Following the enormous popularity of Taylor Swift “Blank Space” video (more than 800 million views on YouTube), the creative team returned for an even more ambitious, big-budget project: “Bad Blood” featuring Kendrick Lamar.
Colorist Dave Hussey of Company 3 Santa Monica reunited with director Joseph Kahn and cinematographer Christopher Probst on this complex, elaborate piece, infused with the look and feel of a trailer for a major action movie with an all-star line-up of super heroes created specifically for the project (Swift as Catastrophe, Selena Gomez as Arsyn, Karlie Kloss as Knockout, among others) involved in extreme fight scenes amid a stylized, futuristic world and massive explosions.
Hussey approached the color grading as he would if he were grading a feature. “We went through everything and set looks for each setup,” explains the colorist, who grades in Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve. “Then, once you have a game plan for the whole project, you go back and refine every shot. Here it was the same idea.”
No video inspired by the mega-budget superhero genre could be without a large number of VFX shots. and “Bad Blood” certainly has its share, with action scenes staged in every environment from sets full of ice and snow to spaces engulfed in flames. Hussey received elements of the performers working against greenscreen and VFX shots of the environment in which they’d be placed and he’d color them in isolation within separate channels.
“Part of the challenge,” Hussey says, “came from blending the artists into these environments but always retaining, beautiful skin tones. We might give the faces something of a ‘fiery’ look but we never let them go too red or orange or blue, regardless of their environment. We always maintained the guest artists’ beauty throughout.”