American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 34

*|*

Color as Through-Line

A

t press time, Star Trek Beyond
was hurtling toward a deadline of its own, and colorist Tom
Reiser of Deluxe's EFilm had
just launched full-bore into the
project's digital intermediate.
Since many of the visual effects
were still in the works, Reiser
was starting out by color-grading dramatic sequences. He
wasn't particularly worried about
the inevitable scramble he would
experience alongside director
Justin Lin and cinematographer
Stephen F. Windon, ASC, ACS,
because Reiser had already participated
in establishing the foundation for the
movie's color palette up front. Working
closely with EFilm's color-science
department over the years, Reiser has
developed many basic show LUTs, as
he did here on Beyond. Dailies colorist
John Hart of Deluxe's EC3 dailies
department had in fact used the look
throughout production, and that same
LUT was being employed as the foundation of the DI process.
"The LUT was developed based
on Stephen Windon's style," says Reiser,
speaking from years of experience
working alongside Windon on Fast and
Furious movies. "Knowing he is a film
guy, we wanted to keep that 'film' DNA
- even though this movie was shot
with the [Arri Alexa XT]. I describe the
LUT as almost like film, but pushed a
little, with more colors to choose from
and stronger contrast. Having that
LUT already developed helps a lot
going into the DI."
Windon adds, "My main goal for
color timing in general is to smooth out
certain production shots that came from
different environments and different
countries, making it all gel - and then
paying a lot of attention to detail, [especially on this movie] with all the action,
visual effects and interactive light. We
might be making a window or hallway
darker, adjusting color temperature a
little bit here or there - [with] material

34

August 2016

coming together that was shot on
different days, where lights might have
been dimmed slightly differently. We
have to spend a lot of time on those
little things."
Reiser is performing the color
grade with FilmLight's Baselight
version 4.4. Because Windon had
already begun shooting Fast 8 in
Atlanta when the DI commenced, the
cinematographer and colorist have
opted to use Deluxe's remote collaboration system. Windon is working from
Deluxe's Atlanta facility on the weekends, viewing material streamed to him
in real time and conferencing with
Reiser and Lin to give notes and
comments. Baselight is employed on
this production by EFilm conform
editor Amy Pawlowski as well.
According to Reiser, another goal
of the final grade is to maintain a
connectivity to the two earlier Star Trek
movies directed by J.J. Abrams and shot
by Dan Mindel, ASC, BSC - and
colored at Deluxe's Company 3 by ASC
associate Stefan Sonnenfeld - even
though Beyond 's overall visual style is
different. "The challenge is to [create] a
naturalistic feeling of grain," he offers.
"If you imagine Star Trek fans watching
all three movies in a row, you don't want
them to feel radically different. So I
expect we'll be adding grain to lend the
whole movie a more organic feel. I don't
add grain to a lot of movies I [grade]
that are set in modern day, but I think

American Cinematographer

*|*
that organic feeling is really
important to Justin - and I
now have grain tools that are
really nice and precise for doing
it a number of different ways.
We can sometimes composite
grain and do generated grain;
there are a few plug-ins out
there that are really great."
Another subtle element of the
process will involve ensuring the
color accuracy of the famous
Starfleet uniforms. "We liked
[the color schemes] of the first
two movies," Reiser says, "and I noticed
from watching them that a lot of it
came out of the production design and
costumes. The fans really know those
tones - they know exactly what color
the shirts should be. So I expect on a
final pass, I'll be doing plenty of
windows to make sure we have just the
right blue and just the right red. That
can actually be a big challenge in timing
a movie like this - to get that stuff
consistent throughout - because they
shot from so many different angles,
with different light, and with so much
action going on."
Reiser knew that he would face a
major grading challenge with a
sequence featuring a swarm of ships
attacking the Enterprise, and the corresponding red-alert emergency-light
effect that was achieved on-set by way
of complex LED techniques. He notes
that difficulties arise because such
sequences involve "so much atmosphere, and atmosphere doesn't
behave. Sometimes you get a lot of
atmosphere and sometimes you get
none. When they go to red alert, the
lights drop and the ship is damaged.
I'm sure I'll be doing some keys to
match practicals on cuts for that
sequence, and creating plenty of
windows to help out the atmosphere,
[adding] contrast here and there."
-Michael Goldman



American Cinematographer - August 2016

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - August 2016

Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Intro
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 1
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 2
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Contents
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 4
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 5
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 6
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 7
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 8
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 9
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 10
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 11
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 12
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 13
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 14
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 15
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 16
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 17
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 18
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 19
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 20
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 21
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 22
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 23
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 24
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 25
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 26
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 27
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 28
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 29
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 30
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 31
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 32
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 33
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 34
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 35
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 36
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 37
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 38
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 39
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 40
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 41
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 42
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 43
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 44
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 45
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 46
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 47
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 48
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 49
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 50
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 51
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 52
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 53
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 54
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 55
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 56
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 57
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 58
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 59
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 60
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 61
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 62
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 63
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 64
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 65
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 66
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 67
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 68
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 69
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 70
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 71
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 72
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 73
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 74
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 75
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 76
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 77
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 78
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 79
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 80
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 81
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 82
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 83
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 84
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 85
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American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 87
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - 88
American Cinematographer - August 2016 - Cover3
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