New FX Comedy “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” Finished at Technicolor PostWorks

Post-production facility helps cinematographer William R. Nielsen Jr capture the underworld ambience of New York’s rock scene.

NEW YORK—July 14, 2015—Technicolor PostWorks New York recently completed editorial finishing and color grading for the first season of the new FX comedy Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll. Slated to premiere July 16th, the show stars Denis Leary (who also wrote and directed) as Johnny Rock, an aging singer trying to reform his old band and make good on the unfulfilled dreams of his youth.

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll is produced for FX by Fox 21 Television Studios and FX Productions; Leary and Jim Serpico are executive producers; Tom Sellitti and Kerry Orent are co-executive producers; Maria Cerretani is associate producer. Pat Kelleher was the finishing editor for Technicolor PostWorks.


Although unremittingly hilarious, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll does not have a classic comedy look. Cinematographer William R. Nielsen Jr., whose credits include an earlier Leary series, Sirens (also posted at Technicolor PostWorks), brilliantly captures the gritty atmosphere of the cramped apartments, dingy clubs and dungeon-like recording studios that make up Rock’s world. “The whole look of the show is dark and moody,” says colorist Bobbie Thomas. “It has the feel of a music video from the ‘90s. It’s a more sophisticated look than most TV comedies.”

The rich, urban underground imagery that Nielson recorded on the set went through further refinement and detailing during intensive grading sessions in Da Vinci Resolve at Technicolor PostWorks. There, the challenge was often to tease details out of monochromatic settings. “The actors spend a lot of time in recording studios that are by their nature dark places with lots of black soundproofing material and dark wood,” observes Thomas. “The characters, too, often wear black or silver clothing, including black leather pants.”

Thomas notes that Nielson made subtle use of accent lighting to illuminate backgrounds and bounce off walls. “That gave us a lot to play off,” Thomas says. “The finished look has a lot of depth and richness.”


Thomas and Nielson paid particular attention to the actors. “We wanted to be sure to see their faces…the nuances of their reactions,” Thomas adds. “This isn’t a murder mystery.”

The show features frequent flashback scenes, revealing Rock as the 25-year-old front-man of the punk band The Heathens. “We made those scenes feel like vintage film by muting the colors and using VFX to add grain and scanlines,” Thomas says. “It’s more washed out than the present day footage. We wanted viewers to immediately know we’ve moved back in time.”

Editorial conforming was performed by Pat Kelleher in Autodesk Flame. The Flame system allowed Kelleher to effortlessly share ProRes 4:4:4 files with Thomas, and apply last-minute visual effects. “Apostle does an excellent job of putting the show together,” Kelleher says. “We’ve developed a great workflow that allowed us to deliver ahead of schedule. It went flawlessly.”


About Technicolor PostWorks New York

Technicolor PostWorks New York is the East Coast’s most comprehensive digital motion picture and post-production facility, employing an exceptional team of artists, engineers and project managers to serve our clients through the film and TV finishing process.

Technicolor PostWorks New York offers one complete source for every post requirement, including data workflows, telecine/scanning, non-linear editorial and HD picture finishing, digital intermediate and film recording, high-volume encoding and high-speed data transmission, as well as comprehensive film and TV sound services on nine mix stages.

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