January 26, 2021

Technicolor Is Ahead of the Game in ‘Your Honor’

Technicolor helps bring the suspense of the limited series to life through full picture and sound post-production.

How far would you go to protect your family? In Your Honor, Showtime’s latest drama created and written by Peter Moffat, judge Michael Desiato is in a terrible predicament when his son Adam accidentally collides with a motorcyclist, killing its driver. When Desiato, played by Bryan Cranston, learns that the driver was 17-year-old Rocco Baxter, son of Jimmy and Gina Baxter, the kingpins of New Orleans’ most notorious crime dynasty, he opts to help cover up his son’s involvement rather than turn him in.

Your Honor made television history when its premiere garnered the largest audience for a limited drama series in Showtime’s history. Technicolor is proud to be part of such groundbreaking television, building major suspense through full picture and sound post-production. Technicolor senior colorist Doug Delaney worked (virtually) hand-in-hand with cinematographer James Friend, BSC, ASC to create a palette aligned to the darkness of the story. Explains Delaney, “A lot of the story revolves around deception. Bryan Cranston’s character is trying to stay ahead of the game, so there is a great deal that happens in the shadows. We tried to not go with a traditional television feel, and instead wanted to push things into the darkness and enhance the suspense of it all. Protecting subtle facial expressions was important.”

While the two never met in person, Delaney and Friend developed a strong repour using Technicolor’s proprietary solution TechStream. The app enabled collaboration between Delaney, based at Technicolor Hollywood, and Friend, who was able to review and provide his feedback on the grade entirely remotely from the UK. Santiago Padilla and Randy Rigg assisted with the grade, while Michael Kaidbey handled editorial.

Sound was a huge component in intensifying the series, and Technicolor Sound delivered by providing a full scope of sound services. The soundscape was crafted by supervising sound editor Marla McGuire and mixed by re-recording mixers Alan Decker and John Milo Train.

Explains McGuire, “At the first (remote) spotting session, picture editor Michael Ruscio made it clear that he wanted my input and creativity, which set the stage for me to truly create a soundscape for the series. The team really leaned into sound to set the environment and support the storytelling. The inspiration came from digging into the story, being immersed in the cinematography, and going from there.”

Showrunner Peter Moffat wanted to “feel” the heat of New Orleans, so McGuire and her team, including sound FX editor Tim Cleveland and FX Re-recording mixer John Milo Train, crafted immersive backgrounds to transport the audience to the various locations within the city. “The idea was that the more affluent a location, the less dense of a background of bugs there would be. Jimmy’s house includes more bird sounds than cicadas, the Lower 9th is the thickest and loudest with cicadas, and Michael’s house is somewhere in-between. One exception is the cemetery, where it felt right to craft a different background of cicadas. The show has a rhythmic pace, like a drumbeat of events building over time. The “thump thump” of the traffic on the freeway overpass is one example that symbolizes this.”

The release of the limited series is extremely timely given the current political climate in the US. Says Delaney “It’s another take on current issues in terms of social justice, racial profiling, and corruption within the justice department. The issues being handled in the show are very current. They even had to go back and do some rewrites to make sure they were handling things sensitively during the current climate.” Continues Delaney, “Peter Moffat has created many great projects in the past, and of course Brian Cranston brings weight to the show. Showtime has been producing incredible content, so knowing that it is going to be a top-tier show between the great production value, acting, and story right up front, it’s very exciting to be involved.”

Your Honor airs/streams Sunday nights on Showtime.