Blackmagic Design‘s DaVinci Resolve was used for color correction on the coming of age comedy The Kings of Summer. Distributed in the U.S. by CBS Films, the film tells the story of three teenage friends who decide to spend their summer building a house in the woods and living off the land.
Hollywood-based production and postproduction facility, Blacklist Digital, worked closely with director Jordan Vogt Roberts from pre-production, creating data workflows, handling data storage and on set transcoding, as well as testing the workflow through to post to ensure the resulting footage delivered on Jordan’s vision.
“We used Resolve for much of the pre-production process,” said Tims Johnson, owner of Blacklist Digital. “From the beginning, we were ingesting footage, color testing and creating dailies with Resolve. We had footage from two different cameras mixed, so the ingest was transcoded to Avid DNxHD 36 footage that was later reconnected back to RAW. Resolve is very good at supporting multiple file formats and allows us to pretty much link anything we want. Working in RAW and having access to metadata is very important for us in post.”
Once in post, Blacklist Digital’s head colorist, Narbeh Tatoussian, was tasked with creating a cinematic, picturesque and vintage look for the film. Narbeh used Resolve’s unlimited nodes, often using more than 10 and sometimes even up to 20 nodes on the majority of the shots. Resolve offers unlimited node-based image processing, where each node can have color correction, Power Windows and effects.
In one scene, the further the actors travel into the forest, the more the mood changes, and the color of the forest changes to reflect it. Resolve allowed Tatoussian to create specific looks and subtly change the colors of the leaves and trees by fine tuning the greens.
“By having the metadata and powerful tools available in Resolve to bring the reds out while taking the yellows down, it was more like painting instead of traditional color correction,” Tatoussian said. “I was able to track four different Power Windows in one mask and have a 12 node setup where five of the nodes were tracking. And it was all in 4K on P3 color space RAW in real time, which is amazing. During the conform, I composited grain on top of the color correction and was able to control it to create just the right cinematic look. People even asked if it was shot on film because it looked so authentic.”
Because the footage was shot with an anamorphic lens, Tatoussian was also responsible for creating a cinematic depth of field in the montage sequences, which he achieved using a combination of curves with color picking, blurring, sharpening and mist in Resolve.
“The tools are all there in Resolve to help you creatively deliver on what the director and DP want, you just have to use your imagination,” Tatoussian said.