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Olive Green - The World’s First Interactive Feature Length Film for English Language Learning

Olive Green - The World’s First Interactive Feature Length Film for English Language Learning

The jump from producing adverts, training videos and corporate films to shooting a feature length movie is a daunting prospect.  However, this was not the only challenge that production company Ekstasy set itself.  

Producer Mike Saraswat encouraged his client, the Polish online language tuition specialist SuperMemo World, to break every rule in the distance learning book by commissioning a full length, interactive educational feature film.  And despite being destined initially for online delivery, he shot “Olive Green” with a state of the art ARRI Alexa, paired with Cooke S4 lenses.

 “We knew from the outset we were acting as real pioneers,” says producer Mike Saraswat, “and that we could be setting a new agenda for computer based training.  So it was a case of no half measures, no corners cut and no compromise, either technically or artistically.”

With up to 50 actors, 25 separate locations, 30 days of shooting, Ekstasy`s ambitions were set high.  However, a highly experienced crew led by DOP Chris Fergusson ensured that technically the shoot was flawless.

The results are astonishing. This is an educational film like no other, far removed from the low budget productions typically associated with the genre. Technically and creatively it is truly ground-breaking. Saraswat notes:

“We could not have done this without the passion and vision of SuperMemo’s CEO Krzysztof Biedalak and his Editor-In-Chief, Alicja Wiacek. Their support and encouragement was pivotal in pushing the boundaries and creating Olive Green.”

In consultation with the VMI Camera Hire, Chris selected the Alexa, both for its truly cinematic look and reputation for total reliability.  The camera`s speed of use meant that the production was completed on time, with the production team able to shoot in a variety of styles including on the shoulder to capture fight sequences filmed in underground tunnels and cinematic tracking shots.

“There’s no question that it`s a big camera, but that didn’t stand in our way once.  It handled very fluidly to produce great looking pictures. It never let us down.” Saraswat continues.

The DIT was tasked with backing up each of the six SxS cards onto hard drives on-set and dual replicating the data in the studio in order to secure the ProRes files.  In post production, the decision to shoot ProRes444 was vindicated.  With the production relying on practical and natural lighting for much of the shoot, DaVinci was used to match each shot and remove colour casts as necessary.

“The flexibility the ARRI files gave us is a huge advantage.  Initially we’ve been able to grade the material for use on computer screens; the files are so rich and detailed that re-grading for the big screen is no issue.” Concludes Saraswat.

The end result is a 2 hour 50 minutes feature length film composed of 60 parts with multiple cliff-hanger games and increasingly complex language to keep learners engaged.

The interactive version includes quiz questions and dexterity games to keep concentration levels high and ensure that the film is achieving its educational goal.

Ekstasy`s ambition is to re-cut the film for cinematic release in the near future.

Olive Green Film Trailer

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