The color of Malick’s Knight of Cups
Modern VideoFilm’s Bryan McMahan on grading
the dailies and final film
By Randi Altman
Knight of Cups, which premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in early February, has literally been years in the making. Shot in 2012, on 35mm, 65mm and a variety of digital formats,
Knight of Cups has had a two-year post-production cycle.
For the film, which stars Christian Bale as a Hollywood screenwriter having a sort of crisis of conscious, the director called on frequent collaborators, such as cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, who has a brand-new shiny Oscar for his work on
Birdman, and Modern VideoFilm colorist Bryan McMahan, who also graded Malick’s
Tree of Life and The New World, among other titles.
McMahan’s relationship with both Malick and Lubezki (also known by his nickname, Chivo) goes back about 15 years. That is a level of comfort that is hard to quantify.
We reached out to McMahan to learn more about Knight of Cups — its workflow and his
process, grading dailies as well as the final product.
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