Japsarap // Ramen

Directed by Carlo Directo

This totally has no relation to grading: the best Ramen in town is Ukokkei. You just have to try it for yourself. It’s along Pasay road, between kink cakes and Hai Shin Lou!


Next // Production Design

Directed by Yam Laranas

It’s such a pleasure when your mise-en-scene cooperates with your grade. Too bad, they cut out that other interview scene, which was pink and which, I thought, although very exaggerated, was very funny. It was a pink scene with the woman interviewer rolled away on her desk chair when the interviewee sneezed.

I believe production design has a big impact on your final look. True, with technology and cleverness, you can bring your images almost anywhere you want. But, there is a limit to how far you push, especially if you’re veering away from the image’s original direction. So, it helps loads if the colors you want are already there, rather than digitally putting them there. It would look more natural that way. When you digitally enhance or alter live images, you really have to be careful because it can easily look fake (unless that’s what you’re going for…).

“We’ll fix it in post.” Ever heard that phrase on set before? This attitude is such a peeve to me. What takes 2 minutes to put on lipstick, might take me an hour to isolate, track and adjust color each and every shot in grading. Sometimes, it’s not as easy as applying the setting, because each shot is, of course, different and will react differently to the setting, so, some tweeks are needed. In a lot of cases, it really saves time to do it on set rather than post, not only in grading, but also, and more so in VFX. It saves a lot of money too.

Blessing // Projected Background

Directed by Matthew Rosen

If I remember right, this project used an old trick for their backgrounds, projection. I think projected backgrounds still look best, plus, they’re not that expensive and can be easily changed.

Nowadays, they commonly use a tarp background or they just fill it chroma to be replaced in post. The problem with tarp is that when you don’t light it properly, it’ll wash out in some areas, and it can’t be easily replaced if you suddenly change your mind. Chroma gives you more freedom with what background you want to put but, you’ll have to give more time for post.


Directed by Yam Laranas

I love the earthy-jewel tone palette of this project.

Being Unique, Just Like Everybody Else

While majoring in University, someone once asked me if I’d rather be a jack-of-all-trades or a specialist in something. We were at a point where graduation was just a hop skip and a jump away, that we needed to start thinking seriously and decide on what path to take. I don’t remember what my answer was, but I’m realizing that in today’s world, you’ve somehow got to be both, a specialist who can also do everything else (if that makes any sense at all).

Two years ago, I had considered myself lucky to get into this digital coloring business. Because, one, it required access to very expensive tools which meant, only a handful of people could get access to it. Which also meant that there are only as many people as there are machines, so therefore, two, less competition to deal with. I foresaw a good stable career (for 5 or so years at least).

What I did not consider, however, was how fast technology would grow. Gone are the days when you’d need apprenticeships to be someone. Now, training and apprenticeships are just options. If you wanted to be someone, and you can become ANYONE, you’d only need to go online. Everything you need, at your fingertips, literally. Say, you wanted to learn how to play the guitar. Youtube. If you wanted to learn how to paint, there are online tutorials and online shops for your tools. What about those online “colleges” where you can acquire diplomas?

So, what about coloring? With the recent release of more accessible tools, what was once monopolized by a minority is now being democratized. “The Democratization of the Colorist”, as Patrick Inhofer puts it. After reading his article, What’s Your Specialty? Career Advice to Keep You Earning, it occurred to me that my specialized profession required more specialization to have an edge in the growing competition. I panicked. What has happened to the Photographer when DSLRs broke out is now slowly happening to the Colorist.

Now, how on earth am I going to compete with everyone else who’s coming in, most of whom are probably cheaper to hire? Will my two years count for something? Would it be enough to be hired at my price? Or would they rather get the cheaper colorist? Let’s face it, everyone’s a cheapskate in today’s world. Not that I’m struggling to find gigs at the moment; I am full-time in my company, after all. But, it’s something to think about, right? Though, I’m still a firm believer that experience is the best teacher.

Whether a veteran or noob, a colorist or something else, Mr. Inhofer’s article is a good read. I highly recommend having a look at it. Just to make you think. What’s there to lose?



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