[Tig] Expansions

Tyler Hawes tyler at litpost.com
Sat Sep 3 21:19:43 BST 2011

I've never felt threatened by CDL, but maybe my expectation of how it would
be used is different. We've been working with film for all these years and
never questioned that the dailies needed a colorist to do a simple balance
and exposure correction for the sake of editorial and screening. This was
usually done by more junior talent than the final colorist.

(I can't count how many times I've had a DP or Director say "this looked
pretty good in the dailies" and ask me to pull it up on screen as a
reference to get us started. Truthfully I don't like hearing that, as I feel
it biases our decision making and boxes-in what we might try, but I go along
with it.)

Now here we are with most production switching to digital, and it needs
dailies color grading just as much as film did. Raw digital often has an
acerbic color palette, gets exposed to the left to protect highlights, and
looks awash in one color and desaturated. It's not a good situation to have
everyone looking at the movie on set like that, or even worse through months
of editorial. And if somebody is going to take the time to do a limited
amount of color correction (which is one reason I think only four controls
of SOP+Saturation is a strength of CDL and not a limitation - I don't want
to see secondaries and vignettes coming from a DIT colorist), why not hold
onto those decisions in a non-destructive way as a starting point? You can
always blast them if they're no good.

But I guess my version of this depends on having a good, honest,
mutually-respectful relationship between the three heads of the DP,
Director, and Colorist. Maybe I'm spoiled, but 90%+ of the time, this is how
it is for me.

If we're truly bothered by this, should we DI Colorists be grading the
dailies (maybe from a remote setup?) for the films we're going to do final
color on? It seems cost-prohibitive and laborious, but maybe it's worth

DI Colorist & Visual Effects Supervisor


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