Warm and Cold
Working with the same people
The more work I get, gives me a greater chance to work with the same people. To me, these are always the best projects to get. You build up a working relationship with people, what to expect and how they want the projects to generally go. Last year I had the pleasure to grade a music video for the talented cinematographer, Aydin Bozkurt. This time around I would be grading a short film he shot.
A girl has many different faces
I won't go into too much about the plot for the short film, as it's currently about to make the festival rounds. In short, the story is about grief and how people deal with it. There were two very distinct scenes that stood out to me, a hospital scene and a nighttime bedroom scene. First, the hospital scene.
We wanted to create a very cold and isolated atmosphere, after talking to Aydin, I went for a cold blue look to the overall scene. Aydin wanted to keep the light from the window still bright but have the actress almost wrapped in darkness. For this, I did an overall grade, then created a node with a vignette around her, that was just targeting the windows and the top half of her body. I pushed the lights some more and blended it into the top half of her by creating soft edges in and out on the vignette. Then I applied an outside node so I could darken her but still keep enough light on her face. We still wanted to see her reaction and feel what she is feeling.
I added another node and applied sharpening tool to the scene, this helped to bring out some of her blemishes and gave the whole scene a more raw feel to it.
The bedroom scene was a much more intimate scene, but still had a dark feeling to it.
The footage was nicely shot and already had great depth with levels of brightness. I graded the image to a reddish, orange look. Brought down a lot of the light in the background and created a lot of darkness over her. I kept the brightness of the lighting coming onto her face, as I wanted it to seem like she's staring off into the distance, that there's something she was looking for. This was my favourite shot of the whole film, I think it turned out fantastic and has a lot to do with the great cinematography work by Aydin. It reminded me a lot of the colours used in the new Blade Runner film.
Stop, Macro time
I'm really great at headings.
A couple of other shots I wanted to highlight were a few macro shots from the film. One was purple ink, which was being filmed at 120 fps (I think) and shot on a macro lens. I graded the shot to a very dirty black off orange look, I wanted the audience to feel that something wasn't quite right with what they were looking at. This was a lot trickier than I thought it was going to be. The initial ink was blue and red, which of course mixed together made purple. I had a hard time taking out the purple without breaking the image and making it obvious that there was a colour missing. I just happened to stumble on a solution whilst mucking around with making new LUT's ( Luts turned out so so). I created node, then a layer node. Changed the top node to overlay, then created a node after the layer node. In this node I went to the top menu and selected, colour, presets and then chose "Chroma Dark". This will de-saturate the shadows and blacks in the clip. I then changed the colour temperature of the clip to a warmer feel, this helped to make the image look murky and dirty. The clip turned out exactly how they wanted it to look and feel. It just goes to show, continuing to understand Da Vinci resolve and its little quirks will help you to be a better colourist.
This project was great from start to finish. The communication was easily understood between all parties, the footage was shot well and it was great fun to make something look like nothing I had done before. It gave me the chance to really flex my creative muscles, something you don't always get working on short films or commercials. Great people to work with, would work with again. Check out Aydin's work with the below link
Super quick, it's not always important to match the skins tones from scene to scene. The hospital and the bedroom scene had very different lighting so of course her skin tones would look a little different. Having her look more pale in the hospital scene helped to create the right mood of the scene, one of isolation and despair.
A few weeks away from shooting a music video, which is exciting but still lots more work to do. Some commerical work to grade and another one to shoot and edit.
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