A colorist/grader is responsible for the individual look and color correction of images in film, television and advertising. To create desired moods on the screen, he digitally sets shadows or highlights & enhances/minimizes contrasts as well as colors.
On our current film "RÉSISTANCE - WIDERSTAND" there were even two colorists at work: Bianca and Florian "Utsi".
The two of them worked together as a team, which is extremely unusual. In an interview about their work on RÉSISTANCE - WIDERSTAND, they explain what makes their collaboration unique worldwide and how they support the dramaturgy of a film immensely with the help of colors.
Between Psychology & Creativity - The interview with Bianca Rudolph and Florian Martin.
You are colorists. How would you describe your work in one sentence?
Grading is an element that the viewer doesn't notice, but at the same time it supports the scenes and feelings of the film immensely with color and thus makes an emotional impact on the viewer.
What role does the look play?
The look, like music, has significant potential to affect us emotionally in a scene. It puts the viewer in the mood and time of the film, is closely linked to the vision of the director and cinematographer, and must harmonize with the actors' performance. Grading, for example, offers a great deal of scope for intensifying suspense arcs. However, the colors are an invisible part of the narrative process and should not be conspicuous.
What mood should the grading of RÉSISTANCE - WIDERSTAND convey?
We wanted to translate the film look of negatives and prints from the era in which the film is set into a modern world.
What do you remember most about the grading of RÉSISTANCE - WIDERSTAND?
The most elaborate was definitely the chase scene in the forest towards the end of the film. Here we had to keep trying new approaches to create a gloomy night scene out of the artificial snow & bright sunshine during the shoot. The grading was a lot of fun, because we were able to intensively shape the intensity of the scene by making the smallest adjustments in the grading.
What is special about your collaboration?
Usually a lead colorist works on a project together with one or more assistants. We work on many international projects, like RÉSISTANCE - WIDERSTAND, as a team. That is, we work as two lead colorists on a film at the same time. This is something unique worldwide and only works because we speak the same visual language & of course we like to work together! ;)
Could you actually still enjoy a film normally without thinking about the grading?
It's not so easy to turn off your head in the cinema. You live the profession a lot. Every colorist has his or her own approach, and you like to compare how others in the industry handle colors. However, it's also always exciting to see a new project jumpstart the scene with a novel look.
What do you find most important about being a colorist?
The key to being a good colorist for us is communication & openness to new ideas. Since everyone has different color tastes and perceptions, the grader often acts as a mediator between the parties here, offering advice with their own creativity.