Check It Tribeca Premiere

Last Month I was fortunate enough to work on the documentary Film, "Check It", directed by Dana Flor and Toby Oppenheimer, executive produced by Wren Arthur, Steve Buscemi, and Stanley Tucci. Check it is follows the story of four LGBT gang members in Washington, D.C.

At first glance, they seem unlikely gang-bangers. Some of the boys wear lipstick and mascara, some stilettos. They carry Louis Vuitton bags – but they also carry knives, brass knuckles and mace. They’re known on the streets as the Check It – an African-American gang struggling to survive in some of the most violent neighborhoods of Washington DC. As vulnerable gay and transgender youth, they’ve been shot, stabbed, and raped. Once victims, they’ve now turned the tables, and they’re fighting back. Started in 2005 by a group of bulled 9th graders, today these 14-22 year old gang members all have long rap sheets riddled with various street crimes and many have done time in jail.
Check It poster

Check It poster

Because this was a documentary that took place over several years, the footage was a mix bag of different cameras and lighting environments. Early on we decided not to do a typical "doc" style color correct, but instead gave the film a hyper real saturated look exaggerating the colors of tobacco and turquoise. 

Tribeca Premiere with Steve Buscemi, Dana Flor, and Toby Oppenheimer

Tribeca Premiere with Steve Buscemi, Dana Flor, and Toby Oppenheimer

One of my favorite things about coloring is when I can finally get out of my color suite and into a theatre with an actual audience. The Tribeca premiere was great, and it's always fun to screen something you have been working on in front of a large audience. Being a freelance colorist in NYC always means working on interesting jobs, and I look forward to what other fun projects 2016 will bring!

Under The Influence

I just got back from the Toronto Film Festival premiere of "Keith Richards: Under The Influence", a film I colored for Netflix. It was a great city, and a great premiere. I don't know if I have ever seen my work on such a big screen--the theatre was HUGE! The 4K projection helped too.

My wife and I rocking out to a standing ovation with Keith Richards

My wife and I rocking out to a standing ovation with Keith Richards

Keith entering the theatre  

Keith entering the theatre

 

One of the goals of filmmaker Morgan Neville was to have a film that had nice contrast without feeling too messed with in post. He wanted a bold look without it coming off as stylized. We ended up keeping the color pretty straight forward in the verité scenes, and adding some color pop into the transitional elements and other b-roll scenes. 

In a Davinci Resolve session for Netflix

In a Davinci Resolve session for Netflix

Keith Richards: Under The Influence is available to watch on Netflix now.


Mixed Media

I recently colored a TNT doc called "Jennifer Lopez: Neighborhood Sessions." One of the great things about it was that director Danny Clinch decided to shoot a lot of it using a 16mm camera. It really gave a great vintage feel to some of the b-roll. In order to unify all of the mixed video and 16mm footage, we gave the video footage a very slight grain, which subtly tied everything together. Below is the trailer:


I'll Address The Color Of A Dress

The internet started freaking out this week over the color of a dress after a woman posted a picture with the caption:

guys please help me - is this dress white and gold, or blue and black? Me and my friends can’t agree
— Swiked, Tumblr
Is it blue and black or white and gold?!?

Is it blue and black or white and gold?!?

Wired wrote up a great article explaining just why some people see the dress as blue and why some people see the dress as white.

Light enters the eye through the lens—different wavelengths corresponding to different colors. The light hits the retina in the back of the eye where pigments fire up neural connections to the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes those signals into an image
— Adam Rogers, Wired.com

So our brain interprets different wavelengths as color when light bounces off objects. That in itself is not that interesting. The more interesting thing is how our brains interpret changing lighting and auto white balances what we see. Think about it. If you had a white sheet hanging outside, it would look different depending on what time of day it was and how the sun is positioned. At high noon in a clear bright day, the sheet might appear bright white, and at sunset the sheet might appear reddish orange, but our brain takes the environment into consideration and auto white balances what we see--we know that sheet is not actually red when we look at it during sunset. If you look at it long enough, it looks white to us. This phenomenon was described in the Wired article

Color temperature vs. time of day

Color temperature vs. time of day

What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you’re trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis
— Bevil Conway, Wellesley College.
The original image is in the middle. At left, white-balanced as if the dress is white-gold. At right, white-balanced to blue-black.

The original image is in the middle. At left, white-balanced as if the dress is white-gold. At right, white-balanced to blue-black.

The main thing I learned about this phenomenon this week is how important context is when it comes to our interpretation of color. We have certain expectations about how things should look depending on if it is day or night, a "chromatic bias" and it is important when coloring video to take these principles into account so you can do the best color grade possible.

One Stitch Closer

A while back I worked on a short film series sponsored by GAP. It highlights the stories of six women who a bringing change to the world:

"Women are the fabric that holds the world together. When a woman moves ahead, we all do. One Stitch Closer shares inspiring stories of women everywhere, who by improving their own lives, bring us one stitch closer to a brighter tomorrow."

One Stitch closer was directed by Rachel Morrison (Cinematographer of Fruitville Station.) We worked together to create a beautiful, but natural feel to the footage. All of the films can be found here.

A preview of the series below:

A Fancy Feast For The Eyes

A while back I did a color grade for Purina's Fancy Feast with Celebrity Chef, Richard Blais. The video mimics the style of ABC's Modern Family. Co.Mission Content produced the spot. They did a great job lighting and shooting the space to give it the bright and airy look that they were trying to achieve. Their lighting made the color a breeze. Great color work starts with great lighting! Enjoy the video below:

Colorist Needed!

If you google "Colorist NYC", "Best Colorist NYC", "Top Colorist New York", "Colorists in Brooklyn", or ANYTHING similar, you are most likely going to be shown websites for beauty salons in NY. If you have clicked on my site because you are looking to get auburn highlights done to your hair--I'm sorry, you are in the wrong place! If you are looking for a Davinci Colorist for your next TV, film, commercial, or web video, then congrats--you found me!

Rudy's Barbershop--Now hiring colorists!

Rudy's Barbershop--Now hiring colorists!

Inspired By Women By Moroccan Oil

I recently color graded a bunch of web shorts for Moroccan Oil's #inspiredbywomen series. They were directed by Bryce Dallas Howard. The films highlight several women; teachers, fighters, creators, inventors--all who all have amazing stories. Check out some of the films below.