Entries in Ben Brooksby (6)


Hilary Weeks - Say Love

I worked with Bentley Media Group on this one. 

The main performance scenes needed a bright warm look. They included the outdoor footage with the lens flares and the notes as well as the sunset with the city skyline. The day they shot the sunset a brush fire had covered most of the western sky with smoke so the light was even more orange and diffused than usual. Really beautiful! 

For the story peices we went with a warmed up low contrast look with milkier blacks than what the camera captures. This gave a soft seperation between the story footage and the performance footage.

There were a few lighting details to enhance in one of the set ups where the key light just needed a little more oomph. It turned out well. Mostly subtle stuff so I'll just post a few stills.


Pulling Beyond Reality

Movies are magic to me.

The way I think about grading comes from masking adjustment layers in photoshop for the last few years. I'm not very technical. I don't feel like I'm into the numbers enough. I've tried to field questions I get about equipment and "how fast" certain configurations might be. I read a lot and try to keep up on things, but that's not why I'm in this. There are a lot of people that understand data handling and the technology a lot better than me. I'm not sure why I've been so fortunate to get to do this for a living or work on the things I've worked on. But I love that I get to because there's something to it that always excites me when I nail a shot. Theres a trillion different ways you could nudge the color and light around, but for whatever reason its that particular combination that just hits right and you know its finished! There's nothing else to do to it accept capture that look through the rest of the scene.

And then there's all the work that's gone into it beforehand to make it so that one particular moment in time is there in front of me! I guess I'm inadequate at putting it in the right words so it'll make sense. Here are a few before and after stills that detail the transformation I'm referring to. 


I love this one from the Fruit Ninja video.

 This is still one of my favorites!



This is an old project from winter 2011. I ran across the stills and remembered how excited I was with some of the things that were now possible with Davinci Resolve. All my work prior to this was in FCP7, color, and Photoshop. Its not perfect but I thought it worth sharing and ended up putting this post together. There were mountains in the far background behind the trees in full sun that needed balancing. I evened things out and brought back a lot of the detail from the shadows in the foreground. 

The shade keeps colors less vibrant than they ought to be for this look.


Bitter Pill

This was a BYU capstone produced by Duncan Rawlings, directed by Sarah Butler, and shot by Casey Wilson. The film depicts events in the near future where the technology exists to erase painful memories. 

There needed to be specific differences between the dream world and the real world, but also between flashbacks of the real world featured later in the film. To accomplish this, I used a subtle vigniette to darken the edges on the dreamworld, but then I used a seperate node to bring in some blur. It took a while to find the right feeling but it worked. The flashbacks were pulled to a more natural tone than the cyan push on the real world. The ending scene was shot out on the salt flats at sunset so as the angle of light changed it introduced a lot of warmer color-rich tones which compliment the emotional tone nicely.

click through the stills to see the results!



When the Bough Breaks - the practice of storycraft

My brother Joel and I started writing this at the end of August. We wanted to prove that a good script could carry a film. The handheld run-and-gun style of films like Warrior(2011) inspired us because of the spontinaity of the telling. I don't remember any establishing shots. It didn't feel like they'd worried too much about making it perfect or pretty. Their time seemed to have been spent on getting the story right.

Society is centered on marketing.

Everything we see and read is about the next big announcement, the next new thing that's better than the old thing because its new. New means better. The film making world is full of it: new camera systems, new software, new technology to shake the earth with its mighty game changing power. And all it takes to harness these new goodies is your wallet. It's intoxicating and anyone who's spent any amount of time shopping for new gear "for the lust of it" knows exactly what I'm talking about. It fosters the idea that all you need to create great work, is to spend enough money on it.


Something is missing from the formula.

Yes, technology is important, and you've got to at least have some of it to get a moving image on the screen. But it's not the end because the most important part isn't sold anywhere.


There is NO technology that can EVER be invented to make story telling easier. It doesn't care what century you live in, what language you speak, or how much shiny stuff you've got in your pocket, basket, or hole in the ground. It staunchly maintains its persistance as the most agonizingly difficult fantastically rewarding process ever concieved of by the human mind.

To write Hamlet, you have to work as hard and as tenaciously as Shakespear because the rules NEVER change. Tolkein was a genius. But he worked harder and longer than anyone else would to create his legendary work. This is why it's his name on the spine and not someone else's. You can't buy that. The only way is to be that.

So Joel and I worked really hard for the majority of our time on this film to make the story work before we ever started the script. Our deadline was a local Halloween film festival so rewriting happened on the go during production.

Limitations force you to greater heights. It's the same with your characters. If you want a great triumph in the story, It only gets there by the strength of opposition, by more constraining limitations.

So when we faced these during production, we dug in and figured out solutions that made things work better than the original plan. The process was grueling, but oh so rewarding. I could see it light up my actors as well. Their performances were singing and our story was coming to life! 

It's the most growth rich environment I know of and the only way we can see of aquiring the unpurchasable gift of storycraft. It is the most insanely difficult, mind confounding process there is, but when it clicks and the thing you made finally starts working, oh how the endorphins flow! There's nothing like it.

Hope you enjoy it. More to come.





The Color Run

You'll notice in the before and after shots below how many times the sky was not blue when I started. Changing the weather is challenging enough as a colorist but when you add in clouds of colored chalk pitching back and forth across the sky, it introduces a whole new set of problems. There are lots of different ways to tilt an overcast sky. The simple route is to select it and push everything to blue. But when the sky is white and the balloons are white like in one of the shots, you've got to play with how far to push before it gets really really noticeable. Honestly the biggest thing you're doing when changing wheather is working as many corrections as it takes to cover your tracks and make it as natural as you can without drawing attention. 

It doesn't always work as well as you'd like it to. Often you end up pulling it back farther than youd like to keep edges clean, but overall it turned out well and gave it the vibe it needed. Enjoy.