Color Grading science documentaries – Mark Wyatt

Mark Wyatt won the 2014 FilmConvert ColorUp competition with his film ‘Restoring the Atleo River‘. Since then, he’s continued to work on amazing projects in and around Vancouver, BC, which has yielded some of the spectacular images you can see in his videos.

Mark Wyatt – the interview

In 2006, I graduated from the University of Victoria with a BFA in Visual Arts where I studied Drawing and Photography. After graduating I ended up getting a job in an unrelated field for a few years. Around 2008, I remember seeing some of the first footage from the D90 and 5d Mark II and being completely mesmerized by what you could now create with these large sensor cameras.

I knew instantly that I had to be involved in some way with film or video. So, I quit my job, maxed out my credit card for some of this new gear and have been now working full time for the past 7 years as a DoP and Editor on the westcoast of Canada. My work is primarily commercial but I also shoot and edit short documentaries for a few non-profit organizations on the coast.

Once I started working with the Blackmagic Cameras I realized I needed the ability to transform the Prores log files into an image that had more contrast and color, and (I hoped) had the look and feel of film. Since I am not a colorist, grading was all new to me and instead of starting from scratch within Resolve I wanted an easier solution for some of my projects. FilmConvert made this possible.

For our short documentaries, and in particular “Bringing Back the Light”, I hope to make them look as if they were shot on film. I think a lot of the Science documentaries from the 70’s have a great look and feel to them, and by using FilmConvert I am able to somewhat mimic this. I have also found that FilmConvert is a great tool to help match different footage. For instance, if I have to shoot a two camera interview with different cameras, the camera profiles within FilmConvert allow me to more easily match the footage.

For BMCC and Ursa Mini 4.6k footage within Premiere, I tend to use either the FJ 8553 ET or KD 5207 Vis3 stocks, at 80-100% for both color and curve, and I usually have the grain set at 20%. I also sometimes increase the saturation slightly depending on the desired look for the shot. I will then do further minor adjustments with the Exposure and Temperature sliders. If exposure or white balance needs fixing in the image, I will do that first before adding the plugin.


By John Parker

Senior Marketing Manager FilmConvert