Our contribution to the recent Star Wars Fan Film: Hoshino (not affiliated with LucasFilm or Disney) involved helping design the overall look, integrating the visual effects, and performing the final color grading.
We worked alongside director Stephen Vitale and cinematographers Ryan Broomberg and Alyssa Brocato to achieve the final result.
Since the project pays homage to the original Star Wars trilogy, we decided to follow a traditional film post-production workflow, while still shooting on a digital format.
Part of this process involved creating a Custom LUT for the production camera (RED Epic Dragon) which transformed the color to have a more organic feel. This was an early incarnation of our FilmMatrix LUT (part of the RED to Alexa LUT Package).
A customized Print Film Emulation LUT was also used at the end of the grade. This prevented saturated colors from becoming too bright and made the digital image behave more like film.
When creating photo-realistic composites, it’s generally best to work with the camera’s raw scene-linear data (before any non-linear / destructive grading occurs). However, some elements (like lightsabers) need to be placed after the grade in order to maintain consistent colors throughout the film. Therefore, the visual effects were divided into two categories: Pre-Grade and Post-Grade.
This category included things like adding CG elements, keying green-screen shots, and painting out objects.
To aid with integration, separate preview LUTs were also generated for each effect shot. This allowed for the VFX to be seen with the grade applied (before any rendering occurred), and the shots could be fine-tuned accordingly.
Other effects such as lightsabers, lasers, and text overlays were applied after the grade (though still before the Print Film Emulation LUT).
In some cases, if a shot had both pre-grade and post-grade VFX, we implemented the final grade as a LUT inside the effects pipeline – reducing the amount of rendering and storage space required.
Attention was made to ensure the LUTs didn’t cause any banding or color artifacts. Learn more about Stress-Testing LUTs.
Behind the Scenes
Check out the making-of featurette: