DoP's relationship with Colorist (3 replies and 3 comments)
I'm new to the game and was wondering what the relationship between the director of photography and the colorist was like. Does the dp have any input on how he/she would like to color grade the image to give off this certain look? Or does it solely involve the colorist?
Also, are there times where you build the look you want on camera/set and then enhance it on post?
Thanks for your time!
Since the photographic look is the job of the cinematographer, of course they have input!
Thanks for the reply, although I do have a follow-up question: Is this a sit-down process where they both work/guide each other to reach the look they want? Or does it consist of the colorist doing it by himself knowing what the dp wants it to look like, and then showing it to the dp to check if that's the look he desired?
I believe many people might work differently, but this is the way we work.
Roger is setting the look on set and works to capture it as closely to what he envisions as possible.
The timer can prep the material by putting the DI lut on and possibly evening it out but he or she is not changing the overall look.
We got into the DI suite and sit with the timer and go through it, scene by scene, reel by reel. We do a first pass. In this, the timer is our "hands" on the software with Roger telling them what it is he wants. The timer may suggest different ways of using the software to achieve this, but the decision is ultimately Roger's.
After we do a first pass, the director joins us and views it with us and we make any tweaks necessary. Because we've captured it as closely as possible to the final look, any tweaks tend to be minor. But it is the director's film so we incorporate his thoughts. Ultimately, we want what he wants.
There are timers out there who claim they "created the look" to a film which has never been our experience. But we only know our workflow.
We also are involved in the timing of all the different deliverables, such as IMAX, HDR, DVD, etc. Generally the timer applies an overall trim for the media but we find there needs to be a little tweaking to make it look the same as the DI. The DI becomes the guide for all these versions.
Hope that makes sense!
Thanks so much for your reply, getting to learn about you and Roger's workflow is not only very insightful but really cool. I really appreciate your reply, you certainly knocked out any doubts and questions I had!!
There are a number of ways to work with the colorist and it also depends on whether you are talking about a feature, a TV series, a commercial, etc. And there is also the issue of time, which is expensive.
One method, for example, would be for the DP to sit with the colorist and color-correct together one shot from each scene to set the look and mood, and then let the colorist finish the scenes, and then come back and start going through the colorist's work shot by shot. Another would be to start from scratch and be there for the entire process with the colorist. However, some things in correction are time-consuming, like tracking a window on a moving shot, which is why a DP might leave and come back later.
I'm on a TV series where I've worked with the same colorist now for four years so he knows the look. I send him notes on the cut episode, he does a complete pass, then I review it with him.
Thanks so much for your reply, it was very insightful and definitely cleared any questions I had left!