Technicolor-PostWorks New York recently provided postproduction services for Stonehearst Asylum, the new suspense film from director Brad Anderson and Millennium Entertainment. The facility provided editorial systems and support to the production and also handled editorial conforming, color grading and deliverables.
Based on an Edgar Allan Poe story, Stonehearst Asylum stars Kate Beckinsale, Ben Kingsley, Jim Sturgess and Michael Caine in a thriller about patients who take over a corrupt mental institution. The film was shot in Bulgaria with Thomas Yatsko as cinematographer. Brian Gates edited the film at Technicolor-PostWorks’ West Village location on Greenwich Street. The film was conformed by editor George Bunce on Autodesk Smoke. Technicolor-PostWorks generated DCP, film and video deliverables.
Senior colorist Sam Daley applied the final grade, working under the direct supervision of Anderson and Yatsko. Daley’s role was to enhance the film’s period setting and tense story. “The film takes place at the very end of the 19th century,” said Yatsko. “It’s set in a remote location in northern England. It’s winter and the facility has no electricity, little oil and few supplies. Most scenes are lit by candlelight.”
Yatsko contrasted the warm candlelight with blue lighting from the windows to create separation and convey the sense that we are in a remote country location. That resulted in a dark, moody look that was further refined in postproduction. “Sam had his challenges,” Yatsko added. “In addition to working with minimal light, we shot in Bulgaria in the summer time, where it was hot and sunny, while what we needed was a look that was grey and gloomy.”
Daley applied a number of atmospheric effects, enhancing the glow of candles and smoothing fog in exterior scenes. He also spent considerable time making skin tone adjustments. “Many of the characters are meant to look unhealthy, as if they are sick or have not been eating well,” Daley explained. “We took some of the life out of their faces. Our Lustre allowed me to isolate skin tones and manipulate them independent of the surrounding frame.”
The final look of the film, according to Daley, is different from most period dramas. “Although the hair, wardrobe and set were all period, we treated it like a modern suspense film,” said Daley. “We made a lot of strong color choices. We didn’t go into a modern palette, but we pushed the colors. We walked a fine line: respecting the time period, while delivering an entertaining movie.”