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January/February 2020

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PRIMETIME 12 POST JAN/FEB 2020 he Golden Globe-winning series Empire entered its sixth and final season on Fox in September as one of television's most popular and ground- breaking shows. A drama about a family dynasty set within the music industry, the show dives particularly into the world of hip-hop music, and revolves around the Lyons and their media company, Empire Entertainment. The series stars Terrence Howard as family head Lucious Lyon, Taraji P. Henson as his wife Cookie Lyon, and Bryshere Y. Gray and Trai Byers as sons Hakeem and Andre, respectively. The behind-the- scenes talent includes series creators Lee Daniels (Academy Award nominee for Precious) and Danny Strong (Emmy Award winner). Since the series' second season, colorist Scott Klein has been responsible for helping to develop and maintain the show's look and feel. With more than three decades of experience in post production, the award-winning colorist, now with Light Iron in Los Angeles, has accrued a list of television credits that includes Deadwood: The Movie, Ray Donovan, Bosch, True Blood, The Affair, Entourage and The Sopranos. Here, he speaks with Post about help- ing to create the dramatic, and sometimes tumultuous world of the Lyons and the show's final season. Can you talk a little about the show's look? How you would describe it and how has it evolved over the years? "I joined the show for Season 2, to join cinematographer Paul Sommers, who I often partner with, who gave the series a different, more theatrical and cinematic look than it had had. Paul and I both have a lot of music video experience — Paul as a cinematographer and as a Steadicam operator, and I think that that all played well on this show, since there are so many live, stage music performances. He's also great in the storytelling environment, in terms of being able to get very expressive coverage for dramatic scenes. He's really good with practical stage lighting and being able to feed the cutting room with really great moments in practical lighting cues and such. "There are pretty big stage setups on the show, so I think that was one thing that was really different about the series when he took it over." Did the producers ask for anything specific for the final season? Did they want you to do anything differently this season? "I have a new cinematographer this season, and a new camera, so I think it's a different sensor and different type of array than what we were shooting on before. We were on (Arri) Alexa before and now we're on Sony Venice, and so I think that what we were really trying to do is allow the ex- pressiveness of each artist on the set and also maintain kind of the look of the show that the audience is used to, and also allow for freshness and for things to evolve. "There's quite a bit of different tone in the show — there's the modern day exis- tence of the characters in their world and then there's story that breaks out in the flashback sequences, and then also there are more threatening environments that come up. I think we're just mainly trying to maintain the look." Are there any color grading challenges that you've had in working on the show? "I think it's like any hit network show, where you have people that are weigh- ing in at different stages of the process. I don't think it's a challenge above the other seasons or any other TV show. I think it's sort of reading the mood and putting it out and maybe drawing a line in the sand so that I have my idea of what things are supposed to look like, stay true to that, and yet stay open to what the FOX'S EMPIRE BY LINDA ROMANELLO T COLORIST SCOTT KLEIN DISCUSSES THE HIT SHOW'S LOOK AND ITS FINAL SEASON Colorist Scott Klein New DP Upshaw (L) shoots on Sony Venice.

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