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Grading to Extremes with "And They're Off" and "Guido" at Hollywood-DI

Gangsters and horses don't typically come hand in hand, but at Hollywood-DI, you can never be sure of what a day's work will entail. The West Hollywood based post house recently completed color correction on two upcoming independent feature films, "Guido" and "And They're Off". And though both films appeared similar when they first arrived at Hollywood-DI, they required very different treatments to achieve the respective looks they were going for.

"Guido" and "And They're Off" were shot on different cameras by different DP's. They were edited on different nonlinear editing systems. And the look and feel of each movie had to be completely different, requiring different color correction techniques and tools. Yet they both came to Hollywood-DI for color grading at the same time, both had tight deadlines and both were completed successfully with the same system.

Hollywood-DI colorists Bjorn Myrholt and Andrew Balis used Version 8 of DaVinci Resolve Software to give them the creative freedom to bring the respective visions of each director to life.


Gangster thriller "Guido", starring Billy Zane, Gary Busey, Alki David and Armand Assante, was shot primarily on the RED ONE camera and edited with Avid's Media Composer. Director Colin Campbell envisioned a dark, cold and gruesome look, and Bjorn Myholt went to work with Resolve 8 and his Tangent WAVE panel.


Myholt said, "As a colorist, my challenge was to convey the transition that takes place within Guido and in his surroundings, allowing viewers to follow the main character on his physical and emotional journey from the tough New York gang life to beautiful Southern California and Mexico."


He continued "Together with producers Alki David, Peter Lebow and director Colin Campbell, we decided to start with a cold and desaturated look and shift to a warmer, more saturated color palette as the story progressed. DaVinci Resolve 8 allowed me to bring the feature to the next level in terms of production quality and audience appeal, making it easy to continuously tweak the color palette for a seamless progression, and group shots in order to apply detailed changes scene to scene."




"And They're Off", a gentle comedy starring Sean Astin, Peter Jacobson, Kevin Nealon and Cheri Oteri, was on the opposite end of the spectrum. Director Rob Schiller wanted the footage, which was shot on the Canon EOS 7D and edited in Final Cut Pro, to appear light, airy and warm. Andrew Balis used Resolve 8 with the Avid Artist Color control panel to conform and grade the comedic mockumentary.

Balis explained, "The comedy works by playing off the realistic feel of the environment against the offbeat nature of the characters and their actions. The film's creators wanted the look to be realistic and natural in order to make viewers feel like they are right there in the shot, watching the events unfold."

He went on, "Resolve's Soft Clip feature was one of the many tools I used to create a soft touch. This was great whenever I needed to expand the contrast range, without creating harsh blown out highlights you might see in a more stylized film. Having the ability to group shots, ripple grades to other shots, copy and append nodes, and middle click on stills, powergrades or VSR's in the timeline to copy grades quickly was particularly helpful in scene to scene grading. In addition, being able to customize the controls and soft keys to my liking allowed me just the right balance for manipulating contrast and color, and definitely made for a more efficient session."

Neil Smith, Hollywood-DI's Managing Director, said of the overall experience of using DaVinci Resolve 8 on these two distinct movies: "Both colorists did what I asked of them. They worked closely with their respective Directors to turn the raw camera footage into a cinematic feast."

He continued, "Our mission is to bring filmmakers' visions to life at a price they can afford. Resolve 8 gives our two colorists, Bjorn Myrholt and Andrew Balis, the toolset they need to quickly conform, grade and output feature projects to the exacting standards I demand of Hollywood-DI colorists."

As well as using DaVinci Resolve 8 for feature color correction projects, Smith is busy organizing training seminars for the newly released free DaVinci Resolve Lite. "We want to show Directors, DP's and DIT's how to apply Resolve Lite to their dailies and editorial footage to show us the look they're envisioning, before they pass it onto our colorists for finishing. Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve is the only color correction system capable of meeting such a wide range of filmmaking challenges."


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Related Keywords:Blackmagic Design, DaVinci Resolve, Hollywood-DI, color correction, digital intermediates, cinematography, RED ONE, Avid Media Composer

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