Color grading: <I>Messi’s World Cup</I>
May 1, 2024

Color grading: Messi’s World Cup

NEW YORK CITY — Apple TV’s Messi’s World Cup: The Rise of a Legend follows soccer legend Lionel Messi through his five World Cups appearances, culminating with Argentina’s win at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Throughout the docu-series, the star reflects on his career and the challenges he’s faced over the years.

Goldcrest Post colorist Evan Anthony teamed up with freelance colorist Steve Beganyi for the project’s color grade, which had to be completed within a very tight deadline.

“With this project, we worked 14 days straight, with an average of 12 hours per day to conform, color and deliver in DaVinci Resolve Studio,” recalls Anthony. “Since Steve and I have known each other for years, have worked together in the past and approach color correction in a similar way, we were able to be very fluid in our workflow. We used our many years of series work to not only come up with the desired looks, but we also mapped out an effective pipeline and workflow to achieve the looks while meeting all deadlines.”

“We mastered four 45- to 50-minute episodes in HDR in 14 days, including Dolby Vision SDR trims,” adds Beganyi. “We did a lot of work upfront setting up the project and developing a node tree we both were comfortable with. That helped tremendously throughout the grueling schedule. It also afforded us the luxury to work on each other’s episodes with ease throughout. Sometimes I would need to jump into one of Evan’s episodes to do something and vice versa.”

According to Beganyi, mapping out an effective workflow ahead of time was also helpful when it came to the challenges faced with different source footage. With the footage consisting of interviews, FIFA game footage and older archival footage of Messi as a child and young man, Anthony and Beganyi had several tasks at hand during the grading process.

“We worked with (producer) Matt Renner to design the look and feel for the show,” explains Beganyi. “We had a bunch of different sources: OCM footage from production, FIFA footage of the soccer matches and archival footage. One of the first things Matt told us was he didn't want the FIFA footage to have a ‘broadcast’ feel. He wanted a denser film look for the soccer matches.” 

“The directive was to push the game footage into more of a film feel, versus keeping it to a flat look and feel, like most game footage,” adds Anthony. “With the interview footage, a unique and interesting color design was the goal. Steve and I worked together coming up with a few options, and from there, we were able to nail down a look, which has a rich color density with a slight golden feel.”

Using a project-based DaVinci Wide Gamut (DWG) workflow and pipeline, Anthony and Beganyi designed a custom LUT for the interviews using DaVinci Resolve Studio and DCTLs by MonoNodes. 

“Matt wanted a more organic feel regarding grain, so we decided to use a more natural approach to adding texture and grain,” notes Anthony. “We used real film scans of 16mm and 35mm film grain, and created power grades that could easily be added and manipulated as needed.”

“We used a bit of magic mask to separate the background on interviews and color warper to isolate the green for grass work,” adds Beganyi. “We even jumped onto Resolve’s Fusion page several times to clone and paint, as well as track out objects.”

Anthony says the project was both fascinating and fun. 

“Steve and I have known each other for a long time and have a solid rapport from working together on past projects, so it was a seamless process teaming up for the grade.”