Post Magazine

January/February 2020

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PRIMETIME 13 POST JAN/FEB 2020 consensus might be. "Continuity is always expected in this craft. I think it's about making the visual statements that the show needs and making it work for all the players — the creators, the executives, the cinematogra- pher and the studio. You're trying to keep things in a realm where you're not going to necessarily be called out to the point where you have to reverse the creative idea in terms of the tone or the contrast or the edginess of the scene. But I think that's pretty much part of all these shows. Empire has edgy subject matter and it's about the music business. It has an urban feel to it, but it's also a drama. I think it's just about having it all work so that you're touching all those bases and not really making a statement that takes away from any of the other elements that are there in the show." Are there any special creative techniques you're using on the show? "I think letting the cinematography play the way it's intended, and then sometimes I will carve out someone's face or, an eyeline to create a little more impact for a line reading or a dramatic moment. That's something that we use a lot in the show." What system are you using for the grade? "I'm using Blackmagic Resolve. It's a really effective color correction tool set, and it allows me to organize and stack up a se- ries of color correction tools that they call nodes. Other systems call them channels or other names. And I can build a repeat- able system inside of every clip that I run across. So for my personal workflow, what- ever secret sauce I need to carry from shot to shot so that I quickly know where to go to work on just the highlights on a shot if I need to do it after my color correction has been stamped or possibly go before it too. Maybe achieve something that only exists between the raw file and my setting. I think it's very strong editorially, and that part of the system is improving all the time. So I share projects with the online editorial department at Light Iron and we can move projects very quickly back and forth because of this system." What format or types of files are you working in? "It could be a variety of different file types, but for the most part they are MXF files. If the show originates on another camera, like the Red, they might need to be buried into another format or into DPX or another kind of format for workflow purposes. Depending on what we're delivering, we might decide to work with the bigger file sizes and start to execute the resolution down as we go through the workflow. "Fox delivers the show in high def, so that's the limit of the resolution that we're required to work with. We're working with camera raw files within this system, so I can open up and unpeel this all the way back to the raw camera data, which is really nice for me to be able to be flexible. I work in systems where the timeline is flattened and it's all put into a uniform timeline. And it's been interpreted by a system. But in the workflow that we're using right now, we're using raw camera data which, I think, is the most pure way to work." Are you happy with how the final episodes are looking? "Yes, I think they look great. It's such an established show for a big network and it has a lot of delivery requirements that can create a lot of demand from the shop, but things have come together really nicely. I'm at Light Iron now and it's been really nice to work on the show at this company. It's been great to be able to vet the new building and the new systems, and sort of put things in place to meet the demands of the show. I think they're coming out really well. "We're really lucky to have so much support from our producers, and a new cinematographer (Tommy "Maddox" Upshaw) has been great to come in for the last season. There's a lot of pressure. We kind of hit the ground running with some new technical elements introduced, but it's a great season. "I think the idea of this show is to cre- ate a very opulent environment for these characters to operate in and to make it look, all at once, very striking and to cre- ate an environment that's really rich but also not make it artificial and keep things very naturalistic and cinematic. "I wish that Lucious and Cookie didn't fight so much (laughs). It's a very turbulent relationship. They're soul mates — or maybe they're not." The look of the show reflects opulence. Color grading takes place at Light Iron. The show is graded in Resolve. Klein works mostly with MXF files.

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