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March 2013

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For this sequence in Sanitarium, Filmworkers Club was called on to help make the puppets appear mysterious and ominous, yet visible to viewers. Color Grading Creating looks and heightening emotions. By Christine Bunish With film no longer the acquisition format of choice for many spots, feature films and television programs, and film no longer appearing on most lists of deliverables, the term DI seems to becoming obsolete. But even if you simply call the process color correction or color grading, colorists still demonstrate their creative and technical prowess as they take charge of a key step in the finishing process. FILMWORKERS CLUB DALLAS Although Dallas is known as a strong advertising market, Matt McClain, lead colorist at Filmworkers Club, Dallas ( has been doing a lot of features lately. His tool of choice is Filmlight's Baselight 8 system, which he says is "among the fastest color correctors out there. It can grade two streams of 5K in realtime for 3D imaging. The processing power of the Baselight allows me to give the client multiple color options in realtime. That power also means extremely fast render times. I can add as many layers as I need, and do things colorists didn't dream about in the past." McClain recently did the color for the indie horror film, Jug Face, which was accepted by Slamdance. Shot 18 Post • March 2013 Post0313_018-21_DIRAV7FINALREAD.indd 18 during a Tennessee summer on Arri Alexa, the filmmakers were concerned that they had captured too much of an upbeat look for the feature. "The trick was to let the greens of summer feel green without being happy," he says. "We had a lot of scenes of the forest with sunlight coming through the trees. Alexa has such great latitude and forgiveness when it's exposed for shadows. So I grabbed a lot of highlights and kept them really exposed while maintaining all the detail in the imagery. I was able to grade and desaturate and make a dark, rich forest with all the picture information there, very much like film. Everyone was really excited by it." The horror anthology, Sanitarium, shot on Red and starring Malcolm MacDowell, Robert Englund, John Glover and Lou Diamond Phillips, called for more manipulation of color."In one part, the face of a character wearing a hoodie had to be completely dark," McClain recalls. "I did a lot of tracking and darkening down faces. It was more intricate with hand-drawn mattes." Another sequence featured papier mache puppets that came to life. McClain did a lot of work with those elements to make them appear mysterious and ominous yet visible to viewers. "They were overlit, so I had to make everything around them dark, but you had to be able to see the puppets," he says. On a different note, quite literally, McClain just finished Filmage, a documentary on the iconic California punk rock band Descendents. "I grew up listening to their music so this was the soundtrack of my youth," he laughs. "They shot the interviews with a Canon 5D and the rest was archival footage. I spent a lot of time cleaning up the archival material and making it as viewable as possible; some footage was downloaded from the Internet — I didn't want to do too much to it, but I had to cut out all that noise." Baselight's noise reduction feature did "a great job," he reports. "I could smooth out the noise and remove the grain then use the Add Grain feature to certain areas for a seamless feel." McClain took the color out of certain shots; sometimes he added color back on top for a stylized music video look. He turned some recent clips of the band into black-and-white footage reminiscent of archival material. "They cut between the old black-and-white footage and the new clips, and they matched so well that the only difference you see is the age of the band members," he says. "That shows how timeless the band really is." 3/4/13 1:30 PM

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