Robbie Carman, co owner of post production finishing company Amigo Media and colorist for the documentary “Snow Guardians”, took some time aside to share with us the process of creating such an immensely visual documentary. The doc is based on the life and work of Ski Patrol at several Montana Ski Resorts as well as the Search and Rescue teams that respond to winter emergencies.
The visual goal of the “Snow Guardians” crew was to immerse the viewer into the lives of the men and women who take on this challenging high altitude job, while capturing the vast natural beauty of the remote and sometimes inhospitable mountain winter.
The documentary is shot using cutting edge motion control time-lapse systems to help show the beauty and the amazing winter weather in Montana’s mountains.
Q: What challenges did you face while creating this doc?
A: From a post perspective, mixed formats, multiple camera operators and fast paced schedule. This film was designed to be a collaborative effort and I think that adds to the unique aspect of the film, but made it a bit more challenging to create a unifying feel for audio and video finishing.
Q: What do you feel is one of the most challenging, yet rewarding aspects of becoming a post production professional?
A: As a colorist my challenges are two fold. 1. Interpreting what a client really wants. Often clients come into the suite and don’t use technical terms but rather phrases like, “make it pop”,” more subdued” and so on. I have to translate this into corrections and looks on screen. 2. Fixing it in post - meaning that because camera systems and post production tools are so powerful, as a colorist I’m often asked to work miracles with matching shots and fixing problematic shots that have problems like severe over/underexposure.
Of course the most rewarding aspect is when clients walk out the suite with a smile on their face, happy that their film or show looks as best as it can and it looks like the project they’ve always envisioned.
Q: What is one of your favorite pieces of equipment/software to use? Why?
A: Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve with Resolve control panels. In my opinion this software is simply amazing. Nearly every format, every task, and every client request I throw at it can handle all in real time. In addition, the Resolve control panels give me tactical control over almost every on screen parameter allowing to work faster and more efficiently.
Q: What trends in post production have you noticed? What do you see as a new trend on the horizon?
A: Software and hardware becoming cheaper and more accessible to more people. For example, not long ago a Resolve system would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Now a complete setup can be had a fraction of that. I see this trend continuing from large companies and their offerings but I also see room for smaller, more nimble companies to create truly remarkable software and hardware that complements what the larger companies are doing.
images courtesy of Snow Guardians