SANGEETHA DEVI

A scene that has captured you by its sheer colour? Well, there's a reason behind it.

K. What's common between the Telugu movies Sainikudu, Sri Anjaneyam, Pokiri, Lakshmee and the Hollywood blockbuster The Lord of the Rings (LOTR) - The Fellowship of the Rings? Aren't we talking about films of different genres that were made in different parts of the world? Well, all these films have used what is called the Digital Intermediate and undertaken digital grading of colours. Hollywood films like LOTR set the trend and Indian films are slowly discovering the benefits of digital grading. The process To explain in simple terms, in this process, the film is processed and scanned to a digital format so that colour correction can be carried out using software. Carrying out finer changes digitally paves way for enhanced visual effects. Florain Utsi Martin, who worked on the digital colouring for LOTR, was in Hyderabad to work on Sainikudu. He explains, "Using the Digital Intermediate, you can isolate different areas on each frame and enhance them according to the requirements of the script." For example, he demonstrates by selecting a frame that has a group of men. He shows how you can change the skin tone of the characters or brighten up, darken or soften the background colours, thus changing the mood of the scene. "While shooting, it is not always possible to get a particular shade of blue for the sky or show dramatic day and night effects. You can digitally bring in these colour changes." Again, he demonstrates using a song clipping first against the pale blue sky and then employing a darker shade of blue and black.Florain talks about how digital grading worked immensely in the case of LOTR. "The story dealt with a surreal world of the middle earth. There's a lot of scope for imagination. We wanted rich colours and a warm glow on the face of the elves, and other effects were possible due to digital colour correction."Telugu films like Sri Anjaneyam, Pokiri and Lakshmee have used Digital Intermediate technique for certain portions while Sainikudu used it for the entire film. Once the movie was shot, the film negative was processed, scanned to the digital format using the ARRISCAN (which is a digital scanner) and digital colouring was undertaken. Finally, the re-conversion of the digital to the film format was done before the prints were released to the theatres.