In conversation with…Colourist, Leo Hallal

Leo is a colourist with experience in theatrically released documentaries, but also drama, corporates and fashion films. Leo recently relocated from California to London, and his recent credits include Boundless’ daytime TV programme Escape To The Country.

You recently invested in some specialised kit, what did you buy?

I bought the new Mac Pro, a Tangent Element colour panel, a portable grade 1 monitor and 65K lights. The idea behind it is to offer the perfect Davinci Resolve grading suite at the clients convenience and, at the same time, cut post house costs. For the same money, what you get is more grading time and therefore, improved quality.

As a colourist, from what stage in the production / post-production process do you like be involved in a project?

As early as possible. When I lived in the United States, I was involved in decisions as which camera to use in some projects. Even if the films or TV programs were already shot, it is always beneficial to be involved before post production start, because the workflow could vary from show to show.

In what ways do you think your workflow benefits the end product and therefore the client?

The best benefit for clients is a great looking show. In short form, affording 3 days of grading, instead of 2 is a game changer. In long format shows, like TV series, planning everything carefully makes a difference. What producers often don’t realise is that if you have someone bringing their own Resolve system, it’s a double benefit. You free your AVIDs for editing and finishing while getting better looking pictures from Resolve graders. I understand that here TV shows are often graded on AVID Symphony, which is a limited grading tool.

So you’d rather use Resolve, instead of Avid?

I don’t mind working on AVID if I have to, but I’d say definitely Resolve for better results. I’m also aware that sometimes the online editors with little grading training are responsible for the grades. As talented as they might be, in my opinion grading is an art and craft that demands extensive training and practice. Just like musicians train their ears, we must train our eyes. We all know the difference between weekend amateur musicians and the dedicated artists we admire.

You work a lot in the States, what can we learn from their approach to Post Production?

In America things tend to be planned more in advance. Usually they book me 2 or 3 months before. They also allow more time for grading projects. I’m used to work under tight deadlines and always deliver, but having the extra time really helps fine tuning the colour. As you can see, I’m a bit obsessed with beautiful pictures.

To book Leo, please contact: maureen@blueberrycreatives.co.uk