Interviewing colourist Christopher Ray - Part II

Still from the movie - Alpha
Still from the movie - Alpha

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continued from Part I

What was your overall experience using Daylight together with Baselight on this project?  Were there any particular features that stood out, or that you used very frequently?
Ray:
An essential part of my grade was Baselight’s Hue Shift. From the beginning, we knew that a key element of the look would be desaturation, but we didn’t want to suck the colour out of the whole picture. Hue Shift allowed me to efficiently desaturate different colour vectors in various scenes throughout the feature.
Apart from that, Daylight and Baselight are systems with colour grading tools that have enormous capabilities. A decade ago, on-set colourists were not able to achieve the looks that can be set in 2019. I truly feel that using these advanced tools, an on-set colourist can tap into their full potential for setting complicated looks.
I can’t express it enough – the whole concept of the BLG file allows us to interchange grades. It’s a total game changer.

One of the coolest locations that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting was Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Alpha was the first film in history that was allowed to shoot there.

What were the benefits of using Daylight’s flexible colour space management?
Ray:
For this film we had several different units shooting all over the world, so colour space management was essential in setting up an efficient universal colour workflow.
We received footage in ARRI Log-C, Red Log Film, Phantom Cine Raw, Canon C-Log and Sony S-Log3. Since the Alexa 65 was the master camera, we opted to use Log-C as our working colour space and map the other colour spaces into it using the input transforms in Daylight.
This ensured a smooth grading experience for matching each colour space. The BLG file format also keeps the colour management settings intact, allowing output transforms to be interchangeable for the preparation of different deliverables.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Ray:
One of the most enjoyable experiences working on Alpha was being able to stay in such beautiful locations.
One of the coolest locations that I have ever had the pleasure of visiting was Alberta’s Dinosaur Provincial Park. The park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Alpha was the first film in history that was allowed to shoot there. At times, it felt like I was on a fabricated set – one made specifically for a prehistoric period piece. Overall, it was an awesome experience.

Maxine, the last word?
Maxine:
Christopher was great to work with. As the workflow on the feature was created from scratch, he implemented great ideas. It is always important to have on-set colour dialed in correctly, as it can be problematic if it is not accurately established in production.
Christopher was very keen on the whole project and was able to adapt to the ever-changing challenges of the show.

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