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Jesse Lee Cairnie

Color Correction Clause..

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I am making a transition into bigger productions and am worried about losing my right to color the final image and want to put it in my contract at half day rate.

 

What are peoples thoughts on this?

 

Cheers

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My thoughts are Good Luck!

From what I've seen/read/experienced this is a big issue facing cinematographers right now.

Especially if you're moving onto bigger projects, the studios do not want to set a standard for paying DP's for sitting in on the timing.

Also, what happens when you're booked on another show when they want to start?

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My agent's been making sure something like this is in my deal memo...

 

"Gus Sacks shall receive prior notice, and be required to be present for the color

timing and videotape transfer of “---”. If color timing takes place

outside of the greater New York area, then Signatory shall provide transportation,

accommodations, and per diem, to be negotiated in Good Faith."

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I think you mean to say 'entitled' to be present.

 

Are you referencing my post? I think 'required' is perfectly acceptable. I'd very much like to be there to do it. It's my right of first refusal. I don't think it needs to be spelled out as much, however. 'Entitled' leaves a bit of room for interpretation.

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I am making a transition into bigger productions and am worried about losing my right to color the final image and want to put it in my contract at half day rate.

 

What are peoples thoughts on this?

 

Cheers

 

Your "right"? Hmmm, that would not sit well with me as a director. As far as I'm concerned I'm the only one that has the "right" to colour correct a film I directed.

 

I would certainly include the DOP if geographically and logistically possible, of course I would take his input.

 

Answer me this, you are in the colour correction suite and the director says I want more red and you say you want more blue, who wins that battle? Do you think a DOP has the right to overrule a director in the cc suite?

 

R,

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My agent's been making sure something like this is in my deal memo...

 

"Gus Sacks shall receive prior notice, and be required to be present for the color

timing and videotape transfer of “---”. If color timing takes place

outside of the greater New York area, then Signatory shall provide transportation,

accommodations, and per diem, to be negotiated in Good Faith."

 

And Gus....Wow! I could never agree to terms like that. If you have people that will sign a contract like that, then good for you. So if I hired you as a DOP I have to fly you to Toronto for cc?

 

And the question was asked in another post, if you are booked on a shoot for eight weeks right when the final colour correction is about to start, what then? Then the entire production is held up for eight weeks while they wait for you?

 

Just curious.

 

R,

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And Gus....Wow! I could never agree to terms like that. If you have people that will sign a contract like that, then good for you. So if I hired you as a DOP I have to fly you to Toronto for cc?

 

And the question was asked in another post, if you are booked on a shoot for eight weeks right when the final colour correction is about to start, what then? Then the entire production is held up for eight weeks while they wait for you?

 

Just curious.

 

R,

 

Hey Richard,

 

Again, it's more of a good faith thing than a hard and fast obligation. As it even says that whole traspo/per diem situation is a 'good faith' agreement. These past few features have all been local to NY and it's been basically agreed from the start I'd be involved in post-production, because the raw workflows and even the way we shot it, concerning looks, etc, is going to require my assistance regardless.

 

The last feature I timed I wasn't there for 5 of the 7 days because of work, but at least I was given the offer and was there for the final, final last say days, and was involved in the process via discussion with the directors and colorist.

 

So, as I said, it's a good faith thing, and if the contract needs to be reviewed when all's said and done before the process that's not completely unheard of.

 

Best,

Gus

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I am making a transition into bigger productions and am worried about losing my right to color the final image and want to put it in my contract at half day rate.

 

What are peoples thoughts on this?

 

Cheers

 

 

I have only been paid once for time in the DI suite color correcting a feature, and it was a small amount compared to the time involved. On that particular film it was evident to the producers that I needed to be involved during shooting. I will always be there if I can. I have even flown out of town on a weekend during prep on another show and spent the whole time in a suite.

My deal usually specifies 'first right of refusal" - meaning they have to tell me when and where, also they have to transport me there and put me up if its not where I happen to be. For me thats a fair compromise. DI's are a time intensive process, and depending on the budget can take several days. If I'm doing one on a show, the process becomes an integral part of the photography. I will plan certain things or fixes etc in the DI while shooting. I sure better be there to finish the photography.

 

As for 'rights', good luck. We have none. Its all about the relationship you have with who hires you. Even their hands can be tied by studios or networks. If your good at your job and they like and respect you they usually want to keep you involved. Make it in their best interest too.

 

Even more importantly , you now have a new artist you are collaborating with weather you like it or not, the colorist. Many nowadays have not printed much film. They are anxious to use all the powerful tools available to them to add and craft what you have started. Guidance in necessary to prevent it going on a real tangent now that contrast/saturation and secondary color correction are involved.

I have worked with some amazing colorists and its a real treat to work with them. People like Chris Wallace at Deluxe Toronto (Pans Labyrinth brought there by Guillermo del Toro because he was so impressed with him on Mimic) and Mark Keuper at Technicolor.

Even if it makes my agents life hard , I'd do anything not to miss out on that process.

 

good luck!

GM

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Ok.. so I put in my contract the half day for any post work as a starting point for negotiation.. if they balk at it, it will at least give me a point to make my case.. if anything I can say it can cover my travel expenses.. and to not sound "entitled" i wrote my clause as this..

 

"Employee shall be consulted on any decisions regarding alterations to the images

acquired during Principle Photography that occur during Post-Production and also be

consulted on all image alterations to the final edit before its release for distribution."

 

"consulted" should cover my bases of at least knowing how it will look before it goes out and have my say even if the director vetoes.. thanks guys

 

I'll let you know how it goes..

 

Cheers!

