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October 2017

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Page 35 of 43 34 POST OCTOBER 2017 COLOR olor is everywhere, from a big red London bus to the oily green shimmer on a beetle's back. The same can be said for color correction tools: they're built into smart phones, available in app form and relatively easy and inexpensive to download onto a Mac or PC. Despite this, colorists — artists who enhance the colors and, more impor- tantly, help establish the mood within any visual content including TV, film, VR, music videos and more — remain in demand in the entertainment industry. In their unique role, colorists work with directors and directors of photography to fulfill their creative intentions to a precise degree, all while adding a sprin- kle of their own artistic craft. I'm lucky enough to do this every day at The Mill, a global creative content and VFX studio that has cultivated an incredible passion for color for nearly three decades. I began my career at The Mill in London in 2013, later moving to the Chicago studio before arriving in Los Angeles, where I'm currently based. Through my profession, I've seen the powerful emotional value that color can bring to a viewer's experience. It can make people cry, it can make people feel romantic; it can even make a burger tastier! Color gives power to the filmmak- er. And I'm convinced a good color grade can increase the overall emotion of a final project, often subliminally. SUBCONSCIOUS IMPACT OF COLOR With huge improvements in technolo- gies from smartphones to giant HD TVs, the colors on everyday screens are more vivid than ever before — and that's only getting stronger with the dawn of HDR. Viewers can now see color in a much truer representation than the '90s 15- inch CRTs we used to have, increasing the potential of how we can utilize it to tap into a viewer's subconscious. The fascinating field of color psychol- ogy helps explain how color can feed into one's emotions. It was used even before the invention of color film by tinting a whole image through a filter, creating feelings of warmth (red), jeal- ousy (green) and coldness (blue). The use of color psychology in filmmaking has evolved over time as well. A beautiful example of linking to a character can be seen in Schindler's List. While the film is set in black and white, one iconic red dress works to connect the viewer to the individual character amongst millions of victims. It's also possible to draw the audience into a certain object through a vignette, where even the difference of a few percent will create a big impact. Color can create a palette of mystery, excitement or caution, all through the way in which a colorist uses tones and exposure. For example, I recently grad- ed a State Farm commercial where the main color palette was blue instead of the company's classic red branding. The blue actually worked to enhance the red, so much that it almost jumps off the screen. Using the tones in a counter color, blue in this case, ended up being a more influ- ential use of color in advertising, as well as increasing the originality in the overall look of the piece. THE GRADING PROCESS My thought process tends to be the same with every project. I always begin by making sure I truly listen to and un- derstand the client's goal. What do they want to convey through the color of the piece? From there, it's about what I can do to enhance the image to its greatest potential. What story is this shot telling THE CRAFT OF COLOR C THE POWERFUL & EMOTIONAL VALUE THAT GOOD COLOR CAN BRING TO A PROJECT Avoid crushing blacks when color grading. BY MATT OSBORNE COLORIST THE MILL LA LOS ANGELES THEMILL.COM When grading people, it's important to pay attention to skin tones.

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