Romanticizing The New York City Skyline for “Isn’t It Romantic”

Isn’t It Romantic is a romantic comedy about a jaded young woman named Natalie who, after waking up from a head injury, finds herself living inside… a real life romantic comedy.

In order to create the stylized "Rom-Com Fantasy" vision of the film’s Director, Todd Strauss-Schulson, the art department had to transform the cold and callous New York that Natalie had lived in before her accident into a sugar-coated version of New York that only Hollywood could conjure. Sharon Seymour, the film’s Production Designer, along with Art Director Doug Huszti, worked with our Rosco Digital Imaging team to achieve that transformation by creating two Rosco SoftDrops that provided fantastical Manhattan skylines outside the windows of their film sets.

“It looks like somebody’s put a beauty filter across New York City!”

The art file used to create the 13’10”H x 82’W stylized Manhattan SoftDrop outside Natalie’s office

For the SoftDrop outside of Natalie’s office, we worked with the art department to compress and composite several iconic NYC landmarks into the background. Realism was not the goal. The goal was to create an idyllic Manhattan skyline with everyone’s favorite building in the background. First the art department selected a Manhattan skyline from our online Image Bank. From there, the RDI team rearranged and layered other iconic skyscrapers into the composite image as they digitally enhanced the skyline with colorful, blushing clouds to create the perfect fantasy-Manhattan cityscape.

When we began work on the project, Doug Huszti described the tone of the film as “a romantic fantasy with more saturated color akin to some of the sequences in Gone With The Wind.” The RDI team helped deliver those saturated colors by boosting the color-levels in the skies of both drops. This also satisfied a request from Director, Todd Strauss-Schulson, who wanted the skies in the drop to be “dramatic and painterly.”

Rosco’s Phil Greenstreet capturing the night shots for the SoftDrop outside of Natalie's Apartment

The Day/Night SoftDrop for Natalie’s apartment began with a photo shoot in Queens. Rosco’s Phil Greenstreet strategically located himself on a rooftop at dusk to capture the night shots of Midtown Manhattan and the Queensboro Bridge. He then returned at six o’clock the next morning to capture the day shots. Cinematographer Simon Duggan put the Day/Night capability of the SoftDrop to work during a time-lapse scene that transitions from day (primarily front lit) to night (primarily back lit) in Natalie’s apartment.

The working files and the final art files for the 24’H x 100’W Day/Night SoftDrop for Natalie’s apartment

Afterward, the Rosco Digital Imaging team shifted several of the buildings in Phil’s original images; notably, they strategically placed the Empire State Building so that it was centered in one of the arched windows of the apartment set. The digital artisans at RDI completed the idealized New York City backdrop by boosting the overall color-saturation of the image and then filled the bright blue sky with cotton candy clouds. The backdrop for Natalie’s apartment was now complete and, once the actual SoftDrop was hung on set, romance was literally in the air.

To see these backdrops at work, be sure to watch Isn’t It Romantic, starring Rebel Wilson, Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine, and Priyanka Chopra. If you’d like to learn more about all of our backdrop options for your next project, visit


Joel Svendsen February 14, 2019 Questions?

About Joel Svendsen

Marketing Director: Joel's Rosco career began in Rosco's Hollywood office in 1999 – first in sales covering the Western US and the Los Angeles Film & Television market, and then as Product Manager for Rosco's Film & Television Products. Joel's knowledge about Rosco's products and how they're used in each of our different marketplaces makes him well suited for bringing the stories in Spectrum to life.