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October 2013

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timer at Technicolor Hollywood ( "The systems give us a lot of extra flexibility," he says. "I come in in the morning without an assistant and bring in the latest cut with the mattes attached and lined up. I do a quick color trace from the old version to the new one, then pick it up and run." Long-time series DP Fred Murphy alternates episodes with Tim Guinness; Murphy drops by at the start of each season to establish the look of the show, which is shot in New York. "We do modify the look each season," Vincent says. "Between Seasons 3 and 4 they went from the Sony F35 camera to Arri Alexa, so that was a big change. But the look evolves with the story. Now, it's a little bit cooler, less saturated, darker and more contrasty. I like to say the show has a stylized glamorous look." Vincent works with raw files conformed. "I request previews of all the shows I'm doing; I watch either the producer's or studio cut to see the intentions shown in the dailies color correction and to understand the story for the mood to apply to the scenes. It makes for better communications." Having collaborated with Murphy for the show's five seasons means that Vincent has "a really good feel for what Fred is looking for and what he's not able to do on-set, like flagging certain walls. I can take care of things like that for him." AMC's top-rated Mad Men has a "more cinematic look," Vincent notes. "It feels realistic and beautiful, rich and contrasty, with nice skin tones and more saturated bright colors for the offices.There are different looks for mood, but I always maintain a good balance on color The Good WIfe gets its look through an Autodesk Smoke-Lustre combination. for the production design, costumes and make up" that evoke the era as the show marches forward in time. "If I was heavy-handed it would take you out of the period." Vincent has been working on Mad Men since the beginning of Season 2. The final Season 7 will be aired over a two-year span. Vincent had been nominated by the HPA for color grading the series three years in a row. He won the award in 2011. "They started on film and switched to Alexa for Season 5," he reports. "DP Chris Manley has been shooting Mad Man the whole time I've been working on it. I have a good handle what he and creator Matt Weiner want for the show. I see Matt every episode and Chris occasionally for a review session, and we make subtle tweaks, mostly based on story points or a particular emotion. The color cannot distract from the story." When the show moved ahead to 1968 last season, took on "a big hair, make up and style change," he says. "The show went to paler lipstick and more colorful eye shadows," says Vincent. "We initially felt things weren't saturated enough, but with the paler lipstick you have to watch the skin, cheeks and eye color more." Mad Men also has different looks for New York and LA. "New York is very attuned to the seasons and weather. I've taken the same greenscreen plates and timed them for four seasons looking outside the windows during car or train scenes or outside the homes — the buildings change with the cooler weather or rain, their color tone, brightness and contrast." LA, on the other hand, "is always bright, sunny and warm." During the run of both The Good Wife and Mad Men the way audiences watch TV has changed dramatically. And that has impacted what Vincent does in his color-timing bay. "We used to base everything on the CRT monitor everybody had at home. Then we went to flatscreens and now tablets, iPods and iPhones. Every time a new platform comes out I purchase it so I can watch a reference episode on all the platforms and get a general idea what each delivers." THE ORIGINALS Fans of The Vampire Diaries are sure to relish The CW's new spin off, The Originals, which is set in New Orleans and premieres this month. DP Paul Sommers is shooting the series in Log C on Arri Alexa; the production is based in Atlanta, where he's taking advantage of Bling's on-set data management ( solution. Bling is a division of SIM Digital, which conveniently has an office in Atlanta. "It's pretty simple," he says. "We ingest into Bling's Resolve station, where we're able to build viewing LUTs, which we use for dailies. Then we take the viewing LUTs from the Resolve station and put them into a Pluto processing box on-set so the director can see what the dailies look like. After that the LUTs travel through the Bling pipeline to LA for editorial and to DAX, the online dailies provider." This process has allowed Sommers to eliminate the position of DIT. "For years I've been a big fan of DITs, but Alexa is so forgiving, it has so much dynamic range that there's no need to do realtime color correction shot to shot," he explains. Having no DIT on-set saves the production time and money, and promotes a closer relationship with the directors, he reports. "The directors say it's nice to have a DP by their side again because I'm not running into the DIT tent to do realtime color correction for every shot." Sommers has done three series and four pilots using the Bling pipeline; just prior to The Originals, he shot the Sundance Channel original series, Rectify, which was also produced in Georgia. "As a film guy who transitioned to video, a DIT was always necessary," he says. "Now, the Alexa and other digital cameras put me back into a film-style workflow. Bling's is the best system I've found." The Bling station, equipped with Blackmagic Design's Da Vinci Resolve system, resides "in the camera truck on location or on the stage 50 feet from the set," says Sommers."My digital utility runs the system; it's really simple — a person can pick it up in 20 minutes." Final color is done by senior colorist Scott Klein at Technicolor Hollywood. "He did all The Vampire Diaries for me and five or six other shows, so we already have a shorthand with each other," says Sommers, who works off a ProRes 444 file on a hard drive for final color. "Bling goes out of their way to make sure everything works. Because there's someone right here in SIM's Atlanta facility, there's a safety net for me if the LUT I called for doesn't seem to match up with the footage for some reason.They'll adjust things to make them work." Banshee uses Light Iron's Lily Pad to download media and create looks on-set in North Carolina. Post • October 2013 19

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