LOS ANGELES — Efilm (www.efilm.com) helped create the vibrant and fun look featured in the new Paramount Pictures film, Sonic The Hedgehog. Inspired by the blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega, the film teams the otherworldly blue hedgehog with small-town sheriff Tom (James Marsden) in a live-action adventure comedy.
The film was directed by Jeff Fowler and shot by Stephen F. Windon, ACS, ASC. The final look was achieved with help from Efilm senior colorist Tom Reiser.
“Despite the unconventional premise, we wanted the story to feel authentic and rooted in a real environment,” explains Reiser. “Also, being an adventure comedy, we wanted to maintain a sense of fun throughout, so we pushed a bright, colorful, saturated look.”
The film’s lead character is fully-CG, so Reiser had to employ color grading techniques to both animation and live-action content while seamlessly marrying the two into cohesive scenes. The VFX teams, led by VFX supervisor Ged Wright, would typically set the look for the scenes featuring Sonic, and Reiser would use this as his starting point. He would then matte each shot, keeping three key color elements in line – Sonic’s signature blue fur, pink peach fur, and green eyes. Overall, Reiser helped give the film a warm, happy vibe, which is reflected in flushed skin tones and a deliberate use of red.
The colorist delivered SDR and Dolby Vision HDR grades for home and theatrical presentation using FilmLight’s Baselight system, leaning heavily on the BaseGrade tool, which helped control the glow Sonic emits when he powers up.
“The material in this film is perfect for HDR, especially Sonic’s world – it’s pure eye candy,” says Reiser. “There are certain moments when Sonic powers up and starts glowing. HDR really makes these moments special and pushes the storytelling to the next level.”