The second season of Netflix’s House of Cards was made available to subscribers in 4K Ultra HD. LA’s Encore handled the show’s post production, with lead colorist Laura Jans-Fazio grading in uncompressed 4K.
The show was shot on Red cameras, some using the HDR functionality for extended contrast and color dynamic range. The floating-point processing in Baselight, Jans-Fazio’s tool of choice, offered her new creative options. Windows that appeared blown out, for example, could be graded to show detail then composited into the rest of the scene. She was able to achieve the color and composite in realtime so the clients could see the final results immediately.
Co-producer Peter Mavromates and post supervisor Hameed Shaukat worked directly with Jans-Fazio on the grade, with director David Fincher and DP Igor Martinovic providing feedback via using the PIX digital collaboration tool.
“As episodes were completed, they were uploaded to PIX, which allowed the producer, director and DP to view content on calibrated Sony OLED monitors,” explained Morgan Strauss, Encore SVP, operations. “They returned their feedback, which we could extract directly into Baselight, and Jans-Fazio finalized the look and delivered the files to Netflix. It was essential to maximize this asynchronous collaborative process and, along with Baselight’s sophisticated toolset, it meant we could fully realize the creative needs of the producers and DP.”
The overall look of the series has a slightly moody feel, reflecting the tense, internal political intrigues of the story. The grade avoids over-saturated colors, maintaining the palette throughout — which was Fincher’s vision for the show.
“Baselight has so many features, and the fact that it works in floating-point processing gives me image quality for a pristine picture every time,” said Jans-Fazio. “We often used multiple shapes in a single shot, and being able to do that in one layer in Baselight was a real time-saver. We could also composite through VFX mattes, and do monitor replacements, in realtime.”