Special thanks to Scott Winn and Brendon Bytheway along with Christian Busath, Kevin Winzeler and Vanilla Bikes, A. Todd Smith and all the great artists on his crew, Fullscreen, Devin Graham and his crew, Cameron Manwaring, Derek Pueblo, Gavin Bentley, Jordan Harker and Joey Daniel at Robogo, Anthony Peirce and Una Jo Blade, Ralphie May, CR England and the Utes, Uri Westrich and The Maccabeats, David Carillo and the team at Magnetic Creative, as well as every other artist, tecnician, operator, performer and crew member that did such stellar work to bring these things to life, and last but not least my brothers Joel and Aaron for their feedback on my work all along the way and in the compilation and composition of this reel.
Directed by A. Todd Smith
Here are some of my favorite before and after stills from the project. I've also created a short grade breakdown below. The grade needed to add drama and gravity to the footage. I referenced stills pulled from the movie 300 to try and build contrast and tension. The shadows were pretty crushed. In a few cases like with the dark hair of the maiden clapping at the tree and the dark furs on the giant's shoulders, I needed to track some selections to lift the detail back into the shots.
Image #4 is very very blue as a result of being shot so late in the evening. They're riding the very last ounces of light in that shot and hopes weren't too high that I could get much out of it. So I tried to warm it up, but it just wasn't working as well as I'd have liked. A lot of times you can resurrect data that looks lost in a shot, but low light situations are trouble because there just isn't anything hitting the sensor. So you can brighten it, you can warm it, but it stays colorcast and it doesn't retain the contrast information you need. The only way to get it to work is by selecting specific elements of the frame, tracking them to the image, and building it up artificially. Numbers 18 and 19 are also a good example of building up color and contrast artificailly.
My friend Scott Winn made a video earlier with kittens flying through the air with capes on. He revisited the subject this last summer, this time with puppies as well. He's posted a making of video lest anyone fear the mistreatment of small animals. From what I've heard and seen it was a hoot to film. The little chewbacca puppy was my favorite shot of the bunch.
The footage was pretty flat here so I needed to pull the highlights and shadows with isolated selections to get a more dynamic image. The footage off the Phantom can fluctuate in color response more than other camera systems. I imagine anything shooting at 15,000 frames per second is going to do that though. At that speed the light and color can be hairline finicky. So grading super slow motion is never as simple as pasting one grade over everything. Each shot needs it's own custom work to pull it in line with the rest.
Another issue in this video was with raising the saturation and pulling the shadows and highlights away from each other introduced a lot of noise into the chroma channels. I graded this in Resolve 9. I wish it had come just a little later so I could have worked on it in version 10 which I'm running on now. In Resolve 10, the noise reduction tools are so much more powerful! I can now isolate noise reduction separating the chroma from the luma channels as well as choosing from spatial noise reduction which is essentially what was available in the earlier versions, nothing to sneeze at, or with my new favorite, temporal noise reduction. This allows resolve to analyze up to two frames ahead and behind each frame to adjust unwanted artifacts like noise right out of your picture! Between these two noise reduction methods you can also blend them in and out of each other.
It may be too technical to explain without familiarity with the program. Basically, noise is history now.
directed by Alec Throsen
This short needed a softer, lower contrast feel than what digital typically offers. I used a series of selections to isolate shadows and highlights to soften the curve without losing balance or detail. The look has almost a beer bottle effect on the footage- the feel of greenish tinted glass, but not the smooth machined finish; the lumpy organic poured molten glass feel. The look needed to evolve progressivly till the ending scene where a more natural tone would replace the amber and greens. Another interesting part was a scene that needed to look like twilight right after sunset even though it was shot in late evening.
For more information about the film here is a link to it on IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3053454/
Here are some before and after stills.
And here is a video highlighting that twilight transformation.