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Misfits Entertainment’s new feature documentary The Contestant

April 19, 2024

“Loved working with OnSight for THE CONTESTANT. Especially grateful for their support and endless patience with what was a complex online!” – Clair Titley, Director

“A very complex post project beautifully managed. Incredibly accommodating with last minute changes and help. I couldn’t have managed this project without them.” –Dorothea Gibbs, Line Producer

Misfits Entertainment’s new feature documentary The Contestant, directed by Clair Titley, world premiered at Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). The film was included in IndieWire’s 20 Hottest Sales Titles at the Toronto and Venice Film Festivals. The Contestant will now be released on HULU on the 2nd May!

This true story of a Japanese reality TV star left naked in a room for more than a year, tasked with filling out magazine sweepstakes to earn food and clothing, prompts innumerable questions about our culture of oversharing. The Contestant was produced by Megumi Inman, Andee Ryder, and Ian Bonhôte, Line Producers Dorothea Gibbs and James Harper, with Misfits Entertainment and MRC Entertainment. The Contestant is also going to Camden International Film Festival (C.I.F.F) for its US debut. 

 “The most WTF story in this years’ documentary selection” tells the incredible true story of a man who lived for 15 months trapped inside a small room, naked, starving and alone… and completely unaware that his life was being broadcast on national TV to over 17 million viewers a week.

Post Production and Managing Challenging Archive Footage

OnSight provided full post for The Contestant, which was a complex and time intensive project, managed by our Lead Post Producer Jeff Halsey. Our creative team working on the project included Senior Online Editor Adam Sample, Senior Colourist Andy Lee and Re-recording Mixer Andy Coles. The team were all incredibly passionate about this documentary, spending considerable time and effort on the project, as well as undertaking creative work-arounds, to ensure the fascinating story could be told in the right way. 

The complicated archive-heavy nature of this documentary created some challenges for our team to overcome in post. The online process involved sifting through a significant amount of source material, in varying conditions, and often with original picture and sound that was difficult to work with. The Japanese footage offered additional challenges due to different frame rates, sizes, formats, and codecs, which needed to be converted. Much of this  footage was also from low quality beta cams, salvaged from the early 2000s from various sources including VHS tapes. Despite this, we were able to create a uniform look throughout the film, removing the original Japanese dialogue and graphics and replacing them. 

In constructing the audio for The Contestant, the music and sounds of the show had to be completely rebuilt from scratch. The initial project was built in Premiere, which moved to Mystica for the initial grade and then to DaVinci Resolve for the initial online, all of which went through highly technical re-edits to deliver a better storyline. The post overall required highly involved creative and technical work to manufacture the seamless look achieved for the documentary.