August 28, 2017

The Big Sick is a Big Hit for Technicolor Postworks NY

Post-production work on the indie comic hit enriched the realistic and nuanced look that enabled the audience to connect to the characters and the material.
  • A particular challenge in the grading suite was striking the right balance between heated emotions and warmer or cool background settings.

Technicolor Postworks NY worked on one of the premiere indie films of the year, The Big Sick, based on the real-life relationship and ensuing culture clash between Pakistan-born comedian Kumail Nanjiani and an American grad student he later marries. The filmmakers were eager for the audience to connect with these characters and their situation, and the results paid off – from the way it was shot and lit to how it was color finished in the grading suite.

Technicolor Postworks’ Alex Bickel, who did the grading and worked with cinematographer Brian Burgoyne, reflected on the DP’s shooting style:

“Brian did a great job with the lighting and in shaping a nuanced look for the film. It has a realism and an authenticity that helps the audience connect with the characters and become lost in their story. It was an interesting challenge for him on the set and in the grading suite.”

What were some of those challenges? For one, how do you make a black wall look interesting?

Explains Bickel: “At the comedy club where Kumail performs, all the walls are painted black. It was a difficult environment to light and grade. We didn’t want the characters to appear isolated [but] to translate what it’s like to be in that space – and so we worked to bring out the dramatic lighting and create a heightened visual sense.”

Other settings included the parent’s house, where many of the scenes are confrontational; but the filmmakers wanted the house to feel warm and inviting, to reflect Kumail’s love for his family despite the conflict. There’s also a hospital scene of particular note by Bickel:

“It’s a sweet moment. Hospitals can be sterile, but touching human interactions often happen in those environments. It was important for us to sculpt the light in a way that allowed us to get into Kumail’s head and feel what he is feeling.”

Check out the official trailer of the funny and touching hit from Amazon Studios.