To create the small screen adaptation of its miniseries, Olive Kitteridge, HBO turned to Encore for dailies, conform, color and supportive VFX. Unlike typical episodics, which are generally shot digitally, Olive Kitteridge was shot on film, requiring full DI on top of the postproduction services for the show’s four hours of content.
The miniseries, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is directed by Lisa Cholodenko. Starring Frances McDormand, Richard Jenkins and Bill Murray tells the sweet, funny and tragic story of a seemingly placid New England town wrought with illicit affairs, crime and tragedy, told through the lens of Olive (McDormand), whose wicked wit and harsh demeanor mask a warm but troubled heart and staunch moral center. The four-part project premiered on HBO Nov. 2 and 3, following a critically acclaimed debut at the Venice Film Festival in September.
“The television and theatrical worlds are converging as big name stars and significant financial backing are elevating programming to a new standard,” said Bill Romeo, executive VP at Encore, a Deluxe Entertainment Services company. “While we specialize in posting episodic television, we are seeing more projects come in that are created on a feature film scale like Olive Kitteridge. It’s exciting to take on jobs of this magnitude.”
With filming based in Massachusetts, each day’s footage was sent to Deluxe Labs in New York for processing. The developed negatives were then scanned as ADX 2K DPX files for an ACES-compliant workflow made possible by Encore’s proprietary DiTV dailies system, with HD deliverables created for editorial and production from the 2K source media.
Once the filming wrapped, all scanned files were sent to Encore Hollywood for conform, color and VFX. Autodesk Smoke was employed for the 2K conform and then Encore senior colorist Pankaj Bajpai took the content through a DI finishing pipeline on a Baselight 4 grading system. The custom workflow made extensive use of shared timelines, a high-bandwidth data network and Encore’s vast storage, (3 petabytes), which easily held all episodes online for the entire duration of the post process. To deliver uncompromising access to all of the media at any given time, Encore executed custom coding per the specific needs of the project. Throughout the color grading process, Bajpai collaborated closely with DP Fred Elmes to ensure the final aesthetic matched the directorial creative vision.
Additionally, Encore Hollywood handled more than 200 VFX shots, a large portion of which was created for a five-minute sequence depicting an approaching storm, which was an important narrative element. Practically shot in various weather conditions, the footage was augmented with extensive sky replacements by Encore’s artists to achieve the appropriate gloomy and dramatic effect. The team, led by VFX supervisor Jane Sharvina, helped design the various cloud configurations and integrated small details in establishing shots, like flapping flags in the wind, for added authenticity. Encore also handled invisible VFX work, such as background replacements and ensuring design continuity from shot to shot.