Francisco Lorite- Freelance, Film Colorist, Los Angeles.
How did you start out in post-production, then become a colorist?
I started developing a sense for post-production when I was in college, I was really active, shooting all day and involved in many different projects. I had to learn way before schedule how to finish all this projects on time. After that, I had the opportunity to fulfill my scholarship at Technicolor Madrid, in the color grading department. This is where I started to learn how color grading really works, in fact, I started the grading film, process which gave me a really big sense of the image. Once you are able to grade in film, it makes the approach in digital, way more efficient.
What sort of content do you work on?
Primarily my work is fiction, ever since I started in Technicolor I’ve worked in feature films and nowadays in digital. I was introduced to TV shows, so mostly feature films and TV shows, but now and then, I do commercial content as well, which is more creatively flexible.
What projects have you been working on recently?
My latest project for this year has been the TV show “Confess”, for the network Go90 owned by Verizon and with a platform in AT&T. The independent movie “He matado a mi marido” and the feature film produced by Sony for the platform Crackle, “Party Boat”. It’s really interesting that the approach for each project has been completely different. The TV show was based on a popular book and I had to look for an approach that fit into the romance story, creating a unique world for it — but without disappointing the large amount of fans from the book, the film was in the same essence of the TV show, because it’s a comedy. There was a want for warm and colorful, but the original palate was really monochromatic — so it was a challenge to create such a separation, without feeling the excessive color distraction, and party boat.
With all of this being a comedy as well, I had to create a harder look, with vibrant colors, to recreate a world in constant evolution. It’s a movie that moves fast and color has to accomplish the duty of bringing a party to the screen — leaving space for a more comfortable sequence where the characters develop their arguments. So, it has been fun.
With the gap closing between production and post-production, do you find yourself getting more involved at the beginning of a project?
Yes, absolutely! I’m a big believer that the colorist’s work should start in pre-production, but further test cameras and lenses — because we can help the cinematographer and production designer to determinate the elements that we will need further in post production to achieve the look. Also, the vision that the cinematographer and director have for the movie.
What advice would you give to someone looking to start a career as a colorist?
The industry can be challenging, but if you have your heart set on a goal, don’t give up. Find a color grading mentor, choose the best you can find and learn as much from them as possible. This stops you from picking up bad habits. It’s true that color grading can be subjective, but there are methods that can be learned that give you a cleaner and more compelling outcome. Sitting next to a colorist at work was how I learned my trade. Immerse yourself in what makes a good grade, practice hard and look around — inspiration is everywhere.
And what is your inspiration?
My inspiration is everywhere! Movies, TV shows, commercials, video clips, paintings, and photography. For me, the people who push boundaries constantly, to be able to achieve something that couldn’t be done before, is an inspiration. This forces you to do a better job every day.
What makes for a good day at your desk?
I am really lucky, because I love my job and for me, what makes everything worth it is to be a valuable member of the film process. Also to be able to help tell a story and with it, evoke different emotions from the public.
I am incredibly lucky I get to go to work and enjoy what I do. For me, what makes it all worth it is being a valued part of the filming process. There is a huge amount of time and energy that goes into all of these projects and if I can add something to improve the end result, then it’s an incredible good feeling.
What’s your single most favorite thing about Mistika?
The Flexibility that you have on your infinite time line, being able to create different versions and how fast you can move around it — and for the color tools, I really, really, love how organically the color behaves in the image, the curves and colorimetry behind the program, are unique. If I have to select a tool, I dye for the fixed vectors, it really makes a difference when you have to match shoots or go for a unique look.
What’s your favorite film, commercial or music video?
I recently enjoyed The TV show ‘The Crown’. It was a recommendation from a cinematographer friend of mine and It`s beautifully filmed and graded — I also really appreciated the work on ‘Moonlight’ the last Oscar winner for best cinematography.
Finally, if you could only see in three colors for the rest of your life, which three colors would you chose?
I think that it would get very boring at the end! I’d rather see black and with the world, the textures would be amazing.