Steffie Lucchesi, post production assistant, snapped this picture of the online session with her cell phone. That's Rob Weaver, the head of Post Production at FilmRoman, checking the picture. I was in a similar room last night for the color balancing session.
Much of post production happens in the dark with experts of every kind staring at TV monitors. But last night was the first time I watched it in High Definition. Whoa. I never thought HD would make a difference in animation. Sure in CG but in 2D cel animation? There's not a lot of subtlety. But scenes had more depth, especially shots that played with the focus. I was impressed. As soon as those sets stop costing a billion dollars and burning out five minutes after you get it home -- I'm gettin' one! Okay, that's a little harsh.
Anyway, the picture looked beautiful. What is color balancing? It's basically making the color consistent throughout a sequence. This is especially important in live action because natural light constantly changes and live action films the same scene from different angles at slightly different times. When you edit them together, the light changes from shot to shot and can be really distracting.
When that happens in animation it usually means that someone screwed up. There's a sequence that has Abe and Liz on a small, rocky island in the rain. The color keys for the sequence gave Liz's skin a cyan cast due to the storm clouds and mist. We never noticed it in the editing room but there were clearly scenes where a different color model was used. She looked brighter. She looked fine in the scene but didn't match the scenes around her. So Ralph, the engineer at Fotokem, isolated her skin and adjusted it.
The same was done with several Hellboy scenes as he ran in and out of fog in a cemetery. Would you have noticed the mistakes? Doubtful, but it's a matter of quality control and taking the time to make things right. There was that one sequence, at the crossroads at midnight, that I was afraid was too dark. It's still dark but we were able to bring up the luminance of Hellboy's skin which fixed most of the scenes. It's not like you won't know which guy is Hellboy and, hey, it's a spooky movie. You should be watching in the dark!
And Monday, the Mix! -- Tad