The second series of Netflix House of Cards, had its 4K post production managed by Deluxe.
The drama was captured on Red cameras, some using high dynamic range functionality for extended contrast and colour dynamic range. Encore (Deluxe's LA subsidiary) and lead colourist Laura Jans-Fazio graded in uncompressed 4K using floating-point processing in Baselight.
Windows that appeared blown out, for example, were graded to show detail then composited into the rest of the scene.
Co-producer Peter Mavromates and post supervisor Hameed Shaukat worked directly with Jans-Fazio on the grade, with director David Fincher and DoP Igor Martinovic providing feedback via using the PIX digital collaboration tool.
“As episodes were completed, they were uploaded to PIX, which allowed the producer, director and DP to view content on calibrated Sony OLED monitors,” explained Morgan Strauss, Encore SVP, operations. “They returned their feedback, which we could extract directly into Baselight, and Jans-Fazio finalised the look and delivered the files to Netflix. It was essential to maximise this asynchronous collaborative process and, along with Baselight’s sophisticated toolset, it meant we could fully realise the creative needs of the producers and DP.”
The overall look of the series has a slightly moody cast, reflecting the tense, internal political intrigues of the story. The grade avoids over-saturated colours, maintaining the palette throughout—which was Fincher’s vision for the show.
“We often used multiple shapes in a single shot, and being able to do that in one layer in Baselight was a real time-saver,” said Jans-Fazio.
“Television episodics are always a real challenge for grading, because you have very little time to finesse the grade despite the length of the material,” explained Wolfgang Lempp, co-founder of FilmLight. “The challenges were compounded on House of Cards because of the need to work at 4K uncompressed. We built huge processing power into Baselight just to meet this sort of everyday challenge - so customers like Laura Jans-Fazio and the production and post-production team at Encore are not wasting time.”
Photo credit: Nathaniel Bell for Netflix