Colorworks, Sony Pictures Entertainment’s full-service digital intermediate (DI) facility located on its historic lot in Culver City, provided 3D postproduction services for Priest, Screen Gems’ post-apocalyptic action/horror film that will be released in theaters nationwide, May 13.
Work at Colorworks included scanning of original camera negative at 4K, using the facility’s Scanity film scanners, and 4K color grading of both versions of the film. Colorist Trent Johnson, who previously worked with director Scott Stewart on Legion and cinematographer Don Burgess on Eight Below, became involved in the film during pre-production to help establish its bleak atmosphere.
“The look of the film is never very comforting,” Johnson said. “Even the exteriors, which are lit by kerosene lamps, are dark and menacing.” Part of the challenge in grading the film was integrating CG effects, which included several vampire characters.
Johnson graded the 2D version of the film first, and then applied the color treatment to left and right eye streams for the 3D. That required a certain amount of finessing to allow for the spatial difference between the two streams and the relative low light of 3D projection systems. “It’s about one-fourth of normal film projection light,” Johnson notes. “Because of that, you have to boost the color correction quite a bit.”
Priest is set in an alternate world – one ravaged by centuries of war between man and vampires. The story revolves around a legendary Warrior Priest (Paul Bettany) from the last Vampire War who now lives in obscurity among the other downtrodden human inhabitants in walled-in dystopian cities ruled by the Church. When his niece (Lily Collins) is abducted by a murderous pack of vampires, Priest breaks his sacred vows to venture out on an obsessive quest to find her before they turn her into one of them. He is joined on his crusade by his niece’s boyfriend (Cam Gigandet), a trigger-fingered young wasteland sheriff, and a former Warrior Priestess (Maggie Q) who possesses otherworldly fighting skills.