Behind the Title: Harbor Picture Company colorist Joe Gawler

NAME:  Joe Gawler

COMPANY:  New York City’s Harbor Picture Company (@harborpicture)

CAN YOU DESCRIBE HARBOR?  
Harbor Picture Company is a large, artist owned-and-operated post production studio in NYC. Harbor is an awesome place to work.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Senior colorist and partner

WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I spend the majority of my day in my theater collaborating with filmmakers. There’s a technical aspect of balancing shots to match one another, but, most importantly, there’s a level of taste and artistry that the colorist needs to help bring the most out of an image.

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
It’s a full-time job, and then some. Successful colorists are always there for their clients. I’ve worked countless weekends and 24-hour sessions.

suite shot grading theater

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
The relationships I’ve developed with amazing cinematographers and directors. It’s very humbling and motivating to have a filmmaker seek you out to help complete their vision.

WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
When there are too many cooks in the kitchen and a beautiful image gets compromised for no good reason. The ability to manage a room full of clients successfully can be what separates a good colorist from a great colorist.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE TIME OF THE DAY?
Getting to Harbor in the morning on day one of a new show or film.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
Something creative that involves collaborating with a team and working on my craft.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION?
I’ll never forget my first experience editing a project for school. I was in the editing suite for 16 hours and it felt like one hour. That’s when I knew post production was for me.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I was fortunate to assist a very talented telecine colorist early in my career. He made the whole process so much fun that I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
Magic Mike XXL, Ricki and the Flash, The Knick.

Ricki and the Flash

Ricki and the Flash

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
Well, I may be best known for Midnight in Paris, but I have also graded three films that won best cinematography at Sundance and have helped restore many, many classic films for The Criterion Collection.

NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
iPhone, DaVinci Resolve, my car.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Facebook and Instagram. DPs, such as Reed Morano, Tas Michos and Chivo, are posting amazing images daily. Truly inspirational.

DO YOU LISTEN TO MUSIC WHILE YOU WORK?
Absolutely.

CARE TO SHARE YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO WORK TO?
It depends on who I’m working with. Picking the music for the day is usually the first decision the clients and I make together.

THIS IS A HIGH STRESS JOB. WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
Quality time with my family is precious and all too rare. So we try to get away on cool trips, somewhere international whenever possible.


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