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EFILM’s Efficient Dailies-to-Final Color Finish Workflow for “Brightburn”

A sinister take on the superhero genre, “Brightburn” follows a teenaged alien who uses his superhuman capabilities to inflict pain and destruction on those in his way. “Guardians of the Galaxy” filmmaker James Gunn produced the project, with David Yarovesky directing and Mike Dallatorre serving as DP.

A sinister take on the superhero genre, “Brightburn” follows a teenaged alien who uses his superhuman capabilities to inflict pain and destruction on those in his way. “Guardians of the Galaxy” filmmaker James Gunn produced the project, with David Yarovesky directing and Mike Dallatorre serving as DP. Dailies color for the film, which was captured with ALEXA Mini and ALEXA SXT digital cameras in Georgia, was handled by EC3 Colorist Marc Lulkin out of the company’s Atlanta office, the first step of an efficient end-to-end color workflow done through Deluxe. Lulkin worked closely with EFILM Senior Colorist Mitch Paulson, who handled the final finish, on establishing a metadata-rich dailies workflow that would both provide a solid jumping off point for the final color and VFX pulls.

“Mike had lengthy conversations about the use of the color red. It’s used very deliberately and needed to stand out any time it was in frame, so I often added saturation to the red, while keeping within range of the palette of the rest of the scene,” Lulkin explained. “Also, Mike encouraged me to visit the set as often as possible. That was helpful to see the lighting in context and how the LUT that Mitch and Mike created for viewing footage was applied.”

The LUT Paulson provided, while cinematic, played up grittier aspects of the film. He explained, “Dave and Mike didn’t want a glossy superhero movie, or to fall into the blue- or green-heavy typical horror look. Instead we kept the visuals more realistic and used the color finish to amplify the how the color red appears on screen.”

While much of the film’s effects, such as the heightened reds or minor VFX, were created using color grading tools, more complex moments requiring significant CG imagery were allocated to VFX vendors. VFX pulls were executed through the automation system at EFILM, enabling VFX returns to be seamlessly integrated with the DI. Both primary VFX vendor Trixter, which handled 181 shots, and Tempest, which handled 93 shots, were provided footage debayered to 16-bit EXR at 2880×2160 native resolution, and returned shots in the same format to Paulson. Details about Paulson’s color process and workflow can be found here.

“Dailies serve as a platform for logging, syncing sound, color and quality control, so it’s important to avoid shortcuts and inconsistencies, even when pressed for time. For me, it’s ideal to work on projects that also have the dailies handled by Deluxe. That way I’m confident that we’ll be able to deliver the highest quality look the way the director and DP envisioned on set, without the delays or unexpected costs of improper metadata propagation,” Paulson noted.

EFILM Color Assistant Joel McWilliams was also highly involved in the color finish of “Brightburn.” He ran every VFX review, often applying color that Paulson had created, or temporary power windows, and playing with luminance to see how much latitude they would have in the DI. This approach helped Yarovesky optimize his time with Paulson during color sessions and for Paulson to focus his efforts on finer tweaks; McWilliams would often be working in a separate room concurrently with Paulson to expedite the finish. He also did all of the roto work, and grabbed approved color from the trailer and applied them to the same shots in the film.

For details on “Brightburn,” visit: https://www.brightburn.movie

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