Dave ‘Luddy’ Ludlam joined The Mill in Los Angeles this summer as Senior Colourist. A Londoner born and bred, Luddy is a character that needs no introduction… but here’s one anyway.
How it all began:
Ask my mum and dad…!
Well, it’s like anything really; you fall into it not knowing until you’re actually there… I think you’re a very lucky person if you think at any age, ‘I’m going to be such and such’. Originally, I wanted to be an editor but when I joined The Mill in 1990 I saw color grading for the first time. When I sat down and saw the instant creative process – I like to see my results quite quickly – I thought, ‘That’s me’.
Now I can look back and see a link: my father was in the photographic business in development, doing stuff for [David] Bailey, [Lord Patrick] Lichfield & [Lord] Snowdon, and now I can see where it came from. I used to go with him down to the labs but he didn’t encourage me to go down the same route. When I saw the film in telecine I realized it was something I could relate to.
Where you learnt your craft:
At The Mill! I was Ferg and Adam’s [Fergus McCall, Head of Colour (NY) and Adam Scott, Head of Colour (LA)] assistant for about a year and a half. I trained off those guys; they’re very good in training you very technically, and therefore gave me a very good technical grounding. From there I established my own client base.
Biggest influencers on your career:
Adam and Ferg! And directors Malcom Venville, Adrain Moat,Richard Ayoade, Stuart Rideout and Jake Scott. They were the first people who trusted me and gave me my first big breaks in the business who I have great relationships with to this day. Also, Steph Perry, my partner at Framestore. We were a pretty tight-knit partnership. He deserves a good nod for putting up with me up for 16 years!
3. Godley and Creme ‘Cry’ (dir. Kevin Godley and Lol Creme)
4. U2 ‘Staring at the Sun’ (dir. Morleigh Steinberg)
5. Chemical Brothers ‘Let Forever Be’ (dir. Michel Gondry)
Biggest change in the industry since your career began:
The data. Two – one was digital, going from analog to digital, then digital to data. Two massive changes! God knows what’s gonna be next – I wish I new, I’d be a rich man! I think we’ve got a good 15 years yet, hopefully I’ll be retiring by the next one.
Analog to digital was an easier transition, but digital to data was a complete change – a lot more complex to get your head around. Going from digital to data gave me a new lease of life – at the time I was scared of it but it’s good that you move on. I enjoyed it. I’d been doing what I do for 20 years and it was nice to have that next progression – nice to have a new start. It’s quicker, more fluid. And it refreshes your mind and your enthusiasm for the business.
Top 5 films:
Blade Runner (dir. Ridley Scott)
The Big Lebowski (dir. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen)
Magnolia (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
Quadrophenia (dir. Franc Roddam)
Dumb and Dumber (dir. Peter Farrelly, Bobby Farrelly)
Los Angeles or …
Beats by Dre Presents: LeBron James in RE-ESTABLISHED 2014
See more of Dave's projects on his colourist reel here.