The interesting thing about these spots is the colour workflow that Rotor used. Colour management is a very complex subject matter, and it’s not a simple task to introduce a fully integrated, colour managed workflow to the entire post-production chain. I’ve work at loads of places where they think that colour management is simply a matter of calibrating the computer monitor. I’ve also seen places that don’t even bother with any colour management, and grade spots destined for broadcast on cheap computer monitors – without even a TV as a reference. But it’s quite a complex area, and the best advice for colour management comes from the awesome TV show ‘Monkey Magic’, which opened an episode with the quote “it is the beginning of wisdom to say ‘I know nothing’ “.
Rotor cleverly avoided colour management by reversing the usual post-production process. Normally (in my experience anyway) colour grading is the last step completed. Compositors work with ungraded footage and colour grading in After Effects is usually part of the compositing / fx process. Once the edit is locked off and all the visual-fx shots are complete, a colour grader will work through the timeline and make sure everything is consistent. Rotor reversed this process and colour graded the footage first, in a fully calibrated and broadcast specc’d DaVinci suite. All grading decisions made were made based on what they looked like on a broadcast monitor, properly setup and operated by a professional grader. The compositors then worked with the graded, output footage and didn’t adjust colour or levels at all. When the rendered composites were reassembled in Final Cut and output, the end result looked the same as when the footage was initially graded- because nothing had been altered! By using this ‘reverse’ process many of the pitfalls that go with a colour managed workflow were avoided.