Serbian feature film Tilva Roš won the Heart of Sarajevo for best film at Sarajevo Film
Festival, graded from raw RED files on the Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve.
The movie captures the life of two skateboarders living in a poverty stricken, old copper mining town in Serbia. For the filmmakers, capturing the harshness of their situation, while still giving the audience a feeling of hope, meant focusing as much attention on the look of each frame as on the acting. The filmmakers, Nikola Ležai? and DoP, Miloš Ja?imovi?, commissioned colourist Nikola Stefanovi? at MediaPlus, one of the largest production companies in Serbia, to carry out the grade on the Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve.
Tilva Roš is set in what was once the largest copper mine in Serbia, so Nikolai needed to achieve the best of the red clay dirt, crisp blue skies and the warm natural look of summer. His post production experience was useful on this particular job, working under tight deadlines. He has more than 10 years of experience in editing, compositing and colour grading, and has graded feature films, music videos and Serbian TV Drama Vrati?e se Rode, plus commercials for Coca Cola, T-mobile, Orbit, Telekom Serbia, Schweppes and MTV.
The film follows two teenagers spending their summer after high school skateboarding, performing daredevil stunts, pulling pranks and capturing it all on film, in a deserted mining town. But their friendship sours when they both fall in love with the same girl. They later overcome their differences when a small union protest develops into a violent riot.
Shot using a RED camera equipped with Cooke S4 lenses, Nikola received the raw RED files with offline editing done in Final Cut Pro. With the help of XML2RCX tool, Nikola exported XML files from FCP and managed the import into RED CineX, where a full resolution de-bayering via REDRocket into 2048x2048 anamorphic DPX files was completed.
He used REDlog color space to get low-contrast files for grading. And because RedLog is not within standard LogToLin conversion, he built custom LUTs for REC 709 monitoring and made 2048x1716 24 fps anamorphic project with 2.39:1 aspect ratio with six reels in DaVinci Resolve.
“With Tilva Roš, the goal was to get soft shadows and highlights with as much information as we could pull from R3D files and create a very natural look for the shots. The natural look had to be incorporated into everything from correcting grey skies to bring back the blue and teal colors, to freshening skin tones,” Nikola said. “There are about 400 shots in the movie and some are long steady-cam shots, so I needed to deal with a lot of key-framing, lighting and atmosphere changes. I think we succeeded in creating the right mood and tone for the film.”
“The only special requirement was to minimize the ‘RED-like’ look to achieve a more organic feel, and to not see or notice even the slightest sign of colour manipulation. There was no need for any heavy or dramatic changes, but we did use some relighting techniques to add depth to a number of shots.
“I had only been working with Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve for a few months when we graded Tilva Roš. Overall the shots turned out beautifully and I’m pleased at how quickly I was able to learn and use it. I had to get to grips with the software quite quickly to meet the deadline. Since I have worked with other grading software systems and understand how they work.”
“I’ve had many roles in the post production industry, but colour grading is my favourite part of the job. I enjoy it because it’s a job that demands artistic and technical knowledge in every decision you make. The combination of these skills is what I have worked very hard to achieve and this was definitely needed to achieve the look and feel of Tilva Roš, and meet the demands of the director and creative production team.”
At MediaPlus, Nikola works with 3D animators, producers, editors, sound and design technicians. Currently MediaPlus has developed a workflow incorporating several Blackmagic Design products throughout their studio, including the Decklink HD Extreme and Multibridge capture and playback cards, Videohub router, SDI to Analogue Mini Converters, the DaVinci Revival restoration system, the DaVinci Resolve and UltraScope waveform monitoring. In late 2010 they will also install a DaVinci Resolve on Mac with Blackmagic’s Decklink HD Extreme 3D+ to their workflow as an assisting station and a DaVinci Revival pro for 35mm and 16mm restoration work. www.blackmagic-design.com