February 9, 2012
By Kelvin Ong
2D Blackmagic Design color grading Company 3 DaVinci Resolve IMAX 3D Lakeshore Entertainment Resolve Control Surface Screen Gems Siggy Ferstl Sketch Films under Underworld series underworld: awakening
Fremont, California – Blackmagic Design announced that Company 3 used its DaVinci Resolve with Resolve Control Surface for color grading the 2D, 3D and IMAX 3D versions of Underworld: Awakening, produced by Screen Gems and Lakeshore Entertainment’s, in association with Sketch Films.
Senior Colorist Siggy Ferstl at Company 3’s Santa Monica facility worked with the filmmakers to help bring a refreshed look to the new installment of this popular series. Known previously for its overall cold, steely, blue feel, the world of Awakening is somewhat different. “The creative team was intent on building a bold new look for the franchise, especially since this is the first 3D installment,” says Ferstl. “Of course, being part of the Underworld series, a lot of the story takes place in darkness with characters who are often dressed in very dark costumes. We used color a lot to help the viewer differentiate between people, vampires and Lycans, often during intense, fast-paced action scenes.”
Shot by cinematographer Kevan, the original material, Ferstl recalls, “had very rich, deep blacks. The wealth of information in the shadows gave me a tremendous amount to work with during color grading. It was great to have so much to work with in the darker areas of the frame and such control in Resolve to finesse things.”
“This is especially important for a stereoscopic film,” he adds. “Today’s 3D projection technology can’t display whites as brightly as we’re used to in 2D, so if we want to see a lot of contrast on the screen, it has to come from the darker areas.”
Ferstl explains how he made extensive use of Resolve’s parallel node function to help fine tune the film’s look. “If you give the scene an overall cold, blue look, of course you lose a lot of your warmer tones,” he notes. “The richness of red, say in blood, will be lost. But by using parallel nodes, I can very efficiently give a scene that colder feel in one node and then bring back certain information from an earlier node. This way, the shot can have a kind of blue feel overall but the blood can still retain that powerful red color it had before I added the blue ‘wash.'”