Grading Hit Netflix Drama “House Of Cards” in 4K – An Inteview With Colorist Laura Jans-Fazio

“House of Cards” was the first original series for Netflix and it had a huge success. It is an adaptation of a previous BBC mini-series of the same name, and is based on the novel by Michael Dobbs.

The hit online drama series was shot on the Red EPIC, edited and distributed in 4K.

Recently, Creative Cow posted a great interview with the Lead Colourist of the Second Season of the Show – Laura Jans-Fazio.

Before she started working on the show, Jans-Fazio used to be a freelance colourist, working in LA and around the country, doing commercials, TV work and independent films.  

In this interview she talks extensively about here collaborative work with David Fincher, her experience with Baselight and what was her color grading workflow for the show.
LauraJans-FazioleadcolouristEncoreLaura Jans-Fazio, lead colourist at Encore

As a Lead Colourist of the second season of “House of Cards” she spent two and a half months working on it.

Delivering thirteen episodes isn’t much different from delivering one episode at a time, since the timeline is adjusted accordingly. A few months to deliver many episodes is pretty comparable to delivering one episode every week or so.

She also shared that she was communicating with the executive producer David Fincher and Igor Martinovic, the Director of Photography remotely through PIX.

We started with a locked cut. We would bring in the media and I would conform it in Baselight, which is the color correction kit that we used. Then I would grade the first 20 or 30 minutes of an episode, upload it to PIX, and while I was waiting for notes on that first 20 or 30 minutes, I would grade the other half of the show and then upload that.


Here’s Laura Jans-Fazio forecast about the development of 4K in the near future.

I think it’s going to be exciting, and to see how the two are going to keep merging.

It’s tricky, because we’re capturing 6K, grading in 4K, without a 4K monitor with proper calibration tools for color and gamma. That said, you have to be working off of a 4K projector. Hopefully, a manufacturer will create a suitable 4K monitoring solution before we jump to 6K or above, so we’re sort of in waiting. 

But where do I see it going overall? I see it going into a world where we can do more, faster, creatively.

The show was shot in 5K resolution and also features some HDR (High dynamic range) shots as well. As a colourist, it was essential for Jans-Fazio to have a real-time 4K-playback performance that Baselight does support. Another beneficial feature of the system according to her was the support of  multi-resolution media within one timeline. She worked off of the RAW files and/or DPX.

The team output the final graded versions of all 13 episodes in uncompressed 4K, which went to Netflix’s own compression engines. Season 2 of House of Cards is in fact available for 4K UltraHD streaming on Amazon, as well as HD/SD streaming, and Blu-ray and DVD.

Follow this link for the full interview.


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