From creative genius Tim Burton, the film tells a tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his dog, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life. Alongside cinematographer Peter Zorg, it was the job of London based colorist Rob Pizzey to create a look and feel for the film that would tell this story in Tim Burton’s own unique, yet recognized dark cinematic style.
“Tim and Peter approached us in the summer of 2010 with a few early shots of Frankenweenie for a grade test. Our brief was to keep a strong contrast, good blacks and to make the characters stand out. From the outset Tim was very sure as to how the film should look,” says Rob Pizzey, “Once we captured that it was our job to ensure that style was replicated in the 3D world where the inherent light loss can ruin the look of a film.”
As you might have guessed, grading in black and white presents unique challenges for color correction. Frankenweenie required some real sculpting to pull out specific areas of the frame and accentuate certain elements within the story. In particular, Rob used DaVinci Resolve’s auto key framing function for very difficult hand animated shapes.
As such, Rob had to be very careful with the contrast range, not pushing it too far. If pushed too far, it can introduce strobing effects- which isn’t good. Since the film is in black and white, the characters costumes didn’t stand out as much as they would in a color film- so creating different shades of grey was necessary to help create better separation.
Pizzey goes on the share, “We graded the 2D version of the film first and once that was signed off by Tim the 3D data was delivered to Company 3. Now on some 3D films one eye of the 3D is common to the 2D version. However, that wasn’t the case on Frankenweenie and so there were effectively three films to conform and grade; 2D, left eye and right eye. It was a big job and we had to make certain that nothing slipped through the net on any version.”
Thanks to the creative mind of Tim Burton, the time of Rob Pizzey and the assistance of Davinci Resolve- there is no denying why Frankenweenie has finally come alive to become such a remarkable film.
Content and Images courtesy of Blackmagic Design