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Published 1 year, 7 months ago

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4K short Sol Levante combines art and technology to deliver best in class anime

Haruka Miyagawa, Kylee Peña - Creative Technologies & Infrastructure team On April 2, Netflix is proud to premiere a first-of-its-kind original anime short titled Sol Levante.Designed in experimental 4K and HDR, and lifted by immersive audio, Sol Levante has been a project two years in the making by a wide range of dedicated craftspeople both inside and outside Netflix. Using technology to expand the art of animeAt Netflix, we've always loved anime and we work hard to provide the top artists with the best technology to help them tell their stories in new and innovative ways.High definition range (HDR) TVs and smartphones are increasingly popular with consumers. So we've been exploring ways to create anime in 4K - giving artists a much wider color palette to create even more compelling visual experiences for audiences all around the world.However, we quickly learned that increasing the resolution of anime would involve creators either drawing on bigger pieces of paper than the standard B5, or scanning their art at much higher resolutions. (From left: Katsushi Eda, Miho Tanaka, Akira Saitoh, Hisashi Ezura, Masakazu Morinaka)Thankfully, we found a capable and enthusiastic partner in Production I.G., a Japanese production company known for projects like Ghost in the Shell and the anime scenes in Kill Bill. Production I.G. has a small but incredibly talented crew led by director Akira Saitoh, all of whom were excited to bring 4K and HDR anime to life and were unafraid to start from scratch.Two years of challengesIn the two years we've been working on Sol Levante, we had to work with numerous stakeholders and subcontractors, all with varying ages of technology, much of which could not handle the brightness and color range that's possible on HDR. But given our determination to bring 4K anime to life, the team powered on. Will brought contrast to the sound mix and wove in composer Emily Rice’s original orchestral score, which had been recorded on a 3D microphone.A home for anyone who loves the craft of animeIn order to help everyone in the anime industry better understand the challenges involved with 4K HDR and immersive audio, we’ve "open-sourced" the materials we used in Sol Levante. This will enable animators and creatives to understand these new technologies better, partner more effectively with manufacturers and to work with anime studios to incorporate this technology into their productions.As we finished, director Saitoh observed that having “access to 4K and HDR is like getting wings and an engine to see a new horizon where a new era rises. We keep challenging ourselves and innovate for the future”.Art and science have always been inextricably linked - from the printing press to the moving picture, radio and DVDs. We named the project Sol Levante - which means the sun rising from the east in Italian - as a metaphor for Japan because we hope this will be the beginning of a new dawn for anime craftspeople, enabling them to expand their craft in original new ways.

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Apr 08, 2020 at 09:13

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