August 7, 2013
By Melody Uy
Beijing, China – Blackmagic Design today announced that DaVinci Resolve was used for color correction on the coming of age comedy The Kings of Summer. Distributed in the U.S. by CBS Films, the indie darling, which premiered to rave reviews at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and opened in theaters across the U.S. on May 31, tells the story of three teenage friends who decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.
Hollywood based production and post production facility, Blacklist Digital, worked closely with director Jordan Vogt Roberts from pre production, creating data workflows, handling data storage and on set transcoding, as well as testing the workflow through to post to ensure the resulting footage delivered on Jordan’s vision.
“We used Resolve for much of the pre production process,” said Tims Johnson, owner of Blacklist Digital. “From the beginning, we were ingesting footage, color testing and creating dailies with Resolve. We had footage from two different cameras mixed, so the ingest was transcoded to Avid DNxHD 36 footage that was later reconnected back to RAW. Resolve is very good at supporting multiple file formats and allows us to pretty much link anything we want. Working in RAW and having access to metadata is very important for us in post.”
Once in post, Blacklist Digital’s head colorist, Narbeh Tatoussian, was tasked with creating a cinematic, picturesque and vintage look for the film. Narbeh benefitted from Resolve’s unlimited nodes, often using upwards of 10, and sometimes even up to 20 nodes on the majority of the shots. Resolve’s unlimited node based image processing, where each node can have color correction, Power Windows and effects, provided Narbeh with the creative freedom to achieve a truly artistic look.
In one particular scene, the further the actors travel into the forest, the more the mood changes, and the color of the forest changes to reflect it. Resolve allowed Narbeh to create very specific looks and subtly change the colors of the leaves and trees by fine tuning the greens.
“By having the metadata and powerful tools available in Resolve to bring the reds out while taking the yellows down, it was more like painting instead of traditional color correction. I was able to track four different Power Windows in one mask and have a 12 node setup where five of the nodes were tracking. And it was all in 4K on P3 color space RAW in real time, which is amazing,” said Narbeh. “During the conform, I composited grain on top of the color correction and was able to control it to create just the right cinematic look. People even asked if it was shot on film because it looked so authentic.”
Because the footage was shot with an anamorphic lens, Narbeh was also responsible for creating a cinematic depth of field in the montage sequences, which he achieved using a combination of curves with color picking, blurring, sharpening and mist in Resolve.
“The tools are all there in Resolve to help you creatively deliver on what the director and DP want, you just have to use your imagination,” concluded Narbeh.