We recently had an interview with Senior DI Colorist Quique Canadas to get his insight on his work in the upcoming film A MONSTER CALLS directed by J.A. Bayona and starring Liam Neeson. If you haven’t yet seen the trailer for this film, check it out.
Art of Post: How would you describe the look and feel of the film?
Quique Cañadas: I think that the color palette is always influenced by the feelings conveyed by the movie, by its characters, its scenes… The real difficulty is to get the color to describe these feelings, to help the viewer to step into the same emotional territories as the characters, but without making it too obvious, and I think that this is what we have managed to achieve in A Monster Calls. We, Oscar Faura (DOP) and I, wanted to convey a feeling of sadness, but without darkness or desaturation; then we realized that the natural light in Manchester was sad enough (in a good sense, of course. This light is amazing in terms of photography); next, we decided push the color by grading it towards a kind of very subtle teal and orange, without the loss of hues that normally occurs with this grading technique, without orange skin-tones, with neutral highlights (6100K) and slightly cool blacks. The second idea was to translate Manchester’s sad weather’s feel into the interior sets. In summary, we could define it as a colorful sadness. And I think this works.
Art of Post: Were there any particular places you and your team drew inspiration from?
Quique Cañadas: This might be the film with the least references we’ve ever worked on. Rather than searching for inspiration or references, it was a runaway of all we did in the past, looking for an original way, but without the intention of “inventing a new look”; it rather was a one-off challenge to find the right balance between sadness and color without falling into polluting cliches.
Art of Post: Is there a certain scene which you are particularly proud of? Either because it was difficult to accomplish or you just find it enjoyable?
Quique Cañadas: Sure, a couple of them. From a technical point of view, the “destruction sequence” was definitely a challenge, with the integration of green screen shots with matte painting, the cgi of the monster and some other things. From an artistic point of view, I’m very proud of the next sequence, when Sigourney Weaver finds the living room absolutely torn apart. In this case it was not complicated in terms of grading, but Oscar Faura’s lighting was amazing.
Art of Post: What does your background in film look like?
Quique Cañadas: I started grading in 2000 as a color timer and moved on to digital intermediate in 2006. I have graded more than 150 movies, and hundreds more uncredited ones (blockbusters spanish versions, advertising, etc..). I consider this to be a rich and privileged background, because each movie teaches you something. But this is only possible by working in a big Company such as Deluxe Barcelona.
Art of Post: What is it about coloring films that you love?
Quique Cañadas: The most important thing for me is to place my grading skills at the service of the movie. A grade should never stand out the story. The technology allows to do a lot of amazing things, but grading is not a demonstration of the technician’s skills.
Art of Post: Do you have favorite films that do coloring well?
Quique Cañadas: I love classical movies processed in Technicolor, and similar approaches, like “The aviator”. Also I love the color of movies like “Mad Max: fury road” where the teal and orange is rather perfect and suitable. Well, I love the photography and grading in a lot of movies, it might be unfair to mention a few and not thousand others!
Art of Post: Are there any projects in the future you are looking forward to?
Quique Cañadas: I have a lot of projects of all kind planned in the near future. One of my favorite is “Marrowbone”, Sergio García’s first movie as a director. (He’s the writer of “The Orphanage” and “The Impossible”). The rushes look great (DOP Xavi Giménez -“Transsiberian”, “Penny Dreadful”…). I also look forward to Rodrigo Cortés’ next project (He’s directed “Buried”, “Red lights”) . I’m very lucky to have access to this kind of movies, but I enjoy/work through many others, small or big productions, documentaries, shorts… At this stage of my career, the most important thing for me is that the relationship with the client is close and friendly, enjoy the job, improve the movie, that’s basically it.