Color Correcting: It's Elementary, My Dear Watson

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DaVinci Resolve used to color correct the hit CBS television show "Elementary."

FREMONT, CA —Los Angeles-based postproduction company Encore is using DaVinci Resolve for color grading on the CBS hit television show “Elementary,” which features Johnny Lee Miller as detective Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as his faithful sidekick Watson.

While shooting takes place in New York City, Cinematographer Ron Fortunato, ASC, works closely with LA-based senior colorist Tony D’Amore at Encore, who is responsible for color grading the entire show. Originally shot in Log-C, the dailies colorist, Steven Bodner, applies a single Linear LUT to all the footage. By loading the same LUT on a node in Resolve and the dailies CDLs, created by Bodner, on another node, DAmore is able to start with the exact same color as the dailies that were delivered to the network, DP and producers.

Resolve allows DAmore to turn the LUT node on and off on demand, which is used if he has a stock shot, title card or main title sequence that is already linear. The same goes for the dailies’ CDLs, which D Amore can use as a starting point or transition to Log-C if he decides to go in a different direction and needs the latitude of the original footage.

“The ability to work from either color corrected dailies or camera original LOG material at the click of a node gives me extreme versatility and saves time and effort,” said DAmore. “In the past, I would have to drag in an offline cassette and queue up and switch the tape, having to look at it before cutting back. With Resolve, in one click I can mute the node and see it without the dailies’ CDL if need be. It’s simple, but extremely effective. Being able to see everything Ron saw during production provides a dialog when conforming.”

Using Resolve’s node-based processing, DAmore takes advantage of unlimited Power Windows with circle, linear, polygon and PowerCurve shapes, which he uses to address any issues and deliver on the producers’ and Fortunato’s vision, creating a rich and moody feel out of a normal New York City scene.

“Resolve’s unlimited nodes, windows and shapes help me deliver on the look of the show,” said DAmore. “Without it, I might have to make compromises due to a lack of tools. With a show like ‘Elementary,’ there’s no room for compromise. With Resolve, I can take down the exposure on the walls or floors, address every issue and ensure everything looks perfect.”

Resolve’s Power Windows’ full multi-point tracking further increases efficiency by helping keep DAmore’s workflow organized by locking windows to on screen objects. “I’m able to pop a window on and hit auto track, which allows me to move on to the next shot. I’m not wasting time opening new windows, rebuilding tracking points or dealing with cumbersome keyframes. Clients and DPs are always amazed at how fast it is. Resolve lets me stay ahead of the curve,” he said.



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