Vibrant, fresh and colorful are the first things that come to mind when we think about the recent rom com Badrinath Ki Dulhania. Achieving this look and feel may appear simple, but it’s these realistic stories that are tough nuts to crack. Telling us more about how they achieved the right look of the film and its VFX requirements are Senior Colorist Tushar Desai and VFX Supervisor Vinay Chuphal  from FutureWorks. From the process to their preferred softwares, they share some interesting insights.

Tushar Desai – Senior Colorist, FutureWorks

Tushar Desai

Tushar Desai

Badrinath Ki Dulhania was a colorful, rom-com. Given that the characters, costumes etc were so colorful, what was your approach as a colorist?

The DOP of the film, Neha Parti Matiyani and I have worked initially while she was assisting Ravi K Chandran. But this was the first time I was working with her after she became an independent cinematographer. The brief to me was very simple; to make it fresh, colourful and vibrant looking. Which makes my job even more difficult because what new can be done to make it stand out from the rest of the films. It was very important to get the creative team which included the DoP and director involved from the first session itself, to avoid conflicts and redoes later. To be on the same page as the creative team, as far as the look of the film was concerned, was the integral part of my job.

With a film like this, which has warm and romantic emotions, what are the choices you need to make to create the right mood?

I had to create a different palette for different sections of the film namely Kota, Jhansi and Singapore and also for each of the songs. But at the same time, it was very essential to retain the true essence of the locations in the film. The grading in a film of this kind has to accentuate and compliment everything that it encounters, and all this has to be done keeping in mind that it is the actors’ and a storyteller’s film. The plan was to not make it very filmy, and try to keep the look as it was shot and just add a flare of style and gloss.

How was the treatment towards this film different from the various romantic films that you have worked on in the past?

I wouldn’t say the treatment was completely different but the way Neha had lit the shots made my grading standout. My job was to maintain the consistency of the look and tweak it a little to make it look perfect. The production design also helped me accelerate my work in this film.

What software do you work on? Also, what is the method you follow to grade a film?

At Futureworks, we work on Baselight by Filmlight on a 4k Christie projector. I usually like to base grade the footage first, get the blacks and whites at the right spot, then sit with the DoP & try out few options for the look of the film and then fine-tune according to the requirements. But it works differently with different clients. For me, there is no set pattern to grade a film, I am always open to explore different ways of doing my work to achieve the required results.

As a colorist, what is the one thing that you need to keep in mind while working on any film?

DI is the last stage of post-production and after everyone’s efforts; that is from the DoP to the director to the actors and even the visual effects team; it’s all on the colorist’s shoulder to make everything look perfect. For me it’s a huge responsibility as I have to make sure that the grade/colors of the film blend perfectly with the story and the content of the film, rather than overshadowing it. It’s a great feeling when the DOP of my film is appreciated for his/her work, as that in turn is appreciation for me.

This being your first project at FutureWorks, how would you sum up the experience?

Initially, I was skeptical as I have never worked outside of Prime Focus for 18 years, but every one from the FutureWorks team to Dharma Productions made me feel very comfortable and made my transition smoother and my second innings a good one to start off with. I would also like to credit Gaurav Gupta, MD at FutureWorks, who showed immense faith in me and my work all throughout, from the initial period of me joining here till date, for encouraging me to work even more proficiently.

Vinay Chuphal – VFX Supervisor, FutureWorks

Vinay Singh Chuphal

Vinay Singh Chuphal

Your body of work is spread across various genres of films. Is there a genre that is relatively easier to work on, or one that you enjoy working on more than others?

As a visual effects supervisor and as a technician, I love to work on all genres as every kind of work challenges me.

As a VFX supervisor, you head a group of several creative artists. What is the process you follow to get the best quality out of their shots?

As the supervisor of the film, I was involved from the conception and shot design to the final completion of the shots. After finishing the edits, when the shots arrived to the Visual Effects team, they were already base graded from the DI. This helped us in following a seamless color pipeline on all the visual effects shots. Getting good quality output is a very simple process. We first analyze every shot and break it down into different sections like roto, paint, comp, CGI etc. Every shot goes through that breakdown and different artists are assigned for various tasks. The QC is done at every task level and that helps us identify any QC lapse in the initial stage itself and rectify it.

Could you tell us about the VFX requirements for Badrinath Ki Dulhania?

Badrinath Ki Dulhania is a simple realistic love story of a small town boy and girl, which makes our task more challenging since the audience is not looking for some crazy VFX sequence and it all needed to blend seamlessly with live action. We had various sequences of matt paintings and CGI backgrounds which helped us gauge the scale of the film.

What were your discussions with Cinematographer Neha Parti Matiyani and director Shashank Khaitan largely focused on?

Shashank and Neha’s main requirement was that everything done in visual effects should look real. We (the DoP and I) had to work hand in hand to get the best work in Visual Effects. Neha was really helpful and co-operative during the shoot and during the post too. With a tight schedule, she always gave us the time to take extra plates, stills for texture and HDRI for CG lighting. All this helped us in making the shots look completely seamless.

Currently, is there any technology that you are excited about, that has the capacity to change the way things are in the industry?

Any VFX movie with CG elements takes time. After you are ready with the final CG shots, the next step is to render it. To make the CG look real, we have to use high resolution texture and realistic method of shading on the best available lighting/rendering method such as V-Ray, Arnold, Mental ray etc. At the infrastructure level, its difficult to buy a big render farm and upgrade it.

So, I am really excited about cloud computing and cloud rendering and storage, within our budget. Platforms such as the Zync Render, Ranch computing, Amazon Web Services are providing the render farms for heavy CGI shots to render on time. It’s a great advantage to enable cloud computing for large scale VFX Sequences.