Lynne Ramsey’s We Need to Talk about Kevin has just been awarded the prestigious Best Film Award at the 2011 London Film Festival. Finished at London post house LipSync Post the film relied significantly on LipSync’s Quantel Pablo systems to deliver its dramatic cinematic results.
Alongside its strong direction and great acting performances, the film’s success also reflects the exceptional facilities at LipSync and the touch of expert colorist Stuart Fyvie on his Quantel Pablo color correction system.
LipSync graded and finished no less than seven of the films that were screened at the London Film Festival, with Pablo playing a role in all of them. Fyvie explains: “For finishing and colour correcting we relied on our three Pablos. All three share media via our Genetic Engineering GenePool. We can all be working on the movie at the same time if necessary. For example, we often prep on Pablo 3 and are then able to get straight to work on the same footage on the big screen in Pablo 1. It’s a great way to work and a real time saver too.’
We Need to Talk about Kevin stars Tilda Swinton as the guilt and angst-ridden mother of a teenage boy who has been jailed following a high school killing spree, reminiscent of the Columbine massacre. “The subject is tough but the amount of cinematic input required throughout the film made it enjoyable to work on,” adds Fyvie. “You have to create an atmosphere that’s conducive to the creative process; it’s a big part of the job of a colorist along with really knowing your tools.”
Cinematographer Seamus McGarvey (Atonement) and director Lynne Ramsey both attended the post production grading of the film. Fyvie explains, “On the Pablo I could offer ideas and treatments that the DoP and director had not yet considered. You’re helping to tell the story with colour. The Pablo has all the tools I need and even the most subtle changes can alter the balance and feel of a scene quite dramatically.”
“The high quality processing that the Pablo provides ensures that the final look matches the director’s ideas exactly,” Fyvie continues. “You’re interpreting the director’s vision and representing what they are trying to do aesthetically.”
The speed and ease of use of Pablo allowed Fyvie to experiment with different effects and color treatments in a short space of time. Pablo’s color tools run in a non-linear environment, allowing Fyvie to continually test and change the look from very early in post-production. Repetitive colors and themes to help tell the story were used throughout the film. For example, a bleak recurring reference to tomato soup and a running blue theme made color correction a very significant part of post-production for the film. “Pablo’s quick and efficient operation allowed us to have five versions of an effect so an accurate decision can be made on which one to go with – it’s a much better workflow. And finishing movies is all about workflow; it’s the key to running a successful post business.”