[Tig] New "Look" or not?

Sam Daley sdaley at technicolorpwny.com
Thu May 10 05:04:43 BST 2012


I am the colorist for Season 1 of Girls. Allow me to address some of the comments in this thread.

The pilot was shot on RED, the series on Alexa. Final grading was performed on Lustre. One LUT was created during preproduction tests and used on-set as a reference. No LUTs were created on-set, so monitor calibration was not a factor in the look. Dailies were graded with the reference LUT and additional primary color correction.  No one ever saw a LOG-C image in the edit room.

Though never communicated to me explicitly, there was an implied intent to visually set Girls apart from other female-centric network shows. The low contrast look was intentional from the start and was approved by a team of seasoned producers.  I work frequently with Girls' Season 1 DP, Jody Lee Lipes. Jody prefers natural looking images. For his past few projects, he has been underexposing in-camera to reduce contrast and shadow detail; this continued with Girls. Black levels averaged 5 IRE. Highlights rarely clipped.

Is this look a trend? Perhaps. I have noticed it in commercials and other media. Instagram was mentioned in this thread but the show was in the can before Instagram gained popularity. On an independent film that I graded recently, the director insisted on a low contrast, normal saturated look. His defense was that in real life we don't see crushed blacks, clipped whites or saturated colors. He's right.  But does that look translate to the screen? Clearly the answer is in the eye of the beholder. 

I understand why other entries in this thread did not approve of this look. I tend to follow zone system principles so the low contrast look is counterintuitive to my work aesthetic. But I enjoy being challenged by my clients and helping them achieve their unique vision. It makes my job less "flat and dull". ;-)

Sam Daley

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