How Green is My Viper

By Ms Published on .

Kermit said it's not that easy being green, but for colorists working with Viper-cam technology, green apparently isn't looking bad at all. Bob Giraldi shot his new short film, Honey Trap, with the Viper DV camera-on the suggestion of Company 3 colorist Billy Gabor-and Viper manufacturer Thomson has been touting the flick as an example of how great Viper footage can look. The film, made through Giraldi's company 149 Wooster, is described by its makers as "a cold, dark story of sex, betrayal and murder." An interrogator, played by Debbie Harry of Blondie fame, asks a woman about the murder of her husband, forcing her to relive the recent events. The palette is cool and dark, contrasting with fluorescent interrogation scenes, but as Gabor tells it, despite an overall green tone in the raw DV footage-the result of the "natural" color of light-the Viper allows for more creative color control than other videocameras can offer. "Most videocameras have a white balance that basically tells the processed part of the image what is white, so everything falls into place," explains Gabor. "With the Viper, there's no processing inside the camera; it's collecting the image directly. Green gives the most range, the cleanest and quietest picture to capture everything. If you want, you can optically correct for the green by using filters. But if you use filtering or processing inside the camera, you're taking away information, not adding more." So even though it's green when a colorist originally sees it, he can choose exactly how things will eventually look. "From a creative standpoint, it's not much different from film [after a palette is chosen]," says Gabor. "You have a lot of information there, and you hone it down and decide how much you want to show."
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