Ostensibly a James Bond-like spoof, Feig and McCarthy are both wonderfully adept at “riffing” against stereotype, while tapping into a much more humane, thoughtful vein of humor that has clearly resonated with audiences in North America, making the film a box office champion on its opening weekend.
Photographed for Twentieth Century Fox Productions by Robert Yeoman, ASC, and also starring Jude Law, Rose Byrne and Jason Statham, the film was shot principally in and around Budapest, Hungary, Paris and Rome, on the Arri Alexa XT camera, along with Go Pros as “crash cams,” and the Phantom for high-speed action sequences. Yeoman shot Spy just after having come off the huge success of The Grand Budapest Hotel (that was actually shot in Germany), and for which he received universal accolades and an Oscar-nomination for Best Cinematography.
The film’s look, determined by Feig and Yeoman, was highly stylized as one might expect of a Bond-like reference, which the cinematographer and Technicolor’s senior colorist Michael Hatzer imbued with even more of a “heightened reality.” “It was our goal,” stated Hatzer, “to make the color saturation and contrast really pop. Paul was very involved at the beginning of the grading process, and was very much in lock-step with Bob as we finished the color-timing.” Hatzer has done many digital and analog film-finishes with Bob Yeoman.
Spy post-production employed the Open-EXR file-format and workflow that features extended dynamic range. Technicolor digital color scientist, Joshua Pines, was an original contributor to the development of the EXR file-format while still working for ILM, where it originated, and which the VFX company gave to the motion picture industry as an “open-source” standard.
“The film features some fantastic action sequences,” stated Hatzer. Technicolor’s relationship with Feig dates to the final grading work on his hit, The Heat. “Paul is one of the nicest filmmakers we have the pleasure of working with, and is always very hands-on with the post work.”