Alphadogs Post Sheds New Light on Gang Culture

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Gangs of one type or another have been around for hundreds of years. While most of us conjure up images of guns and violence, there is often a human element to gang culture not expected in this kind of lifestyle. In the feature-length documentary Homeboy, Director Dino Dinco takes another perspective on the topic by examining the lives of gay Latino men who are ex-gang members and the transformation these men have undergone from membership within a gang. Exclusive interviews with former gang members from around the Los Angeles area give first hand accounts of what it was like coming to terms with their sexuality, inclusive of the stereotypes of being both gay and Latino in a world that is hyper-masculine and largely heterosexual.

Homeboy is the first documentary of its kind to explore such a culturally taboo topic. “AlphaDogs worked with me in giving guidance on creating a project that I'm quite proud of,” said Dinco. “Everyone at the facility is very personable and professional. The project was my first independent documentary film.” Dinco continues, “I’m truly grateful to AlphaDogs for being so generous with their time and knowledge, and in treating my project the same as they would a big budget film. They have definitely won my loyalty as a client.”

In a workflow that isn’t used much anymore, color correction for the film was completed in Final Cut Pro 7 using the 3-way color corrector filter. Having extensive years of experience in color grading and a technical understanding of which software is the best fit for each project, colorist Sean Stack created a specific look and tone in the interviews with ex-gang members. “I'm not shy about using the built-in color correction tools Final Cut Pro 7 has to offer if they are doing what I need them to do," said Stack. Even though it’s no longer a shipping product, the client edited in Final Cut Pro 7 with the material being in good shape from the beginning. Those two facts combined with a limited budget led to the decision to stay in Final Cut for the color correction.

Beyond having a good tool set to work with, the talent the colorist brings to a project as an artist is an important key factor in post-production. Impressed with how much the interviews revealed about the personal accounts of what it was like being gay in a Latino gang, Stack was able to convey the emotion in the interviews by enriching skin tones of the subjects and in highlighting body tattoos that were a key part of the story. Stack explains “Color grading adds to the storytelling by directing a viewers eyes to notice subtle differences between warm and cool shadows, or in making the red pop out of a tattoo making a good story more interesting visually.”

AlphaDogs also made enhancements to audio in the film by using Waves and Cedar DNS One plug-ins. Audio plugs-ins makes it possible to isolate specific tracks of audio and remove any background sounds that can take away from the dialogue in the story.

Homeboy was Directed and Produced by Dino Dinco.  The film made its US premiere at a sold out screening during Outfest 2012 in Los Angeles. Designers Against AIDS/DAA also presented the European premiere at Cine Zuid in Antwerp, Belgium.

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