered me an example. “And you’ve got the creaking of the ship as a sound and you’ve got the crashing of the waves. You’ve got the boots on the wood deck as people are walking around and the swords clanking in their belts. So many sounds are happening at once, and you have to decide what is important for telling the story. You want it to sound big and full and rich, but you also want it to be clear so that the dialogue isn’t buried by the wind.”

The most difficult yet rewarding sound work in Beyond the Mask comes at the end of the film. “The most challenging part was the big finale,” Ben says. “Everything goes crazy, and stuff is blowing up and there are sword fights while there are explosions while there’s dialogue. It’s pretty intense. We had to get all of that to fit together so that you can hear what’s going on, but also make it exciting and cinematic and as entertaining as possible. That came out really well. We are all very happy with it.”

At the close of the interview, I asked Ben what he thought of Beyond the Mask as a film. “This is sort of like a critique of the movie,” Ben said. “Wow, that’s hard, because there are so many really strong elements in Beyond the Mask. The story’s strong. The acting’s great. The cinematography’s terrific. Of course the sound is good,” Ben added with a laugh. “I would say the story is probably the strongest element. It’s a very classic story, but it’s told in a fresh way that doesn’t feel tired or contrived. It’s a story of redemption. It’s a hero’s journey with universal themes of love, honor and integrity. With a great plot line, and great action sequences… It’s a winner. ”
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Beyond the Mask - Color Grading

One of the key players in putting the finishing touches on Beyond the Mask was senior colorist Keith Roush. A few weeks ago, Aaron and Chad flew out to LA to work at Keith’s studio, Roush Media, on the color grading process. It was fun talking to Aaron, Chad, and Keith about their time working together and getting a chance to understand what it was like developing the movie’s final, defining look.

The color in the final edit looks stunning. Here Beyond the Mask’s heroine
Charlotte Holloway enters a Philadelphia shop.

Because color grading is an aspect of filmmaking that gets little attention, I’ll let Keith introduce you to the process.  “We refer to our job as color grading. We don’t like to use the term color correction, because that title denotes that you are correcting for an error, so the DP (director of photography) doesn’t like that. What we do is color balancing, color enhancement, and look development. It’s really about setting the mood with warm, happy tones or dark, edgy tones to give the audience visual cues. We are shaping the lighting to enhance the drama of what’s going on in the scene.”

Chad and Aaron were excited about the opportunity to work with Keith. “Keith has a good eye for color,” Chad says. “One of the things that he did really well was understanding how much work to do in each particular scene. It can be easy to get lost in the weeds, twiddling the knobs, and do too much detail work in one particular spot, making the film look patchy. But Keith did a lot of great work keeping it uniform, and he didn’t push any of the details too far.” He has an impressive resume, and as a believer, he has a heart for faith-based films. Some of Roush Media’s most recent projects include the titles God’s Not Dead and Mom’s Night Out.


Roush Media’s equipment is state of the art.

In contrast to some of the more traditional, modern films, however, the job of color grading for Beyond the Mask was a bit more difficult. The details that make an action adventure film exciting, like night scenes, explosions, firelight, and VFX sequences take a lot of skill to properly balance the color. Keith agreed that these elements were challenging, but added that “They can be fun at the same time, especially the visual effects, because we are often doing twenty layers of the various controls on every part of the frame on those shots in order to really shape the lighting and make it as realistic as possible. In the scene with the explosion in the forest, we’re doing a number of color tricks in order to bring out the warm, red fire and have that color contrast against the cold blue moonlit woods. But those are the very beautiful, strongly lit, creatively colored scenes in Beyond the Mask that give the imagery depth and make it stunning to look at.”

One of Keith’s favorite sequences in the film is Will’s dream. Keith elaborates, “Chad and Aaron allowed me to be creative and push the bounds of what was possible with this scene. We created a very stylized look where we’re heavily washed in blue. Then we isolated the red and warm tones to make them pop, which created a unique and beautiful color contrast. It’s a monochromatic blue with very warm tones laid on top of it in a very stark, gloomy way. Then we also blurred the highlights, making it very soft and almost ethereal. It gives you a sense that this is in the mind’s eye. That’s an example of how colors really set the tone for what you’re looking at.”

In discussing their time working together on the color grade, Keith, Chad, and Aaron all commented on the moment they saw the film on the theater screen for the first time. The experience had an impact that they were not expecting. Chad says, “We had been working on this film for almost three years, but had never seen it on a big screen. The details, the acting, the visual effects – everything read better than it had on a smaller screen, and there was something quite charming about seeing the movie on the big screen.” Seeing their work in the theater, with the images of Beyond the Mask finally looking their best was a fitting finale to the process. Keith concurs, about the experience, “When I first watched Beyond the Mask on the little screen on my iPad, I was completely blown away by what they accomplished, so I knew that once we took that to the big screen, and started to do what we do best with the image and color, it was going to look like a Blockbuster, which it ultimately did.”
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(Article Source)


Beyond the Mask - Sound Mixing

"Nathan Ashton, and Aaron and Chad Burns hard at work on the theatrical re-mix of Beyond the Mask Movie at Juniper Post, Inc.. I should actually say that the masters at Juniper are hard at work. The rest are just kicking back and enjoying the process, I imagine. A number of those mixing console faders are dedicated to the film score." -Jurgen Beck


Beyond the Mask - Finished!!

