Grading Temple - Making the future look vintage


Simon Allard TV-Bay Magazine
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Cineground's Simon Allard and Nguyen Anh Nguyen reveal how they used Kowa lenses and an atypical approach to grading to give their new sci-fi cyberpunk thriller, "Temple" a unique vintage look.

Created by the same indie team behind "The Akira Project," a viral trailer which garnered more than three million views online in 2014, "Temple" is a new science fiction cyberpunk thriller that many have been very excited about.

Set in 2085, the short tells the story of Oz, a health services employee who must find a way to survive in a world where a genetic virus and cybernetic beings are threatening to extinguish the human population.

Postproduction supervisor Simon Allard and director Nguyen Anh Nguyen used DaVinci Resolve Studio to grade the final film. Together, they made a surprising choice for the final result: deciding to steer clear of the typical cold blue and green tones found in many science fiction feature films, they opted for a warmer color palette, tungsten lighting and a vintage aesthetic instead.

Humanizing Science Fiction

"I watched every sci-fi movie out there to prepare myself for this project, and realized that most were very clean, shot with these gorgeous super expensive master anamorphics, which leaves everything looking sterile," begins director Nguyen Anh Nguyen. "I wanted the film we made to buck that trend. I wanted to give science fiction a makeover, combining an old vintage look with a high tech world."

One of the main influences for the look came from the decision to shoot "Temple" with anamorphic vintage Kowa lenses from the early seventies, the same Nguyen had used to great effect on the trailer for "Akira".

"Anh actually pushed the shoot back twice just to make sure that he could have those lenses," remembers Allard. "They're really highly appreciated because they're not that sharp, and enhance the vintage, seventies look we'd wanted to give the film."

"We set many scenes to have more red and orange tones, enhanced by the use of tungsten lighting," explains Nguyen. "This made all of the characters feel more real, more human, even though the world they inhabited is populated by cyborgs. Then, when the main character, Oz, gets into a fight we subtly shift the hue further towards blue because his state of mind has changed. He's become less human through his acts of violence."

Color Correction

To create the final grade for "Temple," Allard began by referencing the look up tables (LUTs) made on set by DIT Sean Sweeney, whose film credits included "X-Men: Days of Future Past".

"Those LUTs were the base for the grade," tells Allard. "From there I'd say 80 percent of the final grade was done using only primary corrections. I also almost never touched the mid tones, instead I aimed to keep them at around +/- 10 percent, the level where the BMDFILM initial lookup table put them, and only pulled the highlights to bring everything up to the top end of the curve. This gave us some nice pockets of texture on the skins and the environments. Finally, we added some 4K film grain in at the very end of the process to make the film more uniform, which really helped complete some of the shots where we used noise reduction and lost some image texture as a result."

"I've been working with Resolve for years now because it's one of the best intuitive solutions that you can get out there today," Allard concludes. "The fact that aside from our work on noise reduction, we could have easily graded the entirety of 'Temple' on the free version of Resolve is amazing to me. It's the democratization of technology."


Tags: iss111 | blackmagic | grading | temple | resolve | davinci | Simon Allard
Contributing Author Simon Allard

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