Phantom Thread

Greg Garvin, long time colorist for Paul Thomas Anderson, grades Phantom Thread.


As with all of Paul Thomas Anderson’s work, the look and feel are always rooted in film. Indeed Anderson had already decided that the definitive version of the movie would be a 35mm print. So before production began in London tests were being performed at Roundabout in Burbank to come up with the most filmic look for the digital finish which the majority of theaters would exhibit. Colorist Greg Garvin and Color Scientist Jerome Dewhurst spent many hours working on the best scanning and grading techniques, which also involved projecting a print side by side with the digital files to ensure that all the details were being emulated.


The other major challenges were the Visual Effects and Opticals which would be created digitally and then scanned back to film negative for the master print. DI Editor Craig Price took great care in making sure that the titles and dissolves felt as much like true film opticals as possible. “The timing dynamics of how dissolves work on film and how the colors bleed across each other have a very different signature to a digital transition and Greg and I were sometimes manipulating these frame by frame to get the feel right”, says Price.


Final grading was done in 4k using a Da Vinci Resolve through a 4k Christie projector. Garvin commented, “We were grading once in P3 for the digital master, then grading the titles and opticals to go back to film and ultimately finishing an HDR version. Paul as director and cinematographer was totally involved throughout the process and I think we did a great job of capturing his vision”.

Executive Producer for Roundabout, Carl Moore sums up. “With the exceptional team and comprehensive resources at Roundabout we were able to deliver the multiple versions of Phantom Thread  without any drama. This allowed Paul Thomas Anderson the freedom to concentrate on getting his ideas onto the screen and not get bogged down with technical distractions”.