work for Director Rebecca Miller’s new romantic comedy Maggie’s Plan, currently in wide release from Sony Pictures
Classics, was a labor of love for Technicolor PostWorks New York. A long-time
supporter of independent film, the facility furnished suites and systems to
Picture Editor Sabine Hoffman and her crew. It also provided resources for
dailies processing, editorial finishing, color grading, sound mixing and
deliverables. The project involved months of concentrated effort, spanning
pre-production through the film’s world premiere at the Toronto International
Film Festival.
Maggie’s Plan,
which has drawn rave reviews, tells the quirky story of independent,
thirty-something Maggie (Greta Gerwig),
whose plan to have a baby as a single mom is derailed when she falls in love
with “ficto-critical anthropologist” John (Ethan Hawke) and destroys his
marriage to the brilliant Georgette (Julianne Moore).

Set in modern day New York City, the film is beautifully
crafted. DP Sam Levy, collaborating with Miller for the first time, captures
the city in warm, glowing tones. “I spent a lot of time with Rebecca during
pre-production, breaking the script into its elements,” Levy recalls. “She has
the soul of a poet. She described the look she wanted as ‘awake’ and I
intuitively knew what she meant. It should sparkle and glow.”

Levy drew inspiration from California still photographer
Janet Delaney, whose work employs color in a striking, but nuanced way. In
preparing for the shoot, Levy shared one of Delaney’s photographs with DI
Colorist Alex Bickel who referred to it in preparing a camera LUT that was used
on the set and in dailies production.
Bickel says that he understood the aesthetic Miller and Levy
were aiming for. “It’s sweet and romantic, but with a light touch,” he says.
“It’s colorful in just the right way.”
After the film was shot and edited, Bickel worked with
Miller and Levy to refine the look during post-production finishing sessions at
Technicolor PostWorks. “We had a lot of time to play and that gave everyone the
freedom to explore options,” he recalls.
Bickel says that the grade is realistic, except for a few times
where it becomes more stylized and artistic to underscore points in the story’s
emotional arc. He refers to one scene where John and Georgette become lost in a
snow storm. “They haven’t been in love for a long time, but it was important to
show that there was still a spark between them,” he says. “We found that ‘spark’
in their skin tones and the way they reflect the snow. It turned out
Another example is a scene set in an illegal casino located
below a Chinese restaurant. Levy lit the set with old neon fixtures, washing it
in striking tones of cyan and blue. “I spent a lot of time worrying, studying
the set and discussing it with my gaffer,” Levy recalls. “I wanted to be
certain that it would all come together.”
The moody lighting gave the sequence a surreal edge that
Bickel pushed further in the final grade. “It’s the one time where we went
outside our color space,” Bickel explains. “We let things go crazy and managed
to pull it off.” Levy says that it became one of Miller’s favorite scenes in
the film.
Preparation of the film’s soundtrack, mixed by Re-Recording
Mixer Martin Czembor in a newly-built mix suite at Technicolor PostWorks,
involved a similarly studious, collaborative approach. Czembor describes the
film as dialogue-driven, but notes that ambient sounds of New York (created by
Supervising Sound Editor Marlena Grzaslewicz, Sound Effects Editor Mariusz
Glabinski and their crew) and music tracks (from Composer Michael Rohatyn and Music
Supervisor Adam Horovitz) also played vital storytelling roles.
“A lot of the film was shot on the streets of the city or in
practical locations, so there was some noise in the tracks that had to be
cleaned up and smoothed out,” Czembor notes. “It was important to first ensure
that the dialogue played correctly for the scene; then we could go back and
support it with music and sound design.”
Attaining the right balance required careful refinement and
input from Miller, Hoffman, Grzaslewicz, Glabinski and Rohatyn. “When you bring
all the elements together in the mix, you get a sense of how intensely to play
the details,” Czembor says. “You can feel if you need to make a certain sound
effect harsher or softer. It becomes clear how the music should sit with the
In preparing the film for its Toronto premiere, sound and
picture finishing proceeded simultaneously with Miller moving between rooms,
monitoring and commenting on the progress. Levy recalls the process as intense,
but rewarding. “Alex and I would work on a reel while Rebecca was mixing and,
at the end of the day, she’d come in to review what we’d done,” he recalls.
“Alex is a brilliant guy with a wicked sense of humor so we had a lot of
fun…and just enough time to produce a great film.”
Technicolor PostWorks New York
Technicolor PostWorks
New York is the East Coast’s most comprehensive digital motion picture and
post-production facility, employing an exceptional team of creative 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 in-context digital dailies, film imaging and restoration, collaborative
non-linear editorial and HD/UHD broadcast finishing, 4K digital cinema, global
content lifecycle support, and comprehensive film and TV sound services on nine
mix stages.
more information, visit
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