Technicolor PostWorks Helps Document the Latest Chapter in the Rebuilding of the World Trade Center
Marcus Robinson’s “Tower 3” uses magnificent time-lapse photography to memorialize the construction of the newly-opened landmark.
Tower 3, a new short from Irish filmmaker and artist Marcus Robinson, commemorates the massive construction project behind the latest addition to New York’s World Trade Center site, an 80-story structure that is now the city’s fifth largest building. Commissioned by Silverstein Properties for ribbon-cutting ceremonies marking the building’s completion, the 5-minute film was produced by Robinson with technical and creative assistance from Technicolor PostWorks New York.
Through breathtaking time-lapse footage, Tower 3 shows the new building rising from the ground with giant cranes and innumerable workers setting I-beams in place and attaching mammoth mirrored side panels.
Robinson calls Tower 3 a testament to human engineering and a tribute to human perseverance. “Our challenge was to produce a film that told the story of 3 World Trade Center and looked back on the work that has been done at the site over the years,” says Robinson. “When we started this project 16 years ago, we had no idea how the site—and the world—was going to change.”
Robinson has been shooting time-lapse footage at the World Trade Center site since 2002. His longform documentary, Rebuilding the World Trade Center, about reconstruction at the site, aired on the History Channel and the UK’s Channel 4, and won a BAFTA Television Craft Award for Photography.
Technicolor PostWorks has been working with Robinson since his project’s earliest days, providing editorial facilities, archiving, dailies processing, editorial conforming, color correction, sound editing, sound mixing, and deliverables production. Due to its unprecedented length and scope, the project has presented many unique challenges. For example, Robinson has recorded much of the time-lapse material on 35mm film, resulting in millions of frames that have needed to be processed, stored, organized and archived. Source material also includes 16mm film, HD video, mini DV, digital stills are other types of media.
For Tower 3, assistant editor Alex Kaufman had to glean through more 200 hours of time-lapse footage spanning eight years and reduce it to a succinct 5-minute story. Colorist Dave Colonna then needed to create consistency in look from material shot under widely divergent lighting and weather conditions. “You might have a shadow moving across the face of the building that was shot over a long period of time under varying light,” Colonna explains. “We had to work hard to make it appear even toned so that the shadow moves smoothly. You see the city breathing.”
Robinson is not done yet. He plans to continue shooting time-lapse at the site until the completion of the final tower at 2 World Trade Center a few years from now. He then plans to produce a final feature-length documentary. He expects to continue to enjoy the assistance of Technicolor PostWorks until them. “They’ve helped keep the project going not only through their incredible technical expertise but also through their friendship and moral support,” he says. “They’ve been a joy to work with. I’m in very good hands.”