Tag Archives: CSI

Colorist Society adds color expert Lou Levinson as Fellow

Veteran colorist, telecine operator and color workflow specialist Lou Levinson has been named a Fellow of the Colorist Society International (CSI). Levinson’s career is impressive. He has worked with many top directors and cinematographers in Hollywood, including Steven Spielberg and Janusz Kamiński.

As a telecine colorist Levinson has worked on Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, E.T. — The Extra-Terrestrial, The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Always, The Conformist, Tucker, The Sheltering Sky, Little Buddha, Batman, Batman Returns and Akira Kurusawa’s Dreams, as well as the laserdisc releases of the Star Wars trilogy and Apocalypse Now.

Levinson has held senior positions at Technicolor, MCA’s High Definition Telecine Research Facility and, currently, Apple. Levinson, an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers, received his bachelor’s degree in design at the University of Illinois and his master’s in video at the Art Institute of Chicago.

“The colorist is a person whose primary responsibility is to help creative authors of visual storytelling in all its forms further that storytelling with the ‘look,’” says Levinson. “This means dealing with color, density, texture, composition and motion issues as prime involvement. Helping the industry recognize the value of the colorist is why I support CSI’s mission statement.”

A CSI Fellow is an honorary position within the Colorist Society International. It is given out in honor of distinguished service to the art and craft of color in motion pictures and television. Motion picture and television colorists Jim Wicks and Kevin Shaw founded colorist Society International. CSI is dedicated to advancing the craft, education, and public awareness of the art and science of color grading and color correction.

Colorist Society International names Dale Grahn as Fellow

Steven Spielberg’s color timer, Dale Grahn, has been named a Fellow of Colorist Society International (CSI). With hundreds of major film credits including, Saving Private Ryan, War of the Worlds, Minority Report, Gladiator and Predator, Grahn has shaped much of the look of modern cinema, working with, in addition to Spielberg, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and cinematographers Janusz Kamiński, Michael Ballhaus and John Mathieson.

“CSI is very exciting,” said Grahn. “CSI will help to change the way the industry views the colorist. This is the single best thing that could happen to the industry and the colorist, but the best part for me is that I will be able to work with CSI leadership in this very important addition to the industry and the art of the craft.”

Colorist Society International is devoted exclusively to furthering and honoring the professional achievements of the colorist community. CSI gives voice for the professional colorist in the film and digital entertainment industry, and promotes the creative art and science of color grading, restoration and finishing.

Motion picture and television colorists Jim Wicks and Kevin Shaw founded colorist Society International, a paid membership organization, which will seek to increase the entertainment value of film and digital projects by attaining artistic pre-eminence and scientific achievement in the creative art of color and to bring into close alliance those color artists who desire to advance the prestige and dignity of the color profession.

Behind the Title: Slick Sounds’ David Van Slyke

NAME: David F. Van Slyke

COMPANY: Slick Sounds Media Partners

CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Slick Sounds is a boutique sound design company that handles audio post — from dailies to the delivery of the DCP (Digital Cinema Package). We creatively apply the craft, especially the art of telling stories with sound. We partner with directors, picture editors, color timers, composers and mix stages.

WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
Lead Sound Designer and Re-Recording Mixer

WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
That I am also sales manager and CTO. I also attend conferences and regularly go to talks about how to get a jump on the new workflows. I’m constantly letting vendors know they can collaborate with us to create a cost-competitive product with professional standards that will pass a third-party QC.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Each project requires a unique sonic approach that I enjoy figuring out. The story speaks to me, and I interpret which aspect of creative sound is needed. I also do a lot of field recording. I love finding new source sounds.

WHAT IS YOUR PROCESS FOR SOUND DESIGNING?
It’s like a chef who is trying to come up with a new signature dish. You open a lot of items, chop things up, add some secret sauce, make a mess, and then you see what has the best flavors — and you trash the stuff that doesn’t taste good.

It has to be right. To me, and my clients, “right” is the feeling you get when you watch the final mix of a section or the whole piece. It creates the proper response in the viewer.

HOW DO YOU BEGIN?
I always start by getting in the zone. My room is dark and the dual 23-inch monitors are right in front of me; I lose myself in the fact that while I may not know exactly what to do at the start,  I am confident that I will figure it out. It’s fun to play in the unknown. I tap into creativity and come up with things that I later ask myself, “Where did that come from?”

CAN YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR WORKFLOW?
I watch the picture several times and try to really get into the filmmaker’s head. Sometimes that means looking at it frame by frame. I can figure out what sounds I create quickly and what story points I need to obsess about. The sound design must always sell what the picture is telling us. I obsess about big sound moments because they need to make a big impact on the viewer.

DOES YOUR PROCESS CHANGE DEPENDING ON THE TYPE OF PROJECT?
Yes to a degree. This is where good training in the craft of sound work comes in. There are nuts and bolts things that just have to be banged out, and then there are signature sounds that take the most creative energy. I often do the creative part first knowing the basic stuff will happen quickly.

IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
“I’d open a haberdashery” — that’s my favorite line from Spinal Tap.

HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
It took a little while since I enjoyed being a professional musician for a couple of years. I realized as a junior at Berklee College of Music that I needed a career that had more steady income than playing gigs or recording bands. My love of recording led me to sound design and into the digital revolution that has changed the record and the post industry.

    Çƒ˙Immortality Parts I and IIǃ˘

CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
I just finished mixing a feature documentary called Chris Brown — This is Me; the CSI series finale, which was a two-hour television movie called “Immortality” (pictured above); the pilot for Lucifer, a new Jerry Bruckheimer series coming out soon; and I am mixing 20-minute mini-docs for League of Legends.

WHAT IS THE PROJECT THAT YOU ARE MOST PROUD OF?
All of them… well, most of them. We give the same creative intensity to all our projects. It’s not done until it’s right! Some recent projects though are Dragon Nest: Warrior’s Dawn for Universal; Tyrus, which won the audience award at the San Diego Asian Film Festival; and Home — a Bruckheimer pilot that I’m currently sound designing and co-supervising — which will hopefully get picked up for next year.

NAME SOME TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Avid Pro Tools|HD, Serato Pitch ‘n’ Time Pro, iZotope RX5, Soundtoys and SoundMiner.

WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
I’m not so good at social media. This is a referral business and very few movies are sound designed because of a social media presence. Perhaps the micro budgets get their sound designer from social media, however, if they have any budget at all they want known talent on their project at a known professional facility with amenities.

So, I do old-fashioned social media — I go to lunch with clients I like to work with.

THIS IS AN INDUSTRY WITH TIGHT DEADLINES. WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
First, I say, “That’s an impossible deadline, how can the timeframe keep getting smaller and smaller?” Then I figure out how to do it. Which means sometimes having to say no to jobs because they don’t give me enough time to do it “right.”

I live and breath this gig, although it doesn’t always feel like work — it’s just fun!

Quick Chat: Sound designer David Van Slyke discusses ‘Gotham’

By Randi Altman

Ever wonder what the stoic and steadfast Commissioner Gordon, of DC Comics’ Batman series, was like as a young detective? What about Bruce Wayne as a child? Well, thanks to the new Fox series Gotham, wonder no more. Gotham even gives viewers a glimpse at what some of Batman’s villains were up to in their early days.

Director/executive producer Danny Cannon (Nikita, Dr. Dred, CSI) called on LA-based sound designer David Van Slyke of Sonixphere to help create the pilot’s sound design palette and Episode 3 while also developing a sound design tone that would be carried out throughout the entire series.

For Cannon the choice appeared to be an easy one. He and Van Slyke have worked together Continue reading