- Plan an important role in determining the final look and feel of film and TV productions
- You'll spend most of your time working at a computer using specialist editing software
- This is an ideal role for someone with an eye for colour and excellent attention to detail
This is a vital but often hidden role in the film industry, and is ideal for someone with a great eye for detail.
- Make sure that every frame of a film, tv, or video programme has the correct look and feel in terms of its colour
- Use software to digitally alter the footage to make sure the balance of light and colour saturation are as the director and cinematographer want them to be
- Subtly alter the colours so that different shots work better together or to give the overall production a particular kind of look and feel
You'll normally work as part of a team in a post production company or 'post house', or you might work as a freelancer moving from project to project. You'll be working with the footage that has already been filmed, so you'll normally spend your time in an editing suite with most of your work being done on a computer.
Hours can be long when you're working to a deadline, and you may need to spend long days and nights in front of your computer.
You'll combine excellent artistic ability with technical skills, and overall you'll need to be able to spot and manage very subtle differences in shade and tone.
Although you could get started by during a degree in film, art, design, or a related area, this is not essential. You'll need to build up your knowledge of film production techniques, camera codecs (or the compression techniques used to store footage) and the relevant file formatting specifications for film, along with your ability to spot changes in colour grading of film.
Most colourists will start out in the industry as a runner in a post-production house - doing odd jobs and generally helping out the rest of the team. If you show an interest in an aptitude for a particular area then you may have an opportunity to move into an assistant role where you'll start to build your understanding of the colourist workflow and relevant techniques, and from there develop your skills as a colourist.
Persistence and showing a genuine interest in the field are key, keep a list of post-production houses and keep looking every few months to find a junior opportunity and get your foot in the door.
With experience working your way up through the industry, you could become editor, director, or director of photography.