Sep 8, 2017

Into the Shadows: Color on “It”

Audiences are eagerly awaiting It, from New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Based on Stephen King's terrifying and popular novel, the film pits a group of kids in a small town against the horrifying clown Pennywise. The official trailer has gotten 13.2 million hits on YouTube with another 8.6 million for the extended version. Directed by André Muschietti (Mama) and shot by Chung-hoon Chun (Me and Earl and the Dying Girl), the film ups the terror quotient from the cult favorite 1990 mini-series in which Tim Curry essays the killer clown.

While scary movies generally take place in shadowy darkness, Company 3 colorist Stephen Nakamura, who colored the movie at sister company EFilm, worked with the filmmakers to play against that expectation for much of the film, with much of the action taking place in fully-lit spaces, with some exceptions, in which darkness itself (especially the very deep blacks made possible in the Dolby Cinema version) is used to push the scariness even further.

In the spirit of King’s novel, the action takes place in the bucolic atmosphere of small-town, USA. "[The filmmakers] didn't want to make a 'creepy world'," Nakamura reports. "Sometimes, the most scary thing is what you don’t expect. If the movie is set in this normal happy town and all this crazy stuff goes down, it’s that much creepier. There are some fairly brutal moments but we left the environment looking beautiful outside.”

Other moments get dark as the battle between the kids and Pennywise moves underground. Shifting the story into darkness intensifies the already suspenseful action. This effect works powerfully in the standard D-cinema version and, Nakamura explains, “in the Dolby Cinema version, the scene can feel significantly darker but also contain more detail. You’re pushing more light through the images overall and the contrast ratio is massive so dark scenes can be even darker but we can hold onto every scary detail. It’s a very effective tool to have for this kind of movie.”

Nakamura also worked with the filmmakers to bring frightening detail to the clown’s eyes. “We had isolated mattes of the eyes for every shot of Pennywise,” he says. "Sometimes the changes are very subtle so you wouldn’t really notice we did anything and in others the effect on the eyes is very significant.”

Commenting on the anticipation, the colorist observes, “I’ve seen so much interest in this movie it’s incredible. The mini-series has a cult following, and I keep hearing from people who can’t wait to see it. The movie is very effective. I don't think anyone’s going to be disappointed."


SPOTLIGHTS ARCHIVE

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    OCT 25, 2017 - Joachim Zell Joins Cinematographers to Teach Filmmaking Master Class in Dubai
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    OCT 2, 2017 - Scaling the Color Challenges of The Mountain Between Us
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    SEP 27, 2017 - Congrats to Our Artists on Their HPA Nominations
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    SEP 20, 2017 - EFilm’s Tim Stipan Colors Provocative mother! at Company 3
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  • SEP 8, 2017 - EFilm at TIFF
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    AUG 23, 2017 - Water Colors
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    JUN 30, 2017 - EFILM'sMitch Paulson Looks at All Eyez
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    JUN 16, 2017 - Filmmakers Finish Project Involve Shorts at EFilm, Company 3
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    APR 10, 2017 - NATASHA LEONNET HIGHLIGHTS HIDDEN FIGURES
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  • MAR 17, 2017 - DELUXE'S EFILM HOSTS ASC MASTER CLASS EVENT
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    MAR 9, 2017 - EFILM Handles Color, Dailies for Multiple Oscar Winner, La La Land
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    FEB 23, 2017 - EFILM Colors Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
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    JAN 31, 2017 - EFILM Colors Sundance Films, Celebrates Indie Filmmaking
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    JAN 26, 2017 - EFILM’s Natasha Leonnet Colors Best Picture-Nominated La La Land and Hidden Figures
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    JAN 12, 2017 - Dave Grove Promoted to SVP, Global Feature Sales
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    NOV 7, 2016 - Joachim "JZ" Zell Inducted into ASC
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    NOV 7, 2016 - Al Cleland Takes the Helm at EFILM
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    SEP 8, 2016 - EFILM Proudly Supports All of Our Filmmakers at the Toronto International Film Festival
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  • AUG 12, 2016 - EFILM Employs New VFX Workflow on Star Trek Beyond
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    APR 18, 2016 - EFilm's Weyron Henriques garners StudioDaily's top 50
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    FEB 3, 2016 - EFilm's The Big Short Garners Multiple Award Nominations and Wins
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    JAN 16, 2014 - Cinematographer Dean Semler, ASC, ACS Utilizes Company's Extensive Post Offerings for Grudge Match
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    JUN 26, 2013 - EFILM Leads the way in Imaging Science
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  • NOV 19, 2012 - Russell Carpenter Photo Exhibition
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    SEP 30, 2012 - Andrew Francis Discusses His Work on "Looper"
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    MAR 31, 2012 - Mitch Paulson on the Creative Challenges of "John Carter"
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    JAN 31, 2012 - EFILM Develops ARRIRAW Workflow for "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
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