provides editorial conforming and color grading services in its third recent
collaboration with Director Lee Daniels.
NEW YORK—Final post-production finishing for
Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Director Lee
Daniel’s epic story about race relations in America, was completed at
Technicolor – PostWorks, New York. It marked the facility’s third recent
collaboration with Daniels and his production team, following Precious: Based on the Novel “Push”
by Sapphire
and The

“Our relationship with Lee dates back to Shadowboxer and The Woodsman in 2004,” said Charles Herzfeld, Senior Vice
President/Sales & Marketing. “He’s been a true fan of the facility and we
have responded by doing whatever it takes to get his films ready for release. Lee
Daniels’ The
was particularly exciting for our team, due to the creative and
technical challenges it posed, and the magnitude of the story.”
“The work that we did at Technicolor – PostWorks was
exciting and it contributed in an important way to the success of the film,”
said Daniels. “The enthusiasm of their team and the amazing quality of their
work is why I come back every time.  They
produce spectacular results.”
“The team at Technicolor went above and beyond at every turn
to ensure the quality of the film was the very best,” added Pam Williams, the film’s
Producer.  “They worked day and night,
around the clock – whatever was needed. 
They are the very best to work with.”
Lee Daniels’ The
went through editorial conforming and final color grading at
Technicolor – PostWorks. The former was complicated by the need to incorporate
numerous visual effects elements and archival material representing some of the
most memorable moments in U.S. history. Digital Intermediate Editor Eric
Leverenz also applied speed changes, split screens and other editorial effects.
Editorial changes continued to be made to the master, virtually up to its
delivery date.
Final color grading was performed by Senior Colorist Tim
Stipan on Autodesk Lustre. Stipan, who also graded Precious and The Paperboy,
worked directly with Daniels and Cinematographer Andrew Dunn. Dunn shot the
film on 35mm film, in part to capture the essence of its historical eras and
the tumultuous emotions of its story. Through the grading process, Stipan
worked to refine and enhance those qualities.
“Shooting on film accentuated the period feel and made it
easier to integrate principal photography with the archival material,” says
Stipan. “If the principal photography had been captured digitally then the
archival footage, which was typically quite grainy, would have stood out.”

The grade involved a lot of detailed work. Stipan notes that
particular attention was applied to the skin tones of the mostly
African-American cast. He added that color tools were also used to enhance the
aging of cast members, whose characters are represented, in some cases, over a
span of several decades. 

Similarly subtle treatments were applied to details of the
White House environment for the sake of historical accuracy and to enhance the
dignity and elegance of the environment. Color was also employed in a number of
instances as a storytelling device. For a scene depicting a 1960s riot in
Washington, Stipan desaturated the image to give it the appearance of black
& white news footage. “The desaturation happens within the shot, but it
occurs so quickly, you almost don’t realize  what has occurred,” he notes.

Final post required extraordinary effort from
all parties. “We have developed a very efficient DI pipeline,” Stipan says. “It
allows us to manage complex projects like The Butler, where last minute
changes and tight deadlines are common, without compromising the creative
process. This was an instance where everyone did whatever was necessary to
provide this film with the quality finish that it deserved.”
About Technicolor – PostWorks New York
– 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.
– 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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