What inspired you to go into the world of colour?
It was a gradual journey, in all honesty. I came from a broad creative background in photography, design and film. At University I spent alot of time making experimental films and manipulating imagery and colour was a huge part of that creative process. When I entered the post-production world in 2010, the role of a Colourist was the one that really felt like the best fit for me as an artist and person. It’s been a brilliantly challenging and rewarding career choice and I love it.
Talk us through your favourite piece of grade work and why?
Stonewall’s ‘Proud Mistletoe’ campaign is a recent job I’m immensely proud of. It was recently nominated at the British Arrows for Best Colour Grade, and that alone is a career highlight. This film was about standing up to hatred with Pride, so the film really needed to be vibrant, colourful and eye-catching. This was achieved by creating a rich and balanced image, with a strong dynamic contrast. I then worked to enhance or introduce whatever colours of the rainbow I could, in a way that would always feel natural alongside what was in camera. Lastly, for the final touch of quality I used a variety of techniques to texturise the image to ensure it felt cinematic and premium.
Describe your creative process?
My aim for every job is to create something that exceeds expectations. From a subjective perspective I need to fully understand what the director is trying to achieve to effectively judge where my talents can have the most impact on a particular project.
I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to building my grades and managing as much as I can in my global layers, avoiding the use of keys and shapes unless essential. This same technique can also be used to create shoot LUTs, and project LUTs for VFX pipelines. The aim is to create a simple but strong base for 90% of the grade and then polish above or beneath it depending on what exactly it is I’m doing to the image. Having a philosophy makes me quicker, as I know exactly what I want to do to my image and where that sits in my recipe. Additionally, approaching the grade in this way allows the complexity of the grade to be scaled up or down depending on the time, budget and workflow on a project.
What has been inspiring you?
So much inspires me in different ways. Cinema, and a love of storytelling, inspired me onto the journey that has brought me here today. Runners inspire me. Each and everyone of them has a dream and a passion and is working hard to achieve it. They remind me of my own ambitions, and that keeps pushing me to be better every day. My peers inspire me. There are so many talented Colourists worldwide, and all of them produce eye-catching work. Every day I see something on Instagram that inspires me to try new things and broaden my skillset.
Are there any trends in the industry that are exciting you as a Colourist?
Colour isn’t the most accessible sector in this industry, but it is considerably more accessible now than when I started in 2010. It’s also got a long way to go to be more inclusive and diverse, but it has started to head in the right direction. We are already seeing the benefit of its relative accessibility with a rapidly expanding generation of Colourists, all of whom produce beautiful work. Also, a broader community of Colourists all open to sharing knowledge and expertise can only be a good thing. Long may that continue!