The Moving Picture Company (MPC) is making the move from London to the California coast later this summer to open a fully operational post production office in Santa Monica. The shop had already established an approval office in Hollywood but decided to make the move to a full facility. "With the number of 'hot spots' flourishing in the advertising industry clients tend to find themselves working in all manner of different time zones, (so) it makes sense for us to have a presence in L.A. - the center of film production," says MPC, L.A. managing director Mark Tobin.
Senior MPC colorist Mark Gethin, whose work includes Cadbury's Gorilla and Sony's Paint, is also making the move to L.A. We spoke to him about relocating, the job's changing technology and asked him to unlock a bit of the mystery behind just what a colorist does.
What are you looking forward to most in this move?
Well, other than the obvious beach and hot weather, two things we haven't got in London, I'm excited about the new challenges moving to LA will offer in terms of the variety of new clients (I'm sure I'll still see some of the old friends!) and also the new equipment and technology that will be available to me at MPC, L.A. Also, the building looks amazing.
What makes a good vs. great spot from a grading standpoint?
That's a tricky one, to be honest; I don't really think the grade should take away from the spot itself. It really needs to remain sensitive and consistent with the director's vision for the feel of the job, so for, a sensitive filmic commercial I wouldn't want to apply a really stylized, over the top grade. A great spot from my view is when a director totally trusts me and gives me the time to play around with the neg or digital data and come up with something special.
What types of decisions do you make that can significantly alter or change a spot?
All sorts of things; this usually happens in collaboration with the director and DP. The colorist always tries to add a bit extra. It can be quite experimental, sometimes you just try something and it works really well.
For example, when I graded Jonathan Glazer's "Ice Skating Priests" ad, for Stella Artois and Lowe, London the job started out with a really stylized grade, but people kept commenting on how beautiful it looked rather than the narrative nature of the film and how clever that was. Jonathan decided to strip the grade right back and simplified it; we all felt this reflected the atmosphere, tone and mood of the film really well.