MPC NY colorist James Tillett completed the grade for director Jon Watts’ thriller Cop Car, which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah and releases in theatres across America this weekend. The 86-minute film, starring Kevin Bacon as a corrupt police officer, follows two 10-year olds who steal a seemingly abandoned car.
Working on Baselight, Tillett created scene-to-scene consistency, subtle enhancements, and gradual progression in the color palette used to carry the narrative to its chaotic final scenes.
Given the film was shot on ARRI Alexa, Tillett set out to craft a filmic, natural look and feel in the grade that would be true to the photography. In collaboration with director of photography Matthew Lloyd, Tillett tested the initial looks to form the basis of the finished DI before finessing the final look for the big screen.
“As the film was shot mainly outdoors under natural light, a lot of the work was about balancing and evening out variations in the light,” said Tillett. “This was most relevant in the final scene. We had to create a transition from dusk to night over a series of shots that were filmed out of sequence under varying lighting conditions. As a film colorist, we are at the final point of the project process and have the chance to refine and achieve the best variations in color, per the cinematographer’s vision, for overall impact on the audience.”
“To have a colorist as talented and self sufficient as James was a real blessing,” said Lloyd. “From the minute I walked in the room the film was in great shape. This sort of quality on a small film is not the norm, and I am thankful for MPC’s unwavering support.”