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Wandering Colourists



>>Kevin, you used to work in Geneva, and now you're in London, and I
gather you've worked in the states at some point?  I was wondering if
you could share your impressions of the differences in clientele, and
what it's like to be a colourist, in Europe. 

In fact I have held full time positions in London, Milan, and Zurich and have
worked freelance in a variety of places from Los Angeles to Hong Kong. I am now
freelance only, working a few days still in London, but  most of the time in
Europe. 

My impression is that clients the world over are very similar. It is the
attitude facilities that are vastly different. This of course has a big effect
on what clients will ask for, and expect.

At the risk of making sweeping generalisations (oh why not?) I would say that
the London market is very aware of what can be done by colourists, and clients
are quite specific about how grading should be done. " can you cursor the
grass", "we'll need a grad on the sky", or "can you crush the blacks and push
the contrast"
There are 2 worrying trends here. One is that newbies start asking for "more of
a golden look, but do not let it get warm" and (my favourite) "I'd like it warm
and blue". Anybody else got some favourite requests?  The other trend is "oh
don't worry we'll sort it out in flame". I have tried colour grading on flame,
and I think it is not only slow and awkward, but there are some things which we
do that are just not feasible on Flame, (or  Henry or indeed Cineon)

The European market on the otherhand is not so sophisticated yet, and are more
open in there attitude. Typically " It should look like a sunny afternoon,
about 4.30", or "this needs a street cred style" or (my fave) " Can you make it
in the style of Ansel Adams/Pierre et Gilles/Monet/etc etc). 

Thats not to say that the London crowd do not appreciate the colourists skills,
it is more to do with the Time factor.Often Colourists are slaves of deadlines.
In London jobs are often back to back (and underbooked) and there is little
time to try too much. Creative input is often restricted to a 1 hour test, so
thet decisions have been made by the time the session is booked. Of course
there are often scenes that need a great deal of creativity to get them to work
at all !!

All the jobs I've done in Europe have been much more relaxed, albeit with
financial restraints. The result is that every job is treated as if it were
"for the reel".

And before somebody points it out, yes I know England is a part of Europe, but
really it is apart from Europe. 

Over to you....

Kevin
on the road 

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