Sean R. Smith leads a three-month post-production
effort to finish the acclaimed six-part series.

NEW YORK—Andrew Jarecki’s
engrossing documentary series The Jinx:
The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst
explores the murky world of a real
estate magnate suspected of three murders. Post-production finishing for the
series, airing in six parts on HBO, was completed at Technicolor PostWorks New
York. Sean R. Smith served as finishing editor and colorist, working in
collaboration with Jarecki, writer/producer/director of photography Marc Smerling and post-production supervisor
Susan Lazarus to bring the series to its final form and look.

complicated tale of an enigmatic man is the product of an equally complex
production that included interviews with Durst and others connected to his
life, meticulously researched reenactments, crime scene photos, news footage
and other new and archival material. The myriad of source materials presented a
significant challenge for the post team. The interviews with Durst spanned ten
years and were captured with a variety of high definition cameras. Reenactments
were recorded at HD with the Canon C300, and 2K with Arri Alexa cameras.
Archival media ranged from standard definition news footage to 35mm black &
white crime scene photos.
editorial team delivered a picture-locked timeline and source material to
Technicolor PostWorks organized by media type and frame rate. Smith and his
assistants converted the source material to HD resolution using a
variety of hardware and software, including Digital Vision Nucoda, Teranex and
Autodesk Flame.
“The organization of the source media into tracks by type allowed
us to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach,” Smith explains.  “Instead, we used different conversion methods
for each format and frame rate to achieve optimal results.”
The Jinx’s final look was
refined through a series of grading sessions in Digital Vision’s Nucoda. Smith
notes that the aim was to achieve consistency among material shot over a long
period of time with different cameras and to establish a mood. “Andrew didn’t
want it to look like a typical crime show,” Smith says. Smith applied a Log-C
to Rec. 709 LUT to the Alexa footage and a C-Log to Rec. 709 LUT to the C300
Working under
Smerling’s direction, Smith enhanced several different looks to create a sense
of place and help the audience follow the progress of the story. “The journey
of Robert Durst took him from Texas to Los Angeles, Northern California and New
York,” says Smerling. “We needed the audience to see these different
places so we devised looks to reflect the climates. Texas is bright and
hot. New York is darker, more gray. Los Angeles is colorful, almost
playful. Northern California is cooler. More blue.”
Crime scene
reenactments were given their own look. “It was important that the audience
never confuse reenactments with reality,” explains Smerling. “We shot them in a
cinematic fashion that Sean helped to perfect in the color correct. The
reenactments are a special place for the storytelling, a place of insight and
Smith used Autodesk Flame to apply image enhancements and
other fine-tuning effects. In all, he spent nearly three months preparing
finished masters of the six 1-hour episodes. “Very few facilities have the
depth of experience and capabilities of Technicolor PostWorks,” states
Smerling. “Sean took on a massive job and had the skill and patience to see it
to completion.”
Since its
debut on HBO, The Jinx has earned
critical praise for its innovative storytelling and sophistication. “This series
has redefined documentaries,” concludes Smerling.  “Its use of narrative
editing techniques and exciting visual storytelling has brought new interest to
the genre. Words like ‘groundbreaking’ have been used to describe it. We
tried to make a series to compete with Homeland
and House of Cards.”   

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, 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,
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