The Andy Roddick Foundation “Color Grading Emotion”
When The Andy Roddick Foundation first contacted us we were excited to try our hands at creating something different for a local non-profit organization. The ARF was looking to create a film that would play at their annual fundraising gala as well as be uploaded to their website for the online audience. We knew it had to be short — less than four minutes if it were to hold people’s attention. And whereas humor worked well for something like Jumpshot , it wasn’t the right choice for this particular project.
After some brain storming sessions, we came up with a great concept to share statistics of Austin’s underprivileged youth in a way that was interesting (from both a visual and narrative sense). Stats were shared by children from the Foundation as they held up signs describing some very unsettling truths about poverty in the City. In an effort to keep the film meshed with the ARF brand image and graphic associations, we came up with the sign concept where we use the ARF round blue logo as a physical sign the children hold up. On this sign are the statistics — and we had about six of them to use in the video. Mixing these signs with the local kids in their own neighborhoods also brought the audience into their backyard — it was a powerful message and, visually, it worked very well.
Another big part of the concept was showcasing the difference in the Austin areas. Opening the film with the more familiar middle and upper class imagery of Austin: downtown, skyscrapers, the lake, etc. we then shift gears and present (in stark contrast) the areas of the city affected by poverty, drugs, crime, and gentrification. This shift was accompanied by a change in music, camera movement, as well as color palette. We are always thinking about the subconscious emotional effect our films will have, and this means taking everything into account from cinematography to color grading. We decided to give the “typical Austin” a clean and colorful look, smooth camera movements or static shots along with colors that pop. For the “poverty affected” area of Austin, we filmed handheld to give it a shaky uneasy feeling. That footage was then mixed with some grain to dirty it up and we desaturated the image while pushing the color grade towards red/yellow. By thinking the style through we were able to create drastically different feelings to our home we call Austin. This created the different emotional tones we wanted to convey to give the viewer a feeling of separation between the two communities.
The color grading software we used is DaVinci Resolve, which we love using for the options and power it gives us in post production. Resolve loved the edit and interviewed us to get a deeper look into our process. You can read the article here – DaVinci Resolve Case Study
We are very happy with the way this film turned out, and the Andy Roddick Foundation reached their fundraising goal with the help of our story telling techniques. We can’t wait to work with them again!