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Colorist Notes Format


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#1 Matt Sander

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Posted 27 February 2006 - 10:30 PM

When sending up a batch of negatives to the lab, I want to include a set of notes for the colorist. Is there a format colorists prefer when reading notes from the DP? So far I have been labeling each scene and giving a general overview of the look and mood I was aiming for, as well as specifically listing colors and areas of the frame that they need to exist in. How do you tell the colorist your intentions if you can't be there to supervise the transfer?
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 12:59 AM

I have a notebook of signs that I shoot at the head of scenes, after the gray scale, with words like:

NOTE TO COLORIST:
SLIGHT WARM GOLDEN TONE

NOTE TO COLORIST:
DEEP BLUE MOONLIGHT

NOTE TO COLORIST:
KEEP GREEN FROM FLUORESCENTS

NOTE TO COLORIST:
ORANGE FIRELIGHT

etc....
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#3 Dominic Case

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Posted 28 February 2006 - 01:28 AM

The overview of the scene - and the film as a whole - is important.

You maybe don't need to micromanage every section of every frame - if the colorist knows that this sequence is to be dark and moody, leading up to a thunderstorm, and the characters are about to tear each other's throats out, then if they're any good they can work out how to do that.

If one shot has been cut in that really was too late in the day and it's a stop down, they can work out how best to match it in without detailed discussion of shadows.

If it's a toothpaste ad, then the toothpaste needs to be the colour of toothpaste, not margarine - etc.

In other words, fully inform your colorist of your intentions, and then lean on their particular skill - you are paying for it (well, someone is)- just as the director leans on your skill as a cinematographer.
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#4 Chris Clarke

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Posted 01 March 2006 - 03:01 PM

Lots of the films I've worked on, the DP has used notes with the grayscale as per David. Sometimes these refer to specific looks that the DP and grader have discussed during testing. But I've also seen them use notes of a more creative description, thought up on the spot, to give the grader/colourist a guide and in some cases to stop them from interpretating the scene wrongly.
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Broadcast Solutions Inc

Technodolly

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Abel Cine

The Slider

Tai Audio

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