“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” stars Tom Hanks as American icon Fred Rogers in a story about kindness triumphing over cynicism. Inspired by the article “Can You Say…Hero?” authored by journalist Tom Junod, the film is directed by Marielle Heller, with cinematography by Jody Lee Lipes and color finishing by Deluxe New York’s Sam Daley.
Together Heller and Lipes worked to replicate the feature’s late 1990s film aesthetic through in-camera techniques. After testing various film and digital camera options, production opted to shoot a majority of the footage with ARRI Alexa cameras in Super 16 mode. To more accurately represent the look of the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” Lipes’ team scoured the globe for working versions of the same Ikegami video cameras that were used to tape the show. In a similar quest for authenticity, Daley refamiliarized himself with the look of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” by watching old episodes, even visiting a Pittsburgh museum that housed the show’s original set. He also researched film styles typical of the time period to help inform the overall look of the feature.
“Incorporating Ikegami video footage into the pipeline was the most challenging aspect of the color on this film, and we did considerable testing to make sure that the quality of the video recordings would hold up in a theatrical environment,” Daley explained. “Jody and I have been working together for more than ten years; we’re aesthetically in-sync and we both like to take what some might consider risks visually, and this film is no different.”
Through the color finish process, Daley helped unify and polish the final footage, which included PAL and NTSC video in addition to the Alexa-acquired digital material. He paid careful attention to integrate the different video standards and frame rates while also shaping two distinct looks to reflect the narrative. For contrast between the optimistic Rogers and his colorful world, Daley incorporated a cool moody feel around the pessimistic Junrod, named “Lloyd Vogel” in the film and played by Matthew Rhys.
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