Grading

As the edit draws close to completion, Adam has started to work on grading (colour correction/manipulation) the film. In our case, as Simon Dennis and his team got beautiful colours ‘in camera’ (i.e., during the shoot), most of the grading work will be quite subtle. Small changes in colour can change the feel of the pictures quite dramatically – perhaps warming or cooling a particular sequence. In certain scenes, Sloane wants to gently accentuate the mood through colour, so slight adjustments will be made accordingly. In other parts, specific areas of the picture (see the videos below for an example) will be lightened/darkened to help draw the viewers attention.

We have a purely digital work flow (we shot on the Canon 5D), and of course our grading is being done digitally. It is amazing to think though that this is a relatively recent way of working – ‘O Brother, Where Art Though’ was the first film to be completely graded digitally (it was shot on film and then scanned). There is no doubt that we couldn’t have made Dimensions if it wasn’t for digital technology – our budget just wouldn’t have allowed us to shoot on film. Of course a digital versus film debate rages (like vinyl versus CD), but the bottom line is that in a digital world, indie filmmakers can achieve so much more then was possible only a few years ago.

Of course these ‘tools’ don’t necessarily make for a better film – after all, we’ve all seen amazing looking films that don’t engage us at all on a story level. Sloane and I have always said that the story is the key – we hope that our audience will become engaged and involved with Stephen, Conrad, Annie, Jane and the others. That said, Sloane of course wanted to present the story in the best looking way possible. If we want viewers to buy into our elegant 1930s (ish) world and then follow the characters to darker places, then we need to set that world up – and with our tiny budget that was no easy feat.

Although we were short on budget, we were not short on talent. Somehow, every department managed to make magic happen and we are continuously amazed (and thankful) that we had such a brilliant group of people working with us. When Sloane and I speak of Dimensions we like to refer to it as our film – the ‘our’ being everyone that has been (and will be involved). We are very proud of what we have achieved and feel immensely fortunate that we have such a fantastic team of people involved.

This is a quick iPhone video of Adam lightening Jane’s (played by Camilla Rutherford) face to bring her out of shadow. In this scene, Jane is hosting a garden party and talking to her friend Alice (Georgina Rich). An army of wasps, changeable weather and a huge amount to shoot in little time made it a challenge, so it is lovely to see it come together!

First of all, Adam sets up the software to track Jane’s movements…

And then makes the required adjustments…

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