Rob Sciarratta is the senior colorist at Post FactoryNY, a Sim Group company. He recently served as colorist on the Tom Cruise film, American Made. Here, he talks about his career and recent work.
Tell us about your career as a colorist?
“I have been a colorist for 25 years. Early in my career, I worked for Eastman Kodak, as well as a photographer.
Most of my career has been coloring commercials and music videos for brands like Coca-Cola, Mercedes, AT&T and Budweiser, and artists such as Beyoncé, Tom Petty and U2 in New York City and Los Angeles. Other recent projects were The Night Of series for HBO and Steve Zaillian, as well as Purge 3: Election Year.”
How did you get involved in American Made?
“I joined Post FactoryNY in June of this year and began the color grading on American Made immediately. It was a great project to be able to work on right out of the gate because it was a creative challenge, but such a fun movie to work on.
“Getting to work with Cesar Charlone was a pleasure. I took some notes from him and had a chance to go through and familiarize myself with the project, and then we had two weeks of intense grading together, and then just one more week to finalize everything.”
How long did the color work take?
“One week to pre-grade, two weeks with the director of photography Cesar Charlone, and then a few more days of tweaking and finalizing. We did all of the conform and color correction at Post FactoryNY.”
Can you talk about Post FactoryNY’s services?
“Although Post FactoryNY was traditionally an offline rental space, they now provide a full slate of finishing services in conform, color correction, and deliverables creation. We are also expanding into commercial color grading, which is part of why I joined the team here.”
What was unique or challenging as far as your work on American Made?
“There’s so much unique about this project from a creative and technical perspective. There were about 30 different camera bodies used during the shoot, and we had a variety or formats to work with. Cesar, at times, employed 16mm lenses to require a blow-up on the sensor to give the film grittiness. Both Cesar and Doug had a creative vision to give the film a ‘70s/‘80s period piece vibe, so they wanted to push a strong look in color grading as well, and give different locations very different aesthetics and emotions.
“There were a lot of challenges that arose out of the multiple formats and multiple looks. We spent a lot of extra time with Cesar exploring all of the different aesthetics of the different locations in the feature while also maintaining a period piece. Cesar loves to really explore all of the possibilities in digital color grading and looks at this point of the process as integral to his photography, so it was a fun and creative process. He likes to really push heavily stylized looks, always looking to push the envelope, which you don’t get the opportunity to do very often.”
What gear are you using on a job like this?
“We conformed on Smoke and did the color grading on DaVinci Resolve 12.5.”
What’s up next for you?
“I just finished up all the new promotional spots for American Horror Story for the FX branding team and I am currently working on
Louisiana Caviar for Cuba Gooding Jr., which is his first feature as a director.”