BOGOTA, COLOMBIA — Reínaldo Perdomo Alarcon is the senior colorist at network Canal RCN in Bogota. Here, he talks to post about his career, his work and the tools at the core of his post workflow.
How did you get your start in color?
“It was a dream that grew year after year, during my time as an editor. Color gave me a new way to communicate feelings into image form. To be able to create and imprint my ideas through color is fantastic. Transforming images is gratifying — it is an art.”
What sort of content do you work on nowadays? What draws you to these projects?
“Due to its programming, Canal RCN offers diversified content such as novels, series, documentaries and commercials. Each project has its own spirit and a particular essence. You have to find that difference, discover its individual character and personality. Getting there requires collaborative work and a constant dialogue with the DP. This is how we work out a creative approach, by finding the real intention that guides the development of each new story.”
How many projects do you work on at any one time?
“We are currently working on two projects: one that I’m responsible for, the other handled by a fellow colorist and art creator at RNC, Sergio Preciado. In addition, we are always working on commercials or projects that require finishing, or enhancements to meet client satisfaction. We work in a similar way to a post house rather than a TV channel.”
Can you detail some of your recent work?
“The most recent projects we have been fortunate enough to help bring to the screen are the novella Diomedes, the series
Sala de Urgencias and
Mision Impacto, an extremely interesting social documentary.”
You use a FilmLight system. Can you highlight some of the efficiencies you’ve found?
“Our processes give us many options thanks to the support provided by Canal RCN, which is always looking to improve the quality of the product. We don’t have a fixed workflow and so we can be very flexible with our pipeline. We are looking for efficiency on each project, so we define a detailed workflow from the set to the finish every time.
“FilmLight’s versatility runs throughout the workflow from production to post — using a FLIP realtime image processor to generate BLGs for the editorial, allowing us to carry forward all the metadata from the set, even through to VFX for the finish via Baselight for Nuke. At RCN, we take advantage of the renderless workflow between Baselight for Avid and our Baselight Two system, using the BLG format to exchange creative metadata between our Avid and Baselight suites. Depending on our needs, we can use the render engine within Avid or use the Baselight grading system for final color and deliverables.” (Diomedes, pictured)
How would you define your personal style of grading?
“I personally like a distinct touch of blue or green. I find in these two colors a supreme finish, like a full stop at the end of a story.”
Are some stories easier to color than others?
“I don’t think so. It is more about the way you look at the pictures. Your creativity and aspiration varies and some days it is better than others. Go outside, take a breath, have a coffee and go back. Be patient — time pressures don’t help.”
What part of the grading process do you spend most of your time on?
“The BLG workflow allows us to devote more time to matting and secondaries, because the initial look envisioned by the director is already imprinted in the BLG file, which saves a considerable amount of time.”
It may vary from project to project, but how early do you get involved in a production?
“Being involved in pre-production is important. This is where you get to meet the DP and share their vision from the start. See the locations, the climate, the theme, the characters, the story, the cameras and the lenses, as well as how the material is being transferred. As a colorist, I can accomplish things on-set that will transition straight into the color suite. After all, teamwork is a key component of the success of every project.”
Can you tell us how you work with the other departments within Canal RCN?
“For our channel, this is completely collaborative: from the moment we capture and generate the BLG colour files to post production, where we visualize and make modifications, right up until we reach the final color.
“The VFX material can be read in the Baselight plug-in for Nuke. We have the option to work layer by layer, and add complex color correction to the shots quickly if required. With Baselight, we are able to deliver all the material for VFX in the highest resolution and we also provide BLGs for VFX.
“With the editorial workflow, the benefits are even more obvious. The AAF files created in Avid and conformed in Baselight can be sent directly to our Avid Unity ISIS. Having the same color science throughout VFX, offline and finishing helped us to achieve a very effective workflow.” (La Luz de Mis Ojos, pictured)
What do you like most about Baselight?
“First and foremost, Baselight is user-friendly. It has an intuitive interface that can be customized for you as an individual so you can achieve the most effective ways of working to suit you. Once you know Baselight, it becomes a wonderful world.
“The Matte RGB and Hue Angle keyers, Telecine Grade and layer blending are great toolsets. And of course, once you are used to the Blackboard panel, you manipulate the image even more efficiently.
“Baselight is not limited to one or two grading tools. It offers a multitude of tools and options to accomplish the final result, providing both quality and fulfillment.”
What do you see as the role of the colorist in building the story?
“It’s easy! It is a job that is extremely gratifying and exciting, but it’s also challenging in the sense that we need to evoke the viewer to experience the same thoughts and feelings that the writer had in mind for every moment. You give your life, you put all of your heart into it, and the hearts of hundreds of people that have contributed to the making of the story. Even if it’s hard to satisfy everybody, of course.”
What advice would you give to people interested in becoming a colorist?
“It’s important to feel, cry, laugh, dream, be afraid, be brave, read, prepare and rehearse, watch and enjoy every moment of your life. Then you can find how to transmit these feelings in every frame.”
Where do you find inspiration?
“In nature, tranquillity, the landscapes, in movies, what I see while I’m walking on a street or on TV. But what’s most important to me is what emanates from your heart, this helps me talk in colors.”
What's your favorite TV series and/or film?
“It is an honor for us as Colombians, that Embrace of the Serpent received an Oscar nomination for Foreign Language Film. The team behind this movie deserves such recognition and they continue to create new projects that constantly push the boundaries in cinema and TV.”
What do you like to do after you have been in a darkened room all day?
“Be with my family, my children, my wife. We like to watch the night, the day, landscapes, walking...and to smile.”
What’s next for you?
“We hope to continue to grow, face the constant changes, and learn about Baselight and its tools that pleasantly surprise us every time we are challenged with something new. We will continue to enjoy the privilege of testing different ways of completing upcoming projects, each in their own style.”