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Company 3's David Hussey Takes Constantine to diDirector Francis Lawrence Taps Longtime Colorist to Time His First Feature
Company 3 recently provided digital intermediate services for Constantine, the new Warner Bros. feature film. In his first feature film outing, Colorist David Hussey performed all of the telecine work for the film, working hand in hand with director Francis Lawrence, with whom he had previously collaborated on numerous music video projects and for whom Constantine was also a first feature.
Based on the DC Comics/Vertigo Hellblazer graphic novels and written by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello, Constantine tells the story of John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a man who has literally been to hell and back. When he teams up with skeptical policewoman Angela Dodson (Rachel Weisz) to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught in a catastrophic series of otherworldy events, the two become inextricably involved and seek to find their own peace at whatever cost.
Despite its supernatural theme and otherworldly locations, Constantine has a very naturalistic look. ?I based everything on reality, said Lawrence. ?Some of the scariest scenes take place in the day, in the late afternoon when the sun was bright. Some films take a stand with the way they look, but my film is more realistic and each scene has its own situation. Some scenes are very cyan and green, others are warmer. Some are dark, others are very bright.
Lawrence was insistent on using the DI process to post his film. Citing his background in music videos, he said that the DI environment offered him the real-time interactivity and the ability to work directly with a colorist that he was used to?and he didnt want to give them up.
?Im used to having control over the color and contrast, and I was nervous about having to work the old fashioned way?color timing in a lab, he observed. ?DI makes color timing seem archaic. I wanted to have control; control over the contrast, control to put color in the blacks. I wanted to have the ability to make subtle color changes and to use windows to affect discreet areas of the image.
Once the decision to go DI was made, the choice of Hussey as colorist was a foregone conclusion. Hussey has been Lawrences colorist of choice for years. They have worked together on dozens of videos for such artists as Janet Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, Will Smith, Gwen Stefani and Aerosmith.
?David knows what I like, and I know that he has good taste. I can trust him, Lawrence said. ?He knows where to go with ideas and he doesnt have a pedestrian view of color. Even with a relatively simple scene of Keanu and Shia Laboef walking across a street, I know its going to have an edge to it.
Despite his familiarity with Lawrence, Hussey found there was a distinct difference in moving from three minute videos to a two hour feature. ?With a music video you scan through the film quickly and start playing with your ideas. In a day or two, its done, Hussey observed. ?With the movie we had weeks to do it. We could come up with different looks. We could create different looks within scenes. We could see how they looked together. We could change our minds, so that the look of the film evolved over time. It was helpful to have the luxury of time, to not feel so rushed.
This being his first experience with DI, Hussey was concerned with how his work would translate when it was output to film. ?Film is a different medium; its a more organic source, he said. ?But I was very pleasantly surprised by the results. It was very close, almost an exact match for the digital projection. We didnt have to change a thing. The translation was amazing.
Hussey was not surprised that his first opportunity to color time a film would come via a director with a background in short form. ?We have long relationships with a lot of directors who do commercials and music videos, he noted. ?The great thing about DI is that when one of those directors does a feature, they can jump into the process and immediately feel comfortable. They can work with us in the same way that they always have.
Company 3, under the leadership of Stefan Sonnenfeld, has been a pioneer in the development of the Digital Intermediate process, completing such titles as Collateral, Man on Fire, Bad Boys II, and After the Sunset.
Warner Bros. Pictures presents in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a Donners Company / Batfilm Productions / Weed Road Pictures / 3 Arts Entertainment Production: Keanu Reeves, Rachel Weisz star in Constantine, also starring Shia LaBeouf, Tilda Swinton, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Djimon Hounsou, Gavin Rossdale and Peter Stormare. Directed by Francis Lawrence from a screenplay by Kevin Brodbin and Frank Cappello, story by Kevin Brodbin, Constantine is based on characters from the DC Comics/Vertigo Hellblazer Graphic Novels and is produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Erwin Stoff, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Akiva Goldsman. Executive producers are Gilbert Adler and Michael Aguilar. Philippe Rousselot, A.F.C./ A.S.C., is the director of photography; Naomi Shohan, the production designer; and Wayne Wahrman, A.C.E., the editor. Music is by Brian Tyler and Klaus Badelt.
Constantine will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures. This film is rated R by the MPAA for ?violence and demonic images.
Company 3 Santa Monica, is located at 1661 Lincoln Blvd. Ste. 400 Santa Monica, California 90404. For more information, call Stefan Sonnenfeld at (310) 255-6600.
Company 3 New York, is located at 545 Fifth Avenue, 5th floor, New York, New York 10017. For more information, call Stefan Sonnenfeld at (310) 255-6600.
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