Director Alejandro Inarritu’s new film, Birdman, starring Michael Keaton and a stellar supporting cast, was launched at three of the fall’s most prestigious film festivals, Venice, Telluride and New York, to stellar reviews. Mr. Inarritu, along with his team of producers, and his esteemed cinematographer, Emanuel Lubezki, ASC, AMC, developed a unique approach to the film’s narrative – telling the story in what appears to be one long continuous photographic “take.” The decision was made in a way to organically compress the film’s narrative, and to “place” the audience into the middle of the protagonist’s world – and emotions. In the process, the filmmakers have expanded the grammar of filmmaking. Their creative decision required some very out of the box solutions from Technicolor.
The story Mr. Inarritu tells concerns an aging actor (played by Mr. Keaton) seeking to redeem a flagging career by way of a Broadway play he both directs and stars in – with some rather unexpected consequences.
Birdman was photographed over the course of 30 days of principal photography, on a Spartan budget of under $20 million. Shot in and around New York City’s St. James Theatre, the cast and crew conducted an intense period of rehearsals earlier in Los Angeles, where all were required to step-out of their comfort zones of how most motion pictures are photographed. The staging and timing of the film’s principal photography was choreographed in a most unique fashion.
To further create the illusion of one-contiguous take, Mr. Lubezki (known to his friends and colleagues as “Chivo”) turned to his team at Technicolor, led by the company’s senior supervising digital colorist Steven J. Scott; colorist Charles Bunnag; and their associate producers Brandie Konopasek and Laura Holeman, to model a specific post-production workflow geared to the precise needs of the production – both in terms of time and resources. (It should be noted that this was the same team that handled the post on director Alfonso Cuaron’s multiple Oscar-winning Gravity – which Mr. Lubezki photographed, winning his first Academy Award for Best Achievement in Cinematography.) Scott and his team, earlier in the year, were also responsible for the finishing work on two of the summer blockbusters, Godzilla, and Guardians of the Galaxy – two other major achievements that required out of the box thinking and creative talent to stay up with film maker’s creative intent.
Dailies for the production were created at Technicolor Postworks NY, by colorist Steve Calalang.