Meet The Colourist
Senior Colourist, Picture Shop, London
Originating from Vancouver, Jodie joined Technicolor in the UK (now part of Picture Shop) in 2009 and has worked across studio films, indies, and high-end TV series. Her first involvement in the DI side was the Wachowski’s blockbuster Jupiter Ascending, where she worked with double Oscar winner John Toll on the Dailies and assisted in the DI grade.
Jodie has developed a strong understanding of colour pipelines for dailies and DI colour grading and has worked with some of the biggest names in cinematography, including Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki on the multi- BAFTA and Oscar winner The Revenant. She has also worked with DoPs such as Dion Beebe, Phedon Papamichael, Paul Thomas Anderson, and more recently David Raedeker on Sundance winning The Souvenir, and David Katznelson on the critically acclaimed award-winning series, It’s a Sin.
Tell us a bit about your background.
I started in Vancouver in the late ‘90s. I worked my way up from the machine room to assistant, then junior colourist. I was working on all kinds of Canadian TV shows in Vancouver. I was Telecine grading through the late 90’s, recording to all of the analogue flavours of tape that existed at the time.
In 2008, I moved to England with my British partner and I was freelancing when I heard about a job opening at Technicolor and from there started doing film Dailies, eventually moving into digital Dailies when the technology changed. That’s when I started travelling a lot more with some big films like The Revenant and Jupiter Ascending. I was grading on location and in trailers with the DPs and Directors. A highlight was working on The Revenant where I would have “Chivo” and Alejandro (González Iñárritu) come to the trailer after the shoot and we would spend time tracking shapes and keying the snow and the trees on six different takes of Leonardo DiCaprio in the snow. It was the first project that shot with the Alexa 65, so overall a really memorable experience.
The first film I graded on Baselight was called 45 Years. It went on to be quite a success and was nominated at all the major awards in 2015, and I’ve been grading on Baselight ever since.
Did you initially want to be an editor?
Yes, that’s right. The first job in post I took was because I wanted to get into editing, however, as soon as I sat down assisting a colourist, I was like, “wow, what is this?”. I had no idea this job even existed, and I immediately connected to it. It was one of those ‘aha’ moments. I knew I was going to love it, so I began pushing in this direction.
Can you recall your first experience with Baselight?
Yes, I can. I had a couple of days of training with FilmLight and then I was straight onto my first project, 45 Years. I was really pleased with the results and the look of the film. It was a completely different way of thinking for me because I had previously used the Lustre system while working on Jupiter Ascending and The Revenant.
I can’t even imagine grading on anything else now because Baselight just makes so much sense.
Would you say 45 Years was the start of your journey to where you are now?
45 Years opened the doors for me to work on British independent films that I love so much. I then graded The Souvenir, from Director Joanna Hogg, which we collaborated on and it just stuck. We’ve now done three films together: The Souvenir, The Souvenir Part II and most recently The Eternal Daughter which stars Tilda Swinton and premiered in Venice in August 2022, and at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in September.
What is a typical day for you at Picture Shop in London?
I usually get to the office about 7:30am and start tinkering; looking at bits that maybe I didn’t have time for the day before or take that time to work on details that need more refining. Then, clients usually arrive around 9 or 10am.
For some shows, like The Wheel of Time, I’ll have the day to grade on my own after we’ve set some hero looks. Otherwise, it’s just a fully attended day and we go through scene by scene. I do try to set hero looks when I can, so I can go back and fill in the gaps when I’ve got a minute. I find this helps to keep things moving forward and I like working this way.
Once we do have a base look in place, we’ll watch it on double speed and see what’s working and what isn’t. Something I do like to do with Baselight - nearer the end, when most of the film is graded - is to stick each reel on a cursor and put them on a screen and then scroll through so every reel is moving at the same time. It gives a general feel of what the entire film looks like and helps to make sure we have not got a scene that looks way too different to anything else. I’m also a huge fan of using snapshots for matching scenes. It is something I absolutely couldn’t live without now, and the clients seem to love it as well.
Can you tell us more about your relationship and collaboration with Director Joanna Hogg and DoPs she works with?
David Raedeker was the DoP for The Souvenir and The Souvenir Part II. The Eternal Daughter was shot by Ed Rutherford on film.
For The Eternal Daughter, we had previously made some daily LUTs, so we had some idea about where we wanted to go in the final grade. For The Souvenir Part II we had kept The Souvenir online so we could use it as a reference.
In terms of how we collaborate, I always work very closely with Joanna. We even made that happen during the first lockdown when we graded The Souvenir Part II and could only have one client in the room at a time. When I graded The Eternal Daughter, Ed was really lovely and trusted in our collaboration.
With The Eternal Daughter we play around with stronger colour at times, which was fun to do. Some parts are a bit darker than we would normally go, but I’d say it still maintains a similar film aesthetic.
Tell us more about The Souvenir and The Souvenir Part II.
The Souvenir was shot on Alexa using the 16mm sensor, to give it more of a filmic quality. The Souvenir Part II was shot on the new Sony Venice as well as a varied amount of film formats.
For The Souvenir, the palette we went for had a lot of silvery tones, and a lot of it was based on specific memories of certain colours that Joanna had in her head. For example, she’d remember the specific colour of an ash tray in the ‘80s and we had to replicate that exact look. She really drove the look of the film and it was less about visual references and more about communication and interpreting her memories.
Part II was interesting because we had a lot of the references from the first film. However, there is an entire sequence where we were paying homage to a student film that Joanna had done at collage, at her own film school, so that was really unique to experiment with.
Regarding Baselight, we used a lot of different features. I did a lot of hue swinging in the first film. For Part II, I used a lot of shapes and the flare tool as well. I used flare a lot in both films as well as vignettes.
What are your thoughts on diversity in the post-production industry?
I am personally trying my best to support female colourists coming up the ranks and doing all I can to encourage and motivate them. I’ve recently been working on mentoring a junior female colourist who will support me on The Wheel of Time Season 2.
A really proud moment for me was when I received a message on Instagram from a superstar female colourist in LA, Natasha Leonnet. She had watched something I graded, The Pale Horse, and messaged to tell me it was beautiful and a ‘Tour de Force’. Those words put me on top of the world, and I think industry support like this for each other is really beneficial.
I’m about to start The Wheel of Time Season 2 for Amazon, and recently released projects include Dangerous Liaisons for STARZ and Wedding Season for Disney+, both available to stream now.
If you want to participate in our MTC programme, we'd love to hear from you. Contact:
e: [email protected]
“I had no idea this job even existed, and I immediately connected to it. It was one of those ‘aha’ moments.”
Colourist: Jodie Davidson
Role: Senior Colourist
Web: Picture Shop