LONDON — 24 October 2014: The Equalizer, the new thriller from director Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, was graded on Baselight EIGHT at Colorworks, the finishing facility on the Sony Pictures lot at Culver City. Colorist Doug Delaney worked throughout the project with the director Antione Fuqua, DoP Mauro Fiore and editor John Refoua to create a distinctive, atmospheric look, which served to drive the story forward.
Sony Colorworks has three DI grading theatres, each with a Baselight EIGHT networked to about 1.2 petabytes of online storage. Viewing via a Sony 4K projector, the colorist benefits from the best possible grading environment that matches ideal cinema conditions. The facility also has four additional Baselight EIGHTs in smaller rooms for broadcast and mastering work, and three assist stations for conform and support.
The technical platform allowed colorist Delaney to work interactively with the various effects houses, each delivering special elements. “We had many VFX reviews in the grading suite, often working remotely with the vendors,” he recalled. “My involvement in the review process meant the director and DoP saw the FX work graded, and it also gives me the opportunity to establish a solid technical relationship with the VFX vendors. This translates, I believe, to a more refined integration come finish.”
“In particular, I worked with Sean Devereaux’s team at Zero VFX on a number of scenes,” Delaney added. “Working with the FX elements via mattes meant that we could massage the elements interactively during reviews. This really helped accelerate the approval process.”
Delaney started work on the project at the preview stage, ensuring director, DoP and colorist were all working together on the visual style of the film. The final grade was the result of two week’s of intensive work with DoP Fiore, building on the look established during the previews and polishing the look of the film.
“The climactic scene of the film is set in a store, with a dramatically dark look,” said Delaney. “What we needed to do was to shape the light so that the audience reads the right action. Baselight’s area tracker was instrumental in de- emphasising parts of the frame and popping other parts that we needed to see to tell the story.”
He continues: “Baselight has been my color corrector of choice for a long time, so it’s really just an extension of my thought process at this point. With different camera systems being used in today’s films, Baselight’s ability to mix any and all resolutions in the same timeline and handle them appropriately thru either an ACES or more traditional color pipeline is a huge advantage. And having the horsepower to work at 4k 16-bit at 24fps means you can put the best possible image on the screen – no proxy, no compromise.”