Interviews with Film Colorists
If you want to learn how to be a better colorist then you need to get around professional colorists and ask them as many questions as you can. If you don’t happen to have personal access to a professional colorist, then interviews with them are the next best thing. In this blog post I’ve rounded up a large collection of interviews with colorists from around the world who share valuable insights into their craft.
This first very nicely shot video feature Mytherapy colorist Dado Valentic, who is also interviewed at length over on Splice Community, about how he got started as a colorist and built Mytherapy from the ground up. Well worth a read.
I remember walking into the grading suite where she worked and it was incredible. There was this guy sitting in front of these 3 balls and had beautiful pictures on a screen, it was amazing. In those days colorists would sit in their rooms and have these beautiful women come in and offer them, and the clients, whatever they wanted. So I asked this guy if he could show me what he does and he started to show me and I thought – it was really boring! – Dado Valentic
In this slightly eccentric video from Monitor Sweden, you can tour post house Bacon X, where they use Baselight in their color grading suites. The video features an interview with colorist Daniel De Vue, and he provides a nice little insight into working on the Baselight blackboard and interoperating with Nuke.
It would be remiss of me not to mention the excellent portfolio of interviews, case studies and more on the Filmlight (makers of Baselight) website. The meet the colorist profile series has a great collection of interviews, of varying lengths, with Baselight colorists from around the world.
Inside Light Iron Digital – Ian Vertovec
One of the best post-houses at the minute, seems to be Light Iron Digital (given the credits they’re working on) and in this short Craft Truck episode you can go inside Light Iron’s Hollywood facilities and meet some of the crew including colorist Ian Vertovec, at about 3mins in, whose recent credits include Focus, Gone Girl, John Wick and many more! While we’re talking about Light Iron this quick interview with Light Iron finishing artist Katie Hinsen is also worth a look.
Ian is also interviewed at length by Moveable Feast, about his work on Short Term 12 and other projects including the Justin Timberlake Suit and Tie music video directed by David Fincher. Well worth a read.
A lot of times in the night scenes when Brie is riding around on her bicycle, the black doesn’t drop off into darkness behind her,” says Vertovec. “We kept the frame forward by keeping the blacks light and papery and soft. The image has this kind of completeness across the frame. Then we wanted to use color to actually help with the narrative and the story arc of the characters.
In this blast from the past, Ian is interviewed at NAB 2011 and talks through numerous topics including working with Fincher on grading The Social Network with a unique Go Pro, laser pointer and director’s commentary system.
Fincher couldn’t be in, but he had a lot of notes to address. We set up a little Go-Pro camera and a laser pointer, and he was microphone. So he would just come in for maybe 40 minute a day and we’d play the reels for him out of the Pablo, and he’d laser pointer and talk. So basically I’d have a directors commentary with a picture reference and put those Go-Pro video files right onto the Pablo timeline.
Dark Art of Light
A new YouTube channel has sprung up, The Dark Art of Light, and I can’t see to find any info on who is behind it, but it features in-depth interviews with working colorists, often with some very close up head shots. I can only presume that the producers are all London based given the accents of the interviewees. Although there’s nearly two hours of interviews here, it’s well worth sticking one on in the background while you work!
As a quick aside, this post from Warren Eagles, over on Redsharknews.com, is well worth a read, featuring 5 Top Tips Every Colorist Should Know, which offers a strong mix of creative and business advice to aspiring colorists, who are often working as freelancers. Also well worth a read!
You could be the world’s best colorist in your bedroom, but if no one knows you’re there you wont get any work. You’ve got to be proactive; Pay It Forward; update your show reel, share it and make it visible, be active in the forums offering advice and network constantly.
Technicolor Hollywood Colorists
Technicolor also has these three short ‘moments’ with a colorists Jason Fabbro (DI, 3D, and home video iterations of projects), Pam Moreau (Victorious, One Tree Hill, Burn Notice) and Mike Sowa (Oblivion, The Starving Game, I Love You Phillip Morris).
Colorist Mike Cosola
These interview clips with colorist Mike Cosola might date back to 2012 but they’re still well worth a watch. Mike is the colorist at Cinepost Studios in Stockholm and has plenty of great advice to share over the course of these 45 minutes.
People aren’t paying for you to own the equipment, what they’re paying for is your expertise and your talent as a colorist. And that’s really what I sell. I don’t sell the fact that I know how to run the Baselight. I sell the fact that I know what a good picture looks like. So you don’t have to be in the industry to develop that talent, but you do have to be in a certain position to start working with clients. It’s one thing to know how to do this. It’s one thing to know how to do this in the time allotted. And that’s a whole different thing.