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Natural Beauty: Color Collective’s Work on the Landscapes of ‘Land Ho!’

Land Ho! tells the story of two former brothers-in-law who go on a holiday to reconnect, find adventure and liven up after facing several disappointments. Written and directed by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens, with cinematography by Andrew Reed, the film features Earl Lynn Nelson, Paul Eenhoorn and the magnificent landscapes of Iceland. Katz and Stephens turned to Mike Howell of New York’s Color Collective for color grading services. Howell used Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve to help enhance Iceland’s natural beauty and convey mood and feeling throughout the film.

Earl Lynn Nelson as Mitch and Paul Eenhoorn as Colin at Iceland’s Blue Lagoon geothermal spa. Photo by Andrew Reed/Sony Picture Classics.

“By using Resolve’s tracking and pulling keys to finesse the contrast and color cast, I was able to get the exact looks needed,” says Howell. “There’s a long pan towards the end of the film showing a glacial landscape. With so many different hues of greens and blues as well as purples in the shadows, the tracking really helped make that shot shine.

“The landscapes were already so beautiful that I relied on Resolve’s secondaries and pulled keys to help accentuate their features,” he continues. “Resolve helped me highlight a waterfall cutting through the atmosphere so you see a rock formation behind it without losing the hazy sense of the location. I was able to emphasize warm tones in the ground while highlighting the cool colors that the water was adding to the air and atmosphere.