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Modern movie finishing by Alexa Maza, FilmLight W ritten and directed by Neill Blomkamp, Elysium is a new science fiction movie starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. Set in the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined planet. Digital Film Central, based in Vancouver, was given the task of post producing the movie. It put together a colour and conform workflow that tightly integrated editorial, effects, colour and conform, and digital intermediate delivery. The workflow was based around the Baselight colour grading platform from FilmLight, which gave Central’s senior DI colorist Andrea Chlebak complete creative freedom to create the final look for the film. 56 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 85 JANUARY 2014 Collaborating closely with Image Engine, the lead VFX house, Central was involved in the production from the early stages. “As a very heavy VFX movie, it was vital that colour was handled properly from the get- go,” said Chlebak. “As part of that process, I naturally became involved in discussions with Neill about the look of the film, and we connected on his vision for Elysium.” Director Neill Blomkamp emphasised that “the aesthetic for Elysium was incredibly important to me. A lot of Andrea’s instincts were in line with mine, and that just makes for a very seamless, smooth process.” The guiding theme behind the colour design was the two distinct worlds. “We were most interested in the look we wanted to create for the two worlds: the Earth in the year 2154, and the incredible-looking space station, Elysium,” explained Chlebak. “A lot was already there from the photography and art direction, so I studied those styles and started to work with Neill on Baselight, creating a handful of different and interesting looks to help enhance each scene.” Before the VFX work began, the team wanted to know what the final look of the film was going to be, so Central identified a few hero shots and pre-graded them in Baselight under Blomkamp’s direction. These looks were then carried over to the VFX team and distributed to all departments, allowing them to preview their composites. “At first we did all of the pre-grading for VFX plates with the VFX supervisor, grading 50 or 100 shots at any one time,” recalled Chlebak. “With him knowing what was coming in terms of effects and me knowing what the final look of that scene was going to be, we were able to work together to optimise the pre-grade for both VFX and DI simultaneously.