Grading Galag | Apparel

Last month I graded a commercial for Team Galag's new clothing line. The spot was shot by Blake Davey and co-directed by David Findlay and Sultan Al-Saud. 

We decided early on to go in the direction of a cleaner look rather than a grainy print feel. I'd brought these two frames from Blade Runner 2049 into Resolve's still store due to the similarity in location, they weren't exact references for colour but acted as a good guideline for exposure and contrast ratios. 

They shot on location in Seoul with an Alexa Mini using Cooke Anamorphics, producing in a 2.8K source that desqueezed to a 5760 x 2160 image with a planned 4K 2.39:1 extraction allowing some room for reframing in the edit. 

Despite going for a cleaner look I still graded using the same print LUT I use for 90% of my projects, less for the initial look it gives to the footage but more the way the signal reacts to the curve within it. The above and below galleries display the image with the standard Arri K1S1 LUT they monitored with on location, the same image with the print LUT applied instead, the image with primary adjustments and then the final image with all secondary grades applied.  

Despite being shot entirely at night Blake had made sure everything came in pretty well exposed, other than the wides of the city I didn't have to apply any de-noise filters. Due to the run'n'n gun nature of the shoot most of the work was making sure the eye was drawn to the right part of the image with some windowing, most of the light was coming from the signs towards the edges of the frame so I often brightened up the centre to make sure the models stood out from the city streets.  

On this shot I also played around with defocus effects on the background, similar to the kind of look VirtualRig gives for stills. 

A universal adjustment I tweaked on a shot by shot basis was a key to diffuse and soften the highlights slightly, giving them a more organic roll off and throwing in a hint of cyan to add a little more colour contrast. 

Another secondary adjustment Blake recommended was a hue shift on the warmer tones casted by the sodium vapour lights in the spot, reigning them back a little into more of an amber range that was less distracting and better complemented the shade of cyan we'd pushed the highlights into. 

Along with Rupture (directed by Yassmina Karajah), which played at TIFF and won Best BC Short at VIFF, I graded David and Blake's first feature Everything Outside this summer which we're hoping will get a festival run next year so keep an eye out for that down the line.