My Post House: Out of the Blue
Colorist Micah Kirz has teamed up with executive producer Steve Bodner to open his own color grading boutique in New York City, Out of the Blue. But this independent venture was anything but surprising, given the longtime colorist's talent and passion for the specialty.
What specific projects do you currently have in the works?
Macy's is a big client of mine. I work on most of their commercials, and my main focus is to add glamour and make specific items pop. Everything is shot on 35mm film, which we scan and then do color grading. Now that we are heading into the holiday season, things are starting to get crazy. We're currently in full swing; good thing I have a couch in the studio to sleep on!
What else have you worked on recently?
I recently completed a project for Cointreau, grading a series of webisodes starring Dita Von Teese. Each webisode highlights a specific cocktail and is set in a different era and location. The Original Margarita Story, for example, takes place in Mexico in 1948. Dita is playing the role of the woman who invented the original margarita, Margarita Sames, and the spot is meant to give off a warm and festive feel. My job was to color to the mood and atmosphere, while capturing the personality of each cocktail. It took a lot of time and work with the directors to make sure I got the vibe just right.
Recent projects include promos for two new television shows, Skins on MTV and Showtime's Shameless. I just finished a Medalla beer commercial, and worked on a very graphic-oriented spot for Ethan Allan. The Ethan Allan promo starts off with a woman in an empty room; she starts falling backwards as furniture simultaneously begins to appear, and lands in a chair to find herself in a fully furnished room. Another recent project involved some crossover promotions for the MTV VMA's, with Kotex and Rhapsody. As you can tell, I do a little bit of everything.
What do you consider to be the next big thing in post?
If I knew for sure, I would be a rich man, wouldn't I? If I could speculate, I think the Arri Alexa camera is going to go far. It shoots beautiful footage. It is the coolest camera out there by far, and the best digital camera I've seen yet. The Showtime and MTV promos I just worked on were actually shot on the Alexa.
What technology do you currently work with?
- Blackmagic Design UltraScope
- 4 GPU DaVinci Resolve for Linux
- DaVinci Resolve for Mac
- Sony DigiBeta deck
- Panasonic D-5 deck
- Sony DVCAM DSR
- Mac Pro
What new technology are you working with?
Most of my equipment is newor at least relatively new. Right now, the newest addition to my grading suite would have to be the Resolve for Mac.
What new products and technology are you looking forward to the most?
I am anxiously awaiting the day that someone comes out with a decent monitor, to replace the old CRT monitors.
What was the first editing system you worked on?
I go way back with DaVinci. The first system I used was DaVinci Renaissance 888, with URSA Gold and TLC editor. At the time, 888 was the only product to offer 8:8:8 signal processing throughout, and other "groundbreaking" features like Power Windows and YSFX.
What gets you out of bed in the morning to go to work in postproduction?
It is my kids jumping on my bed that I have to credit for getting me up every morning. But my love for the craft of color makes going to work easy. I love my job.
What is your best post memory?
I think my favorite post memory was working on P.O.D.'s "Youth of the Nation" video, back in 2001. It was inspired in part by the Columbine shootings, and featured a group of teenagers driving across the country, looking at the assorted problems they face as young Americans. The footage collected over three days was absolutely stunning, and I was proud to have been part of something that carried such a significant message.
What is your favorite thing about working in post?
My favorite thing about working in post is seeing the final product, and knowing that I was able to be a part of its transformation. Seeing raw footage evolve into a piece of art never ceases to amaze me.
What is your least favorite thing about working in post?
I think I would have to say the saddest aspect of my job is feeling bad for all the abandoned snacks left laying around facilities. Sometimes there's nothing to do but eat junk food.
What were you doing 10 years ago?
10 years ago, I was still working at Nice Shoes, where I had entered the industry in 1996. After my first few years there, I had moved up to the position of nighttime colorist. It was a demanding gig, and I found myself working nonstop all day and night long, but it helped me make up my mind about working in color; I was in it for the long haul.
What do you expect to be doing 10 years from now?
Ideally, I'd like to be sitting on a beach somewhere warm. But realistically, I hope Out of the Blue will continue to grow and do well.