Colorist Shane Harris has worked on high-profile commercials, music videos and the indie features The Signal and Celeste and Jesse Forever, but Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is by far his biggest feature job to date. Harris, who works at Company 3, graded the film at sister company EFILM’s facility on the Fox lot so that Apes director Matt Reeves could oversee the project while he was also working on the visual effects and sound.
Harris says that Apes cinematographer Michael Seresin “wanted Dawn to have a ‘filmic’ look to give the scenes a consistent and realistic feel.” It was important that the apes themselves—consisting primarily of groundbreaking visual effects from WETA Digital—not stand out as looking “digital,” Harris notes.
“We went for a soft, ‘printy’ look that helps the hair on the apes and the facial elements look real. If we’d gone for the really deep blacks and extremely bright highlights that you see in some big action movies, the effects wouldn’t have blended so organically with the live action.”