NAME: Siggy Ferstl
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR COMPANY?
Company 3 is an international post production company offering services for feature films and commercials. We offer color grading and other finishing services such as conforming.
WHAT’S YOUR JOB TITLE?
WHAT DOES THAT ENTAIL?
I work in a digital grading suite or theater, where I run through a commercial or feature film and “color” the images. That runs the gamut from making small tweaks to help shots match, the way a traditional film timer used to do, to significantly altering the colors and the contrast and the overall “texture” of the images depending on how the cinematographer and director of the project likes to work.
WHAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE THE MOST ABOUT WHAT FALLS UNDER THAT TITLE?
The extent to which it’s a technical process as well as a creative one. You need to know your equipment thoroughly so you can quickly realize a look or effect. And that equipment is being developed extremely quickly so you have to keep up with it — not just how to use the tools but how to use them creatively and to get the most out of them under the time pressure that always exists in this business.
You also need to have an understanding of all the different cameras and formats that keep coming onto the scene. There are new formats coming out constantly and they make use of different color spaces and resolution. They have different characteristics in terms of how they handle highlights and shadows and saturation requirements. Some formats can be stretched and altered a great deal without significant degradation while others fall apart fairly quickly. But part of my job is to make all the material flow together regardless of that.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE JOB?
Looking at images for the first time and coming up with ideas for how to treat them. Thinking about how to help an image convey the emotion the filmmakers are after using color.
WHAT’S YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
Like most jobs in the industry, it often requires working very long hours.
IF YOU DIDN’T HAVE THIS JOB, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING INSTEAD?
I love working with moving images. I think I might have become a cinematographer.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE THIS PROFESSION? HOW EARLY ON DID YOU KNOW THIS WOULD BE YOUR PATH?
I started as a colorist’s assistant when I was 16 back in Australia. When I started I really didn’t know much about post production but it came easy to me and the whole process gelled and I enjoyed it. I knew quickly it was something I wanted to do.
CAN YOU NAME SOME RECENT PROJECTS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?
In features, I recently completed Wish I Was Here, directed by Zack Braff and shot by Lawrence Sher, and the Rob Reiner-directed comedy And So it Goes. Both come out this summer.
NAME THREE PIECES OF TECHNOLOGY YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT.
Every colorist at Company 3 uses the color corrector DaVinci Resolve made by Blackmagic Design. I’ve used DaVinci color correction equipment for most of my career. There are other very good products out there that other companies use, but Resolve is certainly something I rely on here.
I absolutely need a perfectly calibrated display. So whether that’s a digital cinema projector or a monitor, it needs to display colors perfectly or none of the work I’m doing will look right in a theater or on peoples’ TVs. And that requires an excellent and vigilant support crew.
Finally, I need all the actual hardware that powers the Resolve to be powerful and fast enough to allow me to make corrections seamlessly in real time. Maintaining all that hardware and throughput and storage also requires an excellent team, which we fortunately have here at Company 3.
WHAT SOCIAL MEDIA CHANNELS DO YOU FOLLOW?
Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
THIS IS A HIGH STRESS JOB. WHAT DO YOU DO TO DE-STRESS FROM IT ALL?
I take vacations where there are great beaches whenever possible, and photography.