We shot Jadoo on beautiful 35mm, Kodak stock. But in the brave new digital world it’s the first and last time the picture is on a physical medium.
When the cut is done, and the picture is “locked”, those sections of the original negative that we’ve used in the film are scanned, frame-by-frame, into a digital format. And at such a density that each and every frame – and there’s about 120,000 of them – is its own 12 megabyte file. (A standard DVD holds about 4.7 megabytes.) They are massive, beautiful and highly adaptable.
This allows the director, Amit Gupta, and Cinematographer, Roger Pratt, to balance, smooth and, occasionally, revisit a shot – to adapt it to the narrative in a really precise way.
We are grading with Paul Ensby at Technicolor in Lexington Street, W1. Paul is the calm, highly-skilled and hugely experienced colourist of such features as Senna, Salmon Fishing In The Yemen and Kingdom Of Heaven.
(And Paul’s dad, the legendary John Ensby, goes back even further, having been the lab colourist over the last the last twenty years on Roger’s films such as Shadowlands, The End Of The Affair for which Roger received his Oscar nomination, two Harry Potters, Troy, etc. But that’s another story.)
The team sits together in a darkened studio and, first up, watches the film through – ungraded, raw and without stopping. During the next, quick-ish pass, the worst offenders are ironed out – glitches in the scan, bumpy transitions between shots, jumps in light intensity between scenes. Anything that, as a first time viewer, might throw you out of the story.
And then the film is gone through reel-by-reel, section-by-section, scene-by-scene and, lastly, shot-by-shot. It’s an intense and focusing process. There’s a constant dialogue between Paul, Roger and Amit. And, apart from the first and last run-throughs it’s done mute, in total silence just staring at the light, colours and contrast.
What’s really heartening is how funny the film remains, even when watched without dialogue. And it’s only when you see each and every moment, in silence, again and again, that you realise how bloody marvellous our cast are… just firing on all cylinders in every scene, even when they are in the back of frame.
We’re recording the score with our Oscar-winning composer, Stephen Warbeck next. Still pinching ourselves.
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