After three years of work, the Beyond the Mask team is excited to announce that the movie is finished. “We are so grateful for the Lord’s blessing on this journey,” says Aaron. “He has been faithful to give us the grace to accomplish what He called us to do. And we couldn’t be more excited about the film we have to release to you.”

The final artistic touches such as the color grade and audio mix were completed in cinema studios out in California, with Aaron and Chad on site. But you will get a chance to glance over their shoulders at their work in several upcoming blog posts. I will be doing interviews with a few more of the artists who have brought the project to such a strong finish.

Please keep Aaron and Chad in your prayers as they continue traveling to meet with distributors.


Beyond the Mask - Visual Effects

Get ready to be blown away. I definitely was when Aaron took me on a VIP tour. Tour of what? The Beyond the Mask classified visual effects archive room. “We built some awesome sets for the film. Now we’re just making them awesomer,” Aaron told me. He didn’t notice that I had sneaked my smart phone into the room and I snapped a few photos to show you.

Ok, so we weren’t in an archive room; what he showed me was all on his laptop . . . but it was incredible! But let me tell you about it so you can be as excited as I am.  And I do have some top secret pictures to share. Don’t ask me how I got them. . .

The highwayman rides into Philadelphia.

The highwayman rides into Philadelphia.

After I had seen what the visual effects team is creating, it was time to do some investigating. So, I decided to talk to one of the expert artists on the team to find out just how this all works.

Meet Chris Arnold. He’s the lead 3D artist on the Beyond the Mask visual effects team. I was planning to set up a telephone interview with Chris, but switched my plans to involve Skype when I realized that it would be an international call. Chris lives in Ontario, Canada, and is a skilled artist in his field. Chris describes his job this way. “A 3D artist is a generalist set builder and animator that can create a virtual world. My role with a lot of the visual effects shots is to create building assets in CGI.”

Chris works on the prison ship sequence.

Chris works on the prison ship sequence.

Beyond the Mask will employ visual effects to enhance its story, as most films do today, but I wanted to know what the scale of this project was. How many visual effects shots are there in the film? I asked Chris. “I know that we have over seven hundred visual effects shots in the film, but you should talk to Luke, he could get you the exact numbers,” Chris says. Luke is the Visual Effects Supervisor and has been working out of the Beyond the Mask postproduction command central near St. Louis since August. So, I contacted Luke to find out just how large this project was. “We have 741 VFX shots currently, which totals around 65,000 frames of visual effects.  This equals approximately 50.1 minutes of play time on screen.  We have 27 artists on our internal team and are outsourcing some larger sequences to two other VFX post houses as well.” Obviously Luke likes numbers, and as his statistics might show, he is a bit of a computer whiz. Wow. The team is definitely taking this film up another level in excellence.  That’s more visual effects shots than there were in the film Inception!

There are several sequences that Chris is directly involved with. “We have the rooftop chase sequence. We have the prison ship sequence and quite a few others,” Chris said. “We can make it feel much bigger and epic and photo real. For the rooftop chase, we have created over fifteen different 3D models for actual buildings of the time period that are then placed in the scene to create these massive city shots so that we can render them out and populate this 18th Century Philadelphia world.”

I got to preview the rooftop chase sequence, so I followed up on it to see how the visual effects add to this one piece of the film...(continue reading)
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Beyond the Mask - Film Scoring

Jurgen digitally sketches a cue in his studio.

“I don’t create music, I create emotions,” explains Beyond the Mask’s composer Jurgen Beck. “The music partners up with the story and the visuals and cinematography to achieve that.”

This week, I had the privilege of interviewing Jurgen to find out more about the work he’s doing for Beyond the Mask.  He is a gifted musician, and became involved in producing music early in life. Having grown up in Germany, his gentle accent has been softened by the years he has lived in Texas. I noticed his accent most when he pronounced the names of some of his favorite German composers, such as Johann Bach, Ludwig Beethoven, or Hans Zimmer. Americans definitely don’t say those names correctly! Jurgen offers a quick smile, an easy laugh, and is eager to share about his passion with music.

Jurgen loves music, but one of the aspects that most excites him is the ability to tell a story with his composing. Like every great storyteller, Jurgen seeks to create an emotional arc for his audience. The difference is that he uses instruments, not words. “In general, music needs to really partner up with the overall storytelling, and in some ways, tell the story from a different perspective – adding some additional depth to what is on the screen,” he tells.

Because the music primarily plays in the background of a movie, as viewers, we may not even fully realize how the music affects us. But if you wonder about its impact, just try muting a video. “Watching a film without sound leaves a lot to be desired,” says Jurgen. But “as soon as the music and the sound is back in, you really get the full impact of how the story is being told in the film.”

Music adds great depth to the storytelling process of a film. Jurgen compares a soundtrack to the narration in a novel: “If you take a movie that was based on a book and you compare the book with what’s actually ending up in the film, you’ll see that the book is much more explicit. There’s more time to really go into what the characters are thinking about. In a film, music takes some of those qualities, from an emotional perspective, and adds them to what is actually on the screen. For Beyond the Mask, what that means is, music has the opportunity to tell some of the back story. . . some of the emotions that the characters might feel.”

You might be surprised how much back story the soundtrack is going to hold. One big element is the historical setting of Beyond the Mask... (continue reading)
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Beyond the Mask - Christmas Teaser


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