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Finishing ‘Captain Marvel’

A conversation with colourist Doug Delaney

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Recent blockbuster Captain Marvel was finished at Technicolor in Los Angeles, with Doug Delaney at the helm.

Doug started his career in VFX before specialising in digital intermediate finishing – with many feature films in his repertoire. Even now, his goal is to continue evolving and polishing his own techniques and methodologies.

Doug came to this project relatively late in post-production. “It’s a huge technical, effects-laden film,” he said. “From a colour point of view, I got involved in it very late by comparison to other projects.

“But in the Marvel cinematic universe – the MCU as they call it – there’s already an established visual language. The colour of particular items is set – Captain Marvel’s suit needs to be a very specific colour regardless of the environment, because this is intrinsic to an iconic brand.”

He made the point that, in a movie that depends so much on complex effects, the VFX pipelines are set up maybe a year before the main post -production. This includes look development, which comes inevitably from the VFX as much as the live action photography.

“The effects are carefully crafted too,” he added. “Look development and the lookup tables have been distributed because you have vendors literally all over the world working on shows like this simultaneously.

“Looks have already been approved by the directors and the VFX supervisor, and it’s not a situation where, as a colourist, you can go ‘right, let me crack my knuckles and come up with an idea here’. It’s a different approach: you become the steward of digital effects.

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“One of the extraordinary things about Marvel is that they are always refining – they are never done. So having the flexibility of doing everything with the native content – that allows us the ability to make last-minute changes really easily.”

 

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Captain Marvel Case Study (PDF)

 

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