Dado Valentic Lets the Colors Dance at Liverpool Street Station
Partizan Films’ 3-minute guerrilla style TV ad for T-Mobile became a viral sensation and succeeded in achieving an overnight iconic status. Part of T-Mobile’s “Life’s For Sharing” campaign, the ad was produced by using ten cameras hidden within London’s Liverpool Street Station in order to capture the spontaneous reaction of early morning commuters as they watched 400 painstakingly auditioned and choreographed street dancers perform a ‘flashmob’ routine.
Dado Valentic recalls the moment when his company, Soho-based MyTherapy, was offered the job. “We were one of a very few companies who had been carrying assignments for Silicon Imaging SI-2K for over a year prior to this job. We were involved in early tests for the BBC but this camera was thoroughly underappreciated in the London circles. Imagine my excitement when somebody finally decided to use SI-2K for serious work! As if this challenge was not big enough, there was a 24-hour deadline between the event and broadcast!”
MyTherapy’s tool of choice for any RAW camera work is IRIDAS Speedgrade DI. “It is a system that we are able to customise and adopt to our needs, but most importantly – achieve real time performance with astonishing quality of debayer and filtering”, explains Dado.
As part of the process, MyTherapy always try to get clients into the grading suite, and if ever possible, with some test footage in order to define the look before the actual shoot. “That way, everybody involved has confidence to know what will come out.”
For the T-Mobile ad, Dado decided to set up a look that matched the gamma curve of material that was shot with ARRI D21s which were hidden and locked off on sticks with long lenses. Six Silicon Imaging SI-2Ks were cocealed in bags, generating the “happen-to-be-there” footage that the client was after. The log nature of the transfer curve minimized the noise and ensured that no clipping occured in the shadow areas of the footage. The 24-hour turnaround was no problem either: MyTherapy have extensive experience in delivering overnight rushes for other RAW cameras such as Vision Research’s Phantom HD and RED on a daily (or nightly!) basis.
The race against the time started when MyTherapy received nine reels of rushes from the six SI-2K cameras at around 5 pm. Dado recalls all the stages of the process: “First we would apply the look and spot-check the rushes. Then we would play it out simultaneously to HDCAM SR in 4:4:4 10-bit log and Final Cut Pro rushes in DV PAL rec709 format (Gamma 2.2). Every three reels we would ship a hard drive with the dailies and edit straight away, with no time needed for import or digitizing of rushes with time code that locks 100% to SR master tapes. The final product delivered on-time was a spot-on success: viral style, filmed in 2K film scan size with 10 bits of log data.”
Dado Valentic is a colorist and online editor working for the D-Cinema facility MyTherapy in London. He started out with Apple Computers in 1998 and later worked for SONY Broadcast and Professional Europe in the area of technical support and development of Non Linear Editors. Being able to combine his technical background with the traditional film making experience, he has quickly gained a status of one the most regarded colourist of the new generation in London.