TV-BAY questions Jason R Moffat


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Name & Title: Jason R Moffat, Colourist
Who are you (about yourself and who you work for)?
I’m a film colourist living in London, I mainly work on independent fiction features, shorts and commercials from my Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve based studio, where I do most of my work.
What do you do? What does your company do?
The work I do is specifically related to the image. Working with the director and cinematographer of a film or commercial, I manipulate the image through colour, contrast and many other hopefully invisible tricks and changes, to bring visual harmony to the piece.
Tell me a little about your previous experience, what you've worked on and with up to your current position?
I originally came from a photographic and restoration background, with plenty of hours working on images ranging from the last available damaged negatives of old paintings to fashion photography. About 12 years ago I began working on moving image projects, initially in animation. Since then I’ve gradually transitioned to working from my own grading suite, from here I’m lucky enough to work on an impossibly varied amount of work, with a variety of people from the very public, to the virtually unknown, all of whom contribute in their own unique way to the world of the moving image, which I could not have hoped for, working for a post-house.
Briefly detail a project you’ve recently completed?
Phone Swap came to my studio late in December 2011 through director Kunle Afolayan, Nigeria’s rising star of the Nollywood film industry, and all-round nice bloke. I spent the first 20 years of my life in Africa, so I was excited to be involved in a project with filmmakers culturally near to where I grew up. The light is also quite particular over there, and I was looking forward to rediscovering that in a grading environment. There were also some great set pieces, which I saw a lot of potential in. The richness of colour in the rural scenes was fantastic too. For the most part the palette of the film was driven through production design, which helped separate the locations and lifestyles of the characters, and played a big role in the look and feel of the film. The primary goal of the grade was to enhance what was already there, so these spaces became more apparent, as well as ensuring the film had its own personality in terms of an overall look and feel.
What specific project(s) do you have in the works?
There are a few busy months ahead. Two features, one British art film and an Italian comedy feature, about five shorts commissioned by a variety of sources including Film4, and a series of fashion commercials.
What new technology are you working with?
Amongst many gadgets of the trade, the two newest arrivals over the last couple of years is a real-time Mac based DaVinci Resolve grading system, linked up to a mammoth new Penta HD2Line Pro 32 inch grading display.
During your career in post what was the biggest “turning point” into new technology?
For my particular job it was the availability of a fully kitted out, real-time grading suite (including screen, control surface, machine and storage) for under £50,000. It was unthinkable at the time that a system that was previously close to the cost of a house, was now closer to the cost of a car. The cost and efficiency improvements of most of the technologies involved have made this possible.
What is your favourite / least favourite things about working in post?
My favourite thing is the actual art of grading and the variety of people I meet and work with every week. The hours can suck sometimes though.
What gets you out of bed in the morning to go to work?
The rubbish on the radio wakes me up, and the prospect of helping a few tired, and possibly jaded, filmmakers see their film come back to life gets me out of bed.

Tags: iss064 | blackmagic | phone swap | colourist | davinci resolve | grading | N/A
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