In Broadcast - April 2018 - 63
www.inbroadcast.com | Vol: 8 - Issue 4 | April 2018
Of Marvel Studios'
Cinematographer Rachel Morrison, ASC and Colourist Maxine Gervais
collaborated on a creative journey for Marvel Studios' Black Panther...
he latest movie from the Marvel
Studios stable, Black Panther,
is wowing audiences and breaking
box office records. Colourist Maxine
Gervais of Technicolor Los Angeles
was charged with creating an eyepopping look as the movie jumps from
conventional cities to the isolated
yet technologically advanced nation
of Wakanda; to handle the huge
workload, her team utilised a network
of six or more Baselight colour
grading workstations simultaneously.
"We knew that this was a fantasy
movie with big themes and a
"Approaching it was exciting: it was
not an established franchise but a
completely new departure, so it gave
us all more creative freedom."
Gervais worked particularly
Rachel Morrison to create
colours that would follow
the narrative of the movie.
"We wanted the film and
photography to feel real,
movies," explained Morrison. "Our
aim was to highlight the beauty of
Africa. And like all of our work, we
were hoping for a subjectivity and
clear point of view."
"Black Panther has very distinct
settings and looks," added Gervais.
"Wakanda is this magical, futuristic
African nation, with a lush colourful
world the audience has never
L- R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)
Photo: Matt Kennedy
experienced. Then you have the
darker reality of cityscapes in
Oakland, plus the lab scenes, which
have a more sterile look with cooler
colours and tones.
"We were both looking for a high
sensitivity for contrast, deep blacks
and shadows and a strong, rich
image. I think we achieved that very
When it came to deliverables multiple
variations were required: 2D and 3D,
laser projector as well as standard
digital cinema. It is also available
in IMAX, and of course there are
multiple home video versions as well.
"To complete all the work within
the tight deadline, we extended the
team for the first time in my career,"
explained Gervais. "My assistant
colourist, Jeff Pantaleo, and I went on
to rotoscoping a lot of the shots and
tried to avoid using too many mattes
so it would simplify other deliveries
like 3D. Then we had a team
dedicated to offset all the shapes for
Black Panther / T'Challa
played by Chadwick Boseman
- Photo: Film Frame
- (Images ©Marvel Studios 2018)
3D. Thankfully, Baselight 5.0 includes
tools to speed up the way shapes
are translated, so this helped a
great deal. We ended up with a huge
number of layers and shapes.
"Probably the most demanding part
of the grade was the jungle scene,"
Gervais added. "It was shot at night,
so to keep all the detail we need to
see, and to make it feel organic, I
ended up grading in multiple
agreed. "The jungle scene was
the biggest challenge. It was
shot interior on a sound stage
and had a bit of a 'set' feel
to it. We knocked everything
down and then really worked
to amplify the contrast in the
Creating the futuristic scenes and
superhero action inevitably meant
that the movie was highly reliant
on VFX: no fewer than 2,500 shots
in 134 minutes. Ensuring that the
large team could keep track of VFX
called for extensions to Baselight's
Categories function, which made it
immediately obvious which shots
were temporary and which were final
on the client monitor. This proved
essential to keeping the project on
Overall, Maxine Gervais loved her
first Marvel movie, and all the
challenges it brought. "It was an
amazing experience to work with
all these talented people," she said.
"On Black Panther I used way more
composite grading than I have ever
done before, blending many layers.
I had to push the technology and
push myself to find ways to make it
work. And I think it turned out pretty