DP vs. Colorist
Posted 26 March 2008 - 09:27 PM
Posted 26 March 2008 - 10:04 PM
It is very hard (and in many cases impossible) to create the lighting in Post. So the lighting on set is a major part of the look of the film.
Production design makes a huge impact on the look of the film, Robert Elswit said when he got his Oscar for There Will Be Blood that 80% of his cinematography was the production design. Of course Mr. Elswit is being humble, but I have heard many Cinematographers say the same thing. Most of the look of a film is a result of what you put in front of the lens. When I was in filmschool, my Cinematography professor had a funny way of putting it.
"Lets face it, if you have a supermodel in a tropical rain forest, it will be much easier to make that look good than if you have a bum sitting next to a gray trashcan against a white wall."
Imagine if you wanted to create a scene with high saturation. You use a really contrasty, high saturated film stock, you have all sorts of filters, you further increase the saturation in post. None if this will give you a really saturated image if all the actors are wearing grey shirts, the walls are white, the furniture is black, the carpet is offwhite, etc... There is nothing to saturate.
The Cinematographer is the main person in charge of the look of the film but they achieve it with the help and collaboration of many others.
Posted 27 March 2008 - 02:02 AM
It is pretty amazing though...if you haven't been in one yet.
Posted 27 March 2008 - 06:45 AM
But the important points are (a) that the colorist knows to suggest green at a certain point, and ( that the colorist knows how to make the scene bluer.
For example, the colorist makes a scene blue because the cinematographer tells him/her to, or maybe the colorist suggests a hint of green based on what he/she knows about the story
For both the cinematographer and the colorist, it's knowing what to do, AND how to do it. And it's not just "make it bluer", it's "bring the lead character up a little to make her stand out more", or "these people look healthy and happy, they are supposed to be have just got off a plane in a thunderstorm, make them look sick." Or "we did these reaction shots a bit too late in the day - they light is off their faces. Can you make them cut in better?". How? Contrast? primary colour shift? window corrections? with tracking?
Or "over the entire course of the film, the characters' relationship gets more and more friendly. The lighting changes gradually softer, but you need to warm it up - imperceptibly - over 11 reels".
The colorist's skills certainly overlap with the cinematographer's, but each has his or her own unique skills.
Posted 27 March 2008 - 07:42 AM
Also a poorly done transfer could easily sink a DP's work and the relationship between the DP and the director and or producer.
But a good colorist can really put some nice finishing touches on the photography.
Posted 27 March 2008 - 12:28 PM
Posted 28 March 2008 - 01:29 AM
Most films I have the DP with me and they have a rough idea of what they want to do but are also anxious to see what I can do, variations on it, as well as invite me to think outside the box and show them something new because they don't want to be constrained by convention if it's not the best approach. So we'll spend a day playing around with the look before moving forward (unless the budget is so low we can't afford the time, then we have to decide more quickly).
I don't find myself ever being an "operator", where I'm basically a trained monkey there to push buttons and match shots quickly. But I try to turn down films if I think that is what they want. It is no fun.
Posted 28 March 2008 - 09:27 AM
Dp is the one who creates the atmosphere and exposure before anything comes to post production steps, it's the mood we play with by style of exposure lightning and other tools. I have been working with many tc operators and senior colorists, what i prefer is non-ego colorists so we can collaborate and get the creative point higher, get the ideas from the colorists share discuss and create the best for the project together.
Edited by A.Burak Turan, 28 March 2008 - 09:30 AM.