FilmLight’s Baselight Creates Look for Pacific Rim

MPI colorist Maxine Gervais uses full range of Baselight tool-set to develop stunning looks for summer blockbuster

Pacific Rim, a Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures production directed by Guillermo del Toro, has been post produced at Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging (MPI). Lead colorist, Maxine Gervais, used Baselight grading tools – on a laptop as well as a Baselight EIGHT system – to perfect the look of the movie, from set to final deliverables.

Pacific Rim was shot in 4K on RED cameras for a 2K and 3D finish. Gervais fine-tuned the de-Bayering algorithms in Baselight before transferring them to RED Tools for bulk conversion. She also used Baselight, running on a laptop, on set for early collaborations with del Toro and cinematographer Guillermo Navarro. “I made sure I was using all the right color curves, so I was sure where the DoP was going,” said Gervais.

“I was working with Maxine for weeks and we quickly established a common language,” added Guillermo del Toro. “We were seeking a very strong, graphic look, almost painterly. By the end of the process, Maxine and I had developed almost instant communication. The color coding of the film is very strong and specific and we achieved it thoroughly.”

Much of the movie depends upon effects shots, created by ILM. The 4K shoot allowed Gervais to create zooms and repositions of the live action material in Baselight before sending the raw EXR files off for compositing. All color grading was performed on the final composite, using large numbers of mattes to achieve the required color isolation.

“Color is very much used to tell the story,” according to Gervais. “There are a lot of saturated colors in some of the scenes, and it is great to be that saturated but still maintain the good skin tones. Baselight gives me the ability to easily create separation between colors.”

Maxine Gervais has been a lead colorist at MPI since 2009, working on a number of top movies since then. She is a great advocate of Baselight, and in particular its huge processing power that allows it to perform very complex, multi-layered grading in real time. “Whether working on 2K or 4K, when you have clients watching you need to be able to do it and play it back instantly,” she said.

“Baselight is definitely one of the best grading tools – it gives me everything I need,” Gervais concluded. “I am so comfortable with Baselight now that I don’t even know how I do what I do – it’s like breathing.”

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