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November 2016

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PRIMETIME www.postmagazine.com 12 POST NOVEMBER 2016 BC has an early hit on its hands with This Is Us, a one-hour drama that looks at the lives of three unique- ly-connected siblings and their parents at several stages throughout their lives. Mandy Moore and Milo Ventimiglia play parents Rebecca and Jack, with Sterling K. Brown (Randall), Chrissy Metz (Kate) and Justin Hartley (Kevin) portraying the now-adult children. The show was created and written by Dan Fogelman and is produced by 20 th Century Fox Television for NBC. Post recently had a chance to speak with the series' co-producer Nick Pavonetti and post supervisor Tim Barker. The series' initial run of 10 episodes will be extended. At press time, the team had just wrapped up work on Episode 9. Where are you at with production and post at this point? Nick Pavonetti: "We actually got picked up for some extra episodes, so we're going to be shooting until March, and then of course we'll be in post for four weeks after that. We're on Episode 10, we finished (Episode) 9 yesterday." The initial plan was to have a 10-episode season? Pavonetti: "Exactly! We were the first show to get 'back order.' Before the sec- ond episode aired, they came to [execu- tive producers Dan Fogelman and Donald Todd] and the powers that be, and decided to give us some more episodes because everyone was so excited about the show." What is the arrangement as far as production goes? You're with 20th Century Fox, and the show is produced for NBC? Pavonetti: "That's exactly how it works. Dan Fogelman has an overall deal through 20th, so all of his shows are produced by 20th and this one was picked up by NBC. His other show, Pitch, is on Fox, so 20th is the studio and then they go out to differ- ent networks." What is the workflow for This Is Us? Pavonetti: "It's basically two cameras most times. Arri Alexa is the camera, which I love. If you are not shooting film, it's my favorite camera to use because it gives you so much latitude and color and all that kind of stuff. It's all hand-held, which can kind of be a problem some times. "What we've gone for in terms of color and even in sound is 'realism.' Our first color session with [executive producers John Requa and Glenn Ficarra], they pretty much deconstructed it and took us away from the standard network-colored show. We almost had to reprogram our colorist to not make it look perfect. I think the show is trying to show the imperfec- tions of life — the things that everyone goes through in life. "Even to the point where Chrissy (Metz) is singing 'Time After Time' — we took off every filter. That's just her natural, raw voice. And that's one take. We really strive to get the imperfections. It's like we go out of our way to make things 'not' perfect." The overall look, and even the cast changes their look from decade to decade. Pavonetti: "Mandy (Moore) in particular. It's seems like she is in there every day. She doesn't get much of a break. We are rushing from one time period to another. Also, you're forgetting that when Mandy is young, we are dealing with kids too, so the ADs really have their hands full. In a post sense, one of the things it does for us is, it pushes everything, because the schedules are so locked in. We get later and later. Tim and I are rushing to get it delivered on time, and NBC has been so great just help- ing us make sure that we get everything done, and QC'ing things really fast. We're kind of running in with the tape." Where is the post taking place? Pavonetti: "We do the video-side at Technicolor in Hollywood, and then all sound is done at Smart Post Sound. We have long-running relationships with both of those. Technicolor has been working with us for the past four or five years. And Smart Post Sound — I have been doing my mixes there on Dan Fogelman shows for over 10 years now." Is it an Avid workflow? Pavonetti: "It's Avid. It's just standard. There's a LUT that we put on the picture, and they take the sound and marry the sound and sync up the sound to picture, and that's how dailies are created for us basically. It's not very complicated. We are not one of those shows that has 75 differ- ent LUTs or anything crazy like that. "(Director of photography) Yasu Tanida (Editor's note: Brett Pawlak shot the pilot) is so talented. He's quick, he knows what he wants and he's able to achieve it in a less complicated way than some of the DPs I've worked with. He's unbelievably talented." Shooting with two cameras, does that make it a more manageable show in terms of footage? Tim Barker: "We have about four-and-a- half hours a day, so it's pretty manage- able. You've got a three-editor rotation. For the most part, everyone is able to stay up to camera." Four hours a day sounds like a lot for a one-hour show? Pavonetti: "I've been on shows that have NBC'S THIS IS US BY MARC LOFTUS EARLY SUCCESS EXTENDS SEASON 1'S PRODUCTION & POST N This Is Us is shot with Arri's Alexa.

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