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HomeIndustry SectorFilmDirty Looks Relies on Baselight for New Scarlett Johansson Film Under the...

Dirty Looks Relies on Baselight for New Scarlett Johansson Film Under the Skin


LR-Under the SkinLondon-based color grading studio Dirty Looks, which specializes in Baselight grading for independent movies, recently handled the finishing of Under the Skin – the latest movie from director Jonathan Glazer, starring Scarlett Johansson. Visual effects were completed by Dirty Looks’ creative partner, One of Us, which shares the same building.

The film, shot in Glasgow and rural Scotland, was captured by cinematographer Daniel Landin on the ARRI Alexa and one-cam, a unique small cinema-quality digital camera, specifically developed by One of Us for covert shooting in Glasgow’s city-center. Custom color science was developed to enable the footage from the two cameras to sit together in the edit and be used in Baselight to help balance the feel of the footage.

As visual effects developed they were regularly conformed and worked on in a 2K grading environment, allowing the look to evolve while keeping creative options open.

“Combining technical resources allowed a quick turnaround between creative departments and helped us deliver what this film needed, not only quickly but to the highest standards,” explained Dirty Looks’ Tom Balkwill. “The efficient workflow from VFX, aided by the Baselight integration, meant quality never had to be compromised.”

Colorist John Claude handled the color grading. “I worked closely with Jonathan Glazer to achieve the look that felt right,” he commented. “He was very clear that it should be rooted in an everyday Glaswegian reality.”

“The balance in the grade was naturalistic, in-the-street cinematography, then more stylized as we took the viewer through some of the more curious, unsettling sequences,” he added. “The blue ‘swimmer’ sequences, when one of Scarlett’s victims is under the pit, were quite challenging, but made easier with Baselight’s matte-layer stack management.”

Balkwill pointed to another key scene that represented a huge technical challenge. “In this scene Johansson’s face emerges from an accumulation of street visions – a very complicated montage made up of 93 blended 2K layers. This sequence could only be finished with Baselight, because each individual layer needed its own tweaks in stabilizing and grading. You absolutely need the power of Baselight to achieve what we did for Under the Skin.”

Under the Skin will be released April 4 in the U.S. and March 14 in the U.K.

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