CHICAGO — Colorist Lauren Malis of The Colonie, here, used Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Studio to grade and finish several national broadcast spots for retail giant Kmart. The creative editorial and post production house was tapped to deliver the seasonal spots throughout 2017, and while each spot is different in content, they all have a similar feel essential to the Kmart brand.
“Kmart is a very upbeat brand with a pleasant, inviting look, so we stayed natural overall, but made sure the colors popped and were saturated,” Malis explains. “We definitely wanted to draw the viewer’s attention and put them in a good mood, which reflects overall how Kmart is a fun brand. They are great with shooting neutral and letting the colorist go to town with the footage, and regardless of what I’m facing, I never have to worry about DaVinci Resolve Studio. Not only is it a solid program to begin with, but everything continues to get smoother, faster and sleeker as it updates. We began the year on version 12.5, but switched to 14 once it was available, using it on the later ads.”
With each spot specific to certain seasons, Malis paid particular attention to ensuring the looks reflected their respective themes. “Nature Calls features a man, woman and child making animals noises against a lush green backdrop. Because it’s a summer spot, we wanted it to really pop, while keeping the green natural but with good contrast. For Cannonball, which features a pool as the centerpiece, we again wanted it bright, cheery and eye-catching to reflect summer, but really pushed the blues in the pool to make it look super inviting.”
Malis is a fan of DaVinci Resolve Studio’s Power Windows and tracker when finessing shots. “It’s easy to throw up a window, color and track the grade. It’s the best tracking tool I’ve ever used,” she said. “I love the overall flow of nodes and being able to quickly add layers and windows, as well as pick out different colors in the Qualifier. It’s a seamless workflow.”
For the fall’s Showdown spot, featuring a man and woman in a variety of sports team apparel, it was important to make the clothing pop. “We wanted the reds and blues of the clothing to really come at the viewer, while keeping the walls nice and neutral,” notes Malis. “There were a lot of overlays and graphics, which was a fun challenge as a colorist because you need to think about how the grade will affect them.”
Another challenging spot for Malis was $10 Gifts, a holiday spot featuring a band singing against an all-white background, completed in one fluid shot. “The whole spot was one shot with the camera locked on the band as it circles them with the lighting changing throughout. I needed to ensure the overall grade was seamless so it wouldn’t distract the viewer, so each time the camera went around, I treated it as a different grade to match lighting and the overall look,” she explains.
“I had several grades going throughout, and using DaVinci Resolve Studio’s edit page, I was able to transition between the grades, using the dissolve tool across the transition to make it feel like the one shot it was,” she added. “I also do some editing, so I love that the tools, like the blade tool, another favorite, are intuitive to an editor, and I can seamlessly switch back and forth between the editing, grading and finishing pages.”
Resolve Studio’s Scene Cut Detection tool, which breaks down specific shots based on cuts, was essential to her workflow. “It’s an amazing time-saver when we are in a crunch. Almost all of my work is done on tight timelines, and DaVinci Resolve Studio streamlines the overall process, letting me import and organize footage, set up timelines, make revisions or new versions and more. Especially when clients are in the room, going through a spot shot by shot, adding or disabling nodes, changing contrast, keeping track of versions, DaVinci Resolve Studio makes it easy, fluid and the color session efficient.”