For Negative People, Janice Papadaki’s staff smiles quite a lot.
It could be because she and her two employees have found a craft
that makes the most of their tendencies toward perfectionism --
cutting the completed negative for motion pictures and films.
“There’s only one negative,” Papadaki said. “That’s why cutting is
The Burbank business opened in 1999, and has worked on productions
such as HBO’s “Live From Baghdad” and Warner Bros. Academy Award
winning documentary “Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the
After editors do their cutting from video copies of the original
film, Negative People cut that original to the editor’s
specifications. Then copies of the negative are distributed to
theaters and networks.
Following the editor’s notes frame by frame is essential, because
a cut in the wrong spot could result in a noticeable jump in the
image on-screen, Papadaki said.
Post production supervisor Liz Corbett, a Burbank resident,
recently hired Negative People to work on HBO’s “Normal,” with
“I love Janice Papadaki,” Corbett said. “She’s efficient [and] she
always has a great attitude.”
Corbett confirms the essential nature of the company’s work.
“They are cutting the original negative,” Corbett said. “It has to
match identically to the cut that the director has created.”
Though the staff is accustomed to seeing things in reverse -- blue
appears as orange and green is red -- they said it does not affect
the way they see things off the film.
However, Burbank resident Tim Heyen, a negative cutter, said that
since his work has him looking for detail on small pieces of film, he
also notes detail in his daily life. People who blink their eyes or
gesture when talking help to confirm where he needs to make a cut.
“Sidney Poitier never quits talking with his hands,” Heyen said.
“You can [easily] differentiate between [film] frames.”