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DaVinci Resolve Powers Near-Set Dailies Grading on ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

EC3 dailies colorist Adrian DeLude used Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve for near-set dailies grading on the 20th Century Fox feature X-Men: Days of Future Past. EC3, part of Deluxe Entertainment Services Group’s near-set dailies offering, harnesses the technology and personnel of post houses EFILM and Company 3 to create custom configured dailies solutions for feature films.

In the film, directed by Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) and shot by Newton Thomas Sigel, ASC, characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past to save the future.

During the production, DeLude worked closely with Sigel out of one of EC3’s trailers, a near-set mobile grading theater outfitted with a projection room and full set of color grading tools. For Days of Future Past, Sigel and DeLude created an elaborate dailies grade with DaVinci Resolve involving complex keys and secondary corrections.

“It’s very rare to do so many secondaries in dailies,” DeLude explains. “We did it so close to the set so Tom [Sigel] could walk over and supervise at lunch and after wrap. And we did a lot of it in 3D!”

Sigel, who has always pushed the boundaries of photochemical and digital technology in his work, was eager to experiment with his ideas for “looks” during dailies creation, and DeLude used DaVinci Resolve to help him do so. “Tom likes to play with and push the image as far as he can to help communicate his ideas, define his concept and help get a director used to a look, knowing that he could tone it down in the DI,” Delude adds.

“Tom has a really strong knowledge of what can be done in DaVinci Resolve. He understands what the capabilities are,” Delude adds. “It was a lot of in-depth grading, and I had about 11 nodes per shot. It was like a full DI every day.”

Colorist Stephen Nakamura, who has executed the DI grade on almost every feature Sigel completed digitally, used DaVinci Resolve for the final DI grade of the film at Deluxe’s Company 3 facility in Santa Monica. While Sigel significantly reworked many of the color concepts he built with DeLude, Nakamura notes that it was beneficial for Sigel to have been able to experiment so extensively in the dailies.

Nakamura says, “The dailies were a great guide for us, and I think his work with Adrian really helped Tom develop his ideas so that by the time we got to the DI theater, the process went very smoothly.”