X-MEN Dailies Colorist Adrian DeLude
Throughout the production of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC was able to bring an exceptional amount of his intended "look" to the dailies, which enabled director Bryan Singer and all the department heads to see a representation of what the final images could look like while shooting was ongoing. Production captured in ARRIRAW with three, 3D rigs comprised of ALEXA Ms and ALEXA XTs for 2D work. Dailies work for X-MEN was all done out of a completely mobile grading theater provided by EC3 - the dailies services unit which combines the resources of Deluxe's Company 3 and EFILM.
Shot on ALEXA Ms in stereoscopic with ALEXA XTs in ARRIRAW by Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC.
Final color grading would ultimately be done in a theater at Company 3's Santa Monica location by frequent Sigel collaborator Stephen Nakamura but during production the cinematographer could step a few feet from the set and visit the EC3 Trailer—a Star Waggon converted into a travelling facility, complete with a plush projection room, color corrector, machine room—and discuss his ideas with veteran dailies colorist Adrian DeLude during lunch and after wrap. DeLude, in turn, could step onto the set and see how Sigel was lighting a scene.
This arrangement allowed Sigel a far more interactive process with his dailies colorist than he'd have communicating with a colorist at a far-off post house by phone and even fast internet connections. By working with a highly-experienced dailies colorist, Sigel could take his color ideas further than normal by experimenting with more controls than the simple lift, gamma, gain, saturation tools normally used by colorists. DeLude used Blackmagic Design's Resolve toolset to build chroma- and luminance- keys as well as multiple Power Windows and many other tools generally confined to the final grading process.
"We had two looks," DeLude explains. "The future was kind of a cold, desaturated and clean look. For the parts that take place in the 1970s, Tom was really into a kind of 'Kodachrome' look. He brought in a lot of samples of photography of the day and we would make the ALEXA footage look like those pictures. So we would chroma-key the highlights and add a little softness to those areas. Then we'd take greens and push them more towards yellow-green. We'd isolate blues to give us a 'Pan Am' blue based on the airline logo. We would take the reds and give it a rich, primary red look. It was really extensive what we did and that was even before we did the 3D pass so people could see projected stereoscopic dailies.
"For the final," DeLude continues, "Tom took a lot of the material a whole different way. But it was a great experience to be able to work with someone who's both so technical and creative and be able to help him work out his ideas. I've been a dailies colorist for over eight years and this was one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs I've ever worked on."
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