The fine art of finishing

Q&A – Matt Turner, Director of Telecine

Soon to join Rushes in London as Director of Telecine, Matt Turner, answers questions on the fine art of finishing.

Brief Biog:  Matt Turner made a big impact in LA as  Senior Colourist at COMPANY 3, working  on a number of high profile projects. These included Superbowl credits for Bridgestone Tires (director, Daniel Kleinman) and Coke Zero (director, Fred Goss) and more recently, Travelers Insurance (director, Daniel Kleinman) Kia (director, Carl Erik Rinsch) as well as a move into feature digital intermediate (DI). Before his move to the U.S, Turner had a stellar 5-year run at Framestore London and prior to that, 9 years at The Mill.

Fired By Design: To start us off, what’s your experience in grading/finishing and what do you 
normally work on?

Mainly commercials and some music videos.  I’ve done feature D.I. too

Fired By Design:What do you need clients to think about in terms of grading?

Its great if clients have a clear idea or a direct visual reference (could be a photo, painting, movie) but equally rewarding if they need some creative inspiration. A session will usually begin with setting three different looks. The director will usually prefer one and that’s the road you go down. Sometimes it’s completely different to their original idea.

Fired By Design:How can grading make or break a production?

You only need to look at movies like 300 or Sin City to give you an idea of the myriad possibilities grading can give to a production

Fired By Design: Why are individual colourists held in such high regard 
by directors?

Great directors tend to surround themselves with people who are experts in their chosen fields. It’s really important for most directors to be able to trust a colourist to do a great job, which makes them invaluable. Especially when a director may have very tight deadlines and have so much to concentrate on, they must have someone that’s going to get the job done without having to worry about that person’s skill or ability.

Fired By Design:Is grading really such an art form? If so how creative can you be with it?

As to it being an art form, maybe that’s a bit pretentious but it’s without doubt an extremely creative process. All good colourists possess an obsessive attention to detail and of course a great eye.

Fired By Design:Can you suggest any examples of creative grading you’ve seen or worked on?

My reel!

Fired By Design:How has DI changed grading? What are the creative 
benefits for this route?

Just the simple action of putting a window over an actors face and making it brighter was impossible before DI.  The available tools a DI colourist now has are incredible, from tracking to keying individual colours to isolating 20 different areas of a single shot.  The creative possibilities in terms of colour /contrast are virtually limitless. However in-depth technical knowledge of film and printing is a must to give clients the confidence you know what you’re doing.

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