New
York post production boutique provides finishing services for director’s
“Wikileaks” and “Eagles” documentaries.

NEW YORK—The Room, a boutique finishing facility
located within Technicolor – PostWorks, New York, recently wrapped
post-production on We Steal Secrets: The
History of WikiLeaks
and History of
the Eagles
, two new documentaries from producer/director Alex Gibney. The
Room provided editorial conforming and final color grading for the docs prior
to their debut at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and general release. We Steal Secrets is currently in
theatrical release; History of the Eagles
is currently airing on Showtime, where it is posting record numbers for a
documentary.

The Room has a long
history of working with Gibney, who is both one of the industry’s most
successful documentarians and one of its most prolific. The facility first
provided finishing services for Gibney’s 2008 film Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Since then, it
has collaborated with him and his production team on nearly a dozen more films,
including Freakonomics, Park Avenue: Money, Power and the American
Dream
and Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence
in the House of Gods.
A documentary about Lance Armstrong is currently in
the works.
Ben Murray
“We were introduced to Alex by Eugene Jarecki with whom we
worked on The Trials of Henry Kissinger,”
recalls Ben Murray, who founded The Room in order to provide custom post services
to quality independent films and documentaries. “Alex always has several
projects underway and we are happy to work on them.”
Having worked on so many projects together, The Room and Gibney
have developed a tight relationship. The facility’s editors and colorists are
familiar with the director’s aesthetic tastes and visual requirements. As a
result, Gibney is generally able to set parameters for the look of his projects
and then leave it to The Room to execute and to manage the details with
periodic checks for quality. “Alex is a great storyteller,” Murray says. “On a
technical level, he gives us a lot of freedom to help him with that by
eliminating distractions. We keep the storytelling front and center.”
We Steal Secrets
and History of the Eagles, though
obviously different in subject matter, shared certain challenges common to
documentary films. Both mix contemporary interview segments with archival media
drawn from a myriad of sources. In
the case of the Eagles doc, some of
that source material dated back to the early 1970s and originated on VHS. The
WikiLeaks doc employed a significant amount of media derived from the Internet.
“The interviews are shot with high-quality digital cameras,
the best cameras made,” notes The Room colorist Jack Lewars, who graded both
films. “Our job was to make that new material live in the same world as
Internet media and VHS tapes that were 30 years old.”
The post-production workflow for both films was the same.
They were first conformed by The Room’s editorial team on Flame Premium
workstations. They were then passed onto Lewars for grading in Autodesk Lustre.
As We Steal Secrets was intended for
theatrical release, The Room prepared a master for film output. To facilitate
that process, Lewars initially graded the film, which was shot digitally, in
Rec 709 and then performed a second color pass in a film color space. After the
film master was made, The Room conducted a butterfly test in a screening room
at Technicolor – PostWorks to ensure color accuracy.
The grades applied to the films were meant to do more than
establish consistency. They also reflect mood. “History of the Eagles has a rock ‘n’ roll look,” explains Lewars.
“The look complements the energy. When Joe Walsh is on the screen, you don’t
want boring color correction. It’s got to pop and match his charisma. WikiLeaks is different. When you have
people talking about serious things, it calls for a darker tone. We match the
color to the mood of the speaker.”
As is also common with independently-produced documentaries,
the post-production team operated under a tight deadline. In this instance, the
deadline pressure was elevated as the two films were being finished
simultaneously for their debuts at Sundance. “We have a great team and as
Alex’s production output has grown, our capabilities have grown,” says Murray.
“(The Room editors) Ryan McMahon, Allie Ames and I worked together and handed
things off. That allowed us to keep going around the clock and get the films
done by deadline.”
The
Room
is located at 110 Leroy Street, New York, New
York 10014. For more information, phone 212.894.4000.
About Technicolor –
PostWorks New York
Technicolor
– PostWorks New York, a Slate Media Group company, 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, film processing, 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.
For more information,
visit http://www.technicolorpwny.com

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