My Last Project in Melbourne
I've been freelancing as a colourist for 3 years, prior to that I was working at Digital Pictures in Melbourne.
When I started freelancing I decided it would be worth a shot to invest in my own grading set up. This way I could freelance, in the traditional way, visiting post houses when I was booked but also have the option to work from my own studio for other projects.
This worked out really well. It wasn't a threat to the larger companies because the work I was doing in my place was fairly low budget.
That actually reminds me; I was 'allegedly' accused by one of the managers of a large Melbourne company to be "ruining the industry" by charging such a low fee. It wasn't a low fee actually, it covered my overheads (which were pretty small because it was just me and my machine) and paid my rent. I kind of liked the idea that someone thought I had the power to ruin the industry although if I had that kind of power then I would use it for constructive not destructive purposes. It sounds very noble writing it down like that but it's actually true.
I got side tracked but that tends to happen with me. I was brought up watching Ronnie Corbett on 'The Two Ronnies' so it's not entirely my fault.
Where was I? Oh yeah, my own studio.
So that grew fairly rapidly over the 3 years. I eventually went from a sole trader to becoming a company. 'Raygun Studios' I decided to call it. This of course had nothing to do with my line of work I just really like science fiction. At the beginning of 2014 I moved into a new studio space. In a later post I'll talk about that because I really want to show you some photos and tell you why it was the best colour grading studio in Australia. For me.
Today I finished grading my last project in at Raygun.
This project was an arts based project for David Rosetzky called Gaps. I've worked on a few projects with David and he is hard work. Now, I'm allowed to say that because HE says he is hard work! I do need to let you know that he's good hard work not bad hard work.
David has a V E R Y specific requirement for his work. Yeah, ok, we all do I guess but David's eye for detail and colour continuity hurts my head. My head feels that way only because he's pushing me to a level of exactness that I don't generally require for commercial work.
I need to quickly clarify that before it's misinterpreted to 'I don't give a damn'
With commercial work you have one very clear enemy - time. The budgets don't exist that allow the luxury to work and rework an image. Now this is where the clarification is very important: There are multiple levels in the finessing of grading and colour matching. These need to be tailored to the budget (unfortunately) Generally, when you are fortunate enough to work with a professional colourist that level of finessing is pretty damn good. We get used to fencing with time, (Foils, Epees and Sabres not timber and colour bond) so you end up with lots of quality for the time that is allowed for. Hopefully.
In the realm of an arts based project the budget is always stupendously tight. I tend to go into those projects well aware that I'm doing it purely for the love of it. As a result, I work and rework the images with David until they sit on a knife edge of colour matching and, in the case of his work, a very naturalistic finish.
I always find that after I've finished a project with David I've had my eyes re-calibrated. I went into a commercial session once straight after working with David and I was making these minute adjustments. They were so small that the director eventually asked "Are you actually changing anything there"?
David's latest project 'Gaps' is playing at ACMI and then at Carriage works in Sydney later in the year.
Tomorrow I'm going to clear all my gear out of Raygun but I'll make sure I get some photos for you beforehand.