Sam Daley grades indie drama for first-time helmer Lance Edmands; plus Best Documentary Short winner “Coach.”
NEW YORK—April 30, 2013— Technicolor-PostWorks New York recently provided a package of post-production services for two films that made their world premieres at this month’s Tribeca Film Festival: Bluebird, an independent feature from first-time director Lance Edmands that was featured in the festival’s World Narrative slate, and Bess Kargman’s Coach, which took top honors as Best Documentary Short.
A drama set in a small Maine logging town, Bluebird stars Amy Morton, Margo Martindale, John Slattery (Mad Men), Louisa Krause, Adam Driver (Girls) and Emily Meade.
The film was shot on 35mm film. During production, original camera negative was sent from the shooting location in rural Maine to The New York Lab for processing. Dailies and editorial media were then prepared at the Technicolor – PostWorks facility in the West Village. Services included dailies processing and final color grading.
Technicolor – PostWorks colorist Sam Daley, who performed dailies and final color grading, says that cinematographer Jody Lee Lipes chose to shoot Bluebird on film as an aesthetic choice. “Film is essential to Jody’s signature look,” says Daley, who previously collaborated with Lipes on Martha Mary May Marlene. “Jody underexposes the negative to create a low contrast image. It more closely resembles a picture printed on photographic paper than one on celluloid.”
Due to the manner in which film was exposed, special attention was required during the scanning process to enhance shadows in the negative. “Our standard scanner settings and logarithmic curve are based on normally exposed negative,” Daley explains. “A good portion of the exposed images for Bluebird sit near the toe of the curve. Nate Davis, our scanning technician, and I determined the optimal lamp level to preserve shadow detail without losing highlight information in the film’s many snowy scenes.”
Final grading was completed in a DI theater at 2K using Da Vinci Resolve v.9. Daley worked with Lipes during the grading process to accentuate the filmic quality of the imagery. “On prior projects, we conducted tests to recreate Jody’s look digitally from normally exposed negative but we could not achieve the organic photochemical qualities of the underexposures,” he says.
The combination of technical expertise and creative excellence provided by Technicolor – PostWorks is essential to independent filmmakers like Edmands with a strong artistic vision. “We wanted more from the grading process than simply to make our film look beautiful,” notes Kyle Martin, Bluebird’s producer. “We wanted to use color to preserve and pronounce a feeling and an atmosphere.”
Technicolor – PostWorks provided color grading and conforming for Coach. Directed by Bess Kargman for ESPN’s Nine for IX series, the doc profiles basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer whose Hall of Fame career parallels a life touched by tragedy. Daley performed the final grade (as he did for Kargman’s earlier documentary First Position), creating a consistent look from newly-recorded interviews and archival media dating back more than two decades.