For the past decade, Peter Doyle has been helping define the importance of the DI colourist. Under his belt, Doyle has the two largest “tent-pole” franchises in movie history: The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the last six Harry Potter films. He has also graded eight of the 30 highest-grossing films of all time and collaborated with acclaimed directors such as Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Chris Weitz (The Golden Compass) and more recently with Joel and Ethan Cohen (Inside Llewyn Davis).
Doyle, who has work exclusively on film since the early 2000s, is a strong advocate that colour design and grading should be integrated into the production creative process and has developed a pipeline that centralizes colour-management of a film from daily rushes, including colour control of VFX plates, through to final release printing, DCI and video deliverables.
The workflow and strategy adopted by Doyle in most of his films is perhaps best exemplified on his interview for the American Cinematographer magazine about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a film for which he created a custom colour-grading facility at Pinewood along with a network pipeline to send some 2K sequences back and forth to multiple collaborators in England and the US.
The film was originally shot in 35mm, which then was scanned into the digital realm on a Northlight scanner and, after the grading was completed, the digital files were recorded out to 35mm with an Arrilaser Film Recorder.
Of the grading process Doyle recalled:
“In the grading, we really needed to work with Philippe [DoP] on each scene. Often, we took whatever lighting cues he had put in and just amplified them. Philippe and Tim are both extremely collaborative and very open, so we also came up with some of our own ideas to open up the discussion.
“Charlie was a complicated film to grade. I’ve never seen anything quite like it. We used a variety of techniques to enhance the lighting by putting more dynamics into wide shots, heightening shafts and pools of light, burning and contrasting here and there, letting the highlights really bloom, and pushing the centre of the light down so that the grass had a real glow”, he explained.
In addition, Doyle used some portraiture techniques to enhance Johnny Depp’s eyes.
“Johnny’s face is extraordinary, and we sought to make him look incredibly glamorous, to give the image that quality of Forties photography where the guy was shot through silk stockings and punched little holes in them to make the eyes really sharp.
“We used those kind of tricks, but digitally, with moving colour images. In group shots, there are a lot of great performances with eyes, so we tried to give [those actors] a glamorous look while keeping the sharpness and the detail”, he said.
To read Doyle’s full interview click here
To hear Doyle’s talk in-depth about his work Harry Potter click here