Supervising senior colorist Todd Bochner, of L.A.-based postproduction facility Modern VideoFilm is relying on DaVinci Resolve for color correction on FOX’s hit television show Sleepy Hollow. Bochner has developed a highly stylized look for the show, and has to deliver on tight deadlines.
In this modern day twist on Washington Irving’s classic, Ichabod Crane is resurrected and pulled two-and-a-half centuries through time to unravel a mystery that dates all the way back to the founding fathers. Revived alongside Ichabod is the infamous Headless Horseman who is on a murderous rampage in present day Sleepy Hollow. Ichabod realizes that stopping Headless is just the beginning, as the resurrected rider is just the first of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and only one of the many formidable foes that Ichabod must face to protect not only Sleepy Hollow, but the world.
“The look of the show and of Sleepy Hollow is very specific, and we’ve had fun working with the producers to achieve their vision,” said Bochner. “They’ve asked us to push outside the box, and Resolve makes it possible to stretch the limits on looks. I never have to say ‘no’ or ‘we can’t do that’ to the client.”
Depending on the scene, the look can go from cool, dark and moody to warm, full and rich, all while maintaining a cinematic tone. With such a range in looks, Todd cites Resolve’s unlimited nodes, tracking feature and Power Windows as essential tools.
“The unlimited node workflow is fantastic because I am constantly creating new looks for scenes,” Bochner explained. “I can drum up one look, and the producers might want to try this or that, and I’ll throw a new node on or build it in that node. If they love it, I can easily apply it to all the other cuts in the scene. Or we can try something different. The versioning feature lets me quickly come up with numerous looks.”
“Resolve’s workflow is incredible because I’m never limited. There are 10 different ways to do everything, which opens up so many creative possibilities,” he continued. “I’m always trying to come up with different looks for different times of day or flashbacks, using lens blur effects, adding grain and sculpting lights. Resolve lets me keep developing creatively.”
Because of the show’s supernatural subject matter, Sleepy Hollow incorporates a large number of special effects, and Resolve helps Todd navigate effects during color correction.
“A lot of things that used to happen in compositing are now happening in color,” Bochner said. “Resolve’s Power Windows and window tracking are so valuable because they are fast and precise, and I use them constantly. The alpha mattes are priceless because it’s a very special effects heavy show. Being able to pull mattes from the compositors to separate foregrounds from backgrounds is fantastic.
“The client responds well when you can show them a practically unlimited number of looks and effects,” he continued. “You don’t get the turnaround time in television that you get in features. Being able to quickly offer a million different combinations at the same time is so valuable.”