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Fear the Walking Dead: Encore colorist teams with DPs for parched look

The current season of AMC’s zombie-infused Fear the Walking Dead is set in a brittle, drought-plagued environment, which becomes progressively more parched as the story unfolds. So when production was about to commence, the show’s principals were concerned that the normally dry shoot locations in Mexico had undergone record rainfall.

Pankaj Bajpai of Encore, who has color graded the series from the start, and the two new cinematographers hired for this season — Christopher LaVasseur and Scott Peck — conferred early on about how best to handle this surprising development.

It wouldn’t have been practical to move locations or try to “dress” the scenes to look as described on the page, nor would the budget allow for addressing the issue through VFX. Bajpai, who, in addition to his colorist work also oversees new workflows for Encore, realized that while he could produce the desired effect in his FilmLight Baselight toolset through multiple keys and windows, that too would be less than practical.

Instead, he proposed using a technique that’s far from standard operating procedure for a series. “We got ‘under the hood’ of the Baselight,” he says, “and set up color suppression matrices,” which essentially use mathematical equations to define the degree to which each of the primary colors — red, green and blue — can be represented in an image. The technique, he explains, “allows you to be much more specific suppressing certain hues without affecting everything else as much as you would by keying a color or manipulating saturation.”

Once designed, these restrictions on the green within the imagery could be dialed up or down, primarily affecting just the colors in the foliage that the filmmakers wanted to re-define, without collateral damage to skin tones and other elements that they didn’t. “I knew that the cinematographers could shoot in the location and we could alter the environment as necessary in the grade,” he says. Bajpai showed the DPs how effective the technique was, and they quickly got on board.

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Raising money and awareness for childhood cancer via short doc

Pablove One Another is a documentary short film produced by Riverstreet and directed by Tracy Pion and Michael Blum.

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Behind the Title: Little Big Bang creative director Cynthia Beauclair

We are a motion graphics and animation studio.
As CD, my job entails conceptualizing, developing ideas and collaborating with clients.

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Ten Questions:
SpeedMedia’s Kenny Francis

SpeedMedia offers editorial, color grading, finishing, mastering, closed captions and subtitles, encoding and distribution.

Read More >, Pond5 partner to
make choosing stock easier

Geena Davis Inst. CEO to
speak at Women in Tech

Michael Smollin now head
of color at Fancy Film

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