Colourist Paul Ensby, of Deluxe’s Company 3 London, recently graded Allegiant, the third instalment of the Divergent series franchise, in both SDR and HDR. Allegiant was shot by DP Florian Ballhaus using ARRI Alexa 65 and Alexa XT cameras.
The digital intermediate (DI) was completed in Los Angeles using DaVinci Resolve Studio and the Advanced Control Surface. Ensby relocated to Los Angeles for nine weeks where he delivered multiple HDR grades of Allegiant for the big screen, as well as several home versions, all at varying degrees of brightness.
“HDR is something many in the industry have been excited about for some time, and now I can see why,” said Ensby. “This was my first HDR experience and I have to admit that I was really impressed. The image is so bright and vibrant, with lots more depth when compared with what you might traditionally see on your television at home. Everything is nice and crisp: the blacks are black and the whites are white, but you still retain plenty of detail.”
“Using DaVinci Resolve to deliver the SDR and HDR versions was as simple as pressing a button, and all the different deliverable versions could be held in the same live project. Essentially, that meant we could still be referring to the original RAW project files throughout the whole process, giving us a huge amount of flexibility. Ultimately, I even completed the reframing for all the different aspect ratios, all directly within Resolve.”
The turnaround for Allegiant was especially tight, and Company 3 also had to factor in that this was a VFX-heavy project, which created additional complexities of its own for Ensby during the grade.
“During the DI we were handling lots of multi layered mattes, supplied by the various VFX houses,” he said. “Working in DaVinci Resolve Studio meant I had the freedom to go beyond simply grading those shots using the blur and sharpening tools to decide what the drop off for a shot would be, or whether a particular element should be in focus or not. Doing all of that in Resolve saved us a lot of time.”
Now that work on Allegiant is complete, Ensby is even more intrigued to see what the future holds for HDR. “I firmly believe it will be quite a game changer, particularly as 4K gains more of a foothold in the living room,” he concluded.