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Your "right"? Hmmm, that would not sit well with me as a director. As far as I'm concerned I'm the only one that has the "right" to colour correct a film I directed.

 

yes.. my "right"... the cinematographer not having the "right" to color correction is like saying the director does not have the "right" to the final edit.. things change.. the director and cinematographer both need be apart of those decisions.. together.. sure schedules and distance interfere along with budgets.. but a DP ALWAYS has the "right" to ensure the quality of the image to final print..

 

answer me this... when a scene is shot a certain way in which the DP and Director discussed and then in post the Director wants to add "red" but there is no DP to say "adding red will shift the feeling of that scene and will alter its support of the story because X, Y and Z.. what if we tried XYZ instead.." and you just add red... who wins the battle?

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The Director. They're the captain. If they want red, well, despite my protests, there will be red....

But, again, the DoP should be present in the suite to make the case for why some things might not be a good idea...

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yes.. my "right"... the cinematographer not having the "right" to color correction is like saying the director does not have the "right" to the final edit.. things change.. the director and cinematographer both need be apart of those decisions.. together.. sure schedules and distance interfere along with budgets.. but a DP ALWAYS has the "right" to ensure the quality of the image to final print..

 

Well....good luck with that as they say. You'll need to become a pretty big DOP to command that type of authority.

 

answer me this... when a scene is shot a certain way in which the DP and Director discussed and then in post the Director wants to add "red" but there is no DP to say "adding red will shift the feeling of that scene and will alter its support of the story because X, Y and Z.. what if we tried XYZ instead.." and you just add red... who wins the battle?

 

Totally not the DOPs final say, sorry. The "feeling" of a scene is up to the director not the DOP. I don't know where you got the impression that a DOP has that kind of clout? If the director wants to alter the feeling of a scene in post, well sorry but he has that authority even if it's over and above the objections of the DOP.

 

On my last movie I had an ASC member as my DOP, in one scene I wanted to hand hold a few shots myself because I knew exactly how I wanted them to look. My DOP was the consummate professional and had no objections, they rigged the camera up for me and I did the shots. Then we moved on.

 

The bottom line is that the director has the final say on all creative matters, that's why they call him the......"director."

 

R,

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Well I must say you have misinterpreted my post completely Mr Boddington... and apparently this has become some sort of peeing contest...

 

Have a great day..

 

No, I understood your post completely. There is no "peeing contest."

 

Good luck with your career.

 

R,

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Well I must say you have misinterpreted my post completely Mr Boddington... and apparently this has become some sort of peeing contest...

 

Have a great day..

 

 

Hi Jessie

 

I guess your a young gun.. and its great to be that confident.. but really you might want to take some advise from the old farts.. :)

or you risk a very short career .. or at least wait till your famous..

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There IS a hierarchy involved here and the DP serves the director. It may be a fruitful collaboration, but it's not a collaboration of equals, power-wise -- the director is in charge, that's why he's the director. He takes more of the risk, he gets paid better, he gets the lions' share of the credit and the blame, and his name is at the top. He's the director.

 

However, given that most cinematographers know cinematography better than most directors, it's a situation where a smart director defers to some extent to the person with the superior knowledge and skill in that arena. So the cinematographer has as much power over the process as the director will give them, based on respect and both wanting to create the best project possible.

 

I'm under no illusion that this is a collaboration of equals, but as I said, I don't share the same burdens, take the same risks, as the director anyway so it's a bit too easy to say that I should have equal power over the image.

 

Part of my job is to convince a director of the quality of my ideas. I can only suggest, I can't dictate.

 

Directors direct, i.e. their job is to direct other people and other things. Their job is to steer the ship, and you can't do that if two people are grabbing at the wheel and tugging in different directions. There has to be an overall vision and authority, right or wrong.

 

It trickles down... a cinematographer is in charge of the departments below him (Camera, Grip, Electric) no matter how talented the Operator, Key Grip, and Gaffer are. Imagine a Gaffer who felt he had equal power over the lighting of a movie as the cinematographer. There has to be a chain of command, if merely for efficiency's sake, not to mention artistic reasons.

 

---

 

Now in terms of having the right to be asked to color-correct the movie, that's common in most contracts for DP's. As for getting paid to be there, that's an issue of debate. It's not common right now, but it should be for no other reason than one should be paid for one's work, and post work is work. This is not a hobby, it's a job. For me to spend nearly a month doing the D.I. for a feature surrounded by people getting paid to be there -- colorist, editor, post supervisor, director, etc. -- and me being the only person there working for free is ridiculous.

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This is quite true especially if the editor is there for the DI. That being said many producers would balk at paying the DP for being there for the grade.

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There IS a hierarchy involved here and the DP serves the director. It may be a fruitful collaboration, but it's not a collaboration of equals, power-wise -- the director is in charge, that's why he's the director. He takes more of the risk, he gets paid better, he gets the lions' share of the credit and the blame, and his name is at the top. He's the director.

 

Yep. I don't think the old saying, "victory has a hundred fathers but failure is an orphan" applies to any job better than film director.

 

and me being the only person there working for free is ridiculous.

 

I could not agree more David, if any DOP is working on the DI or final grade he should be paid for that time. Absolutely!

 

R,

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It is still uncommon even on the biggest films. I have had studios tell me they had bad experiences with DPs in sessions causing overtime with tweaking and arguments over changes that a director or studio wants. It's all crap but at the end of the day they are in charge.

 

The best thing I can do is keep a respectful and professional relationship with the director so they will better understand my vision and maintain the intended look in post. But if everyone sees a another film they like the look of during the DI and want to match that, guess who wins?

 

I've been fortunate to work out various compensation, nothing I'd consider being "paid," but none have set precedent, as is common after the first time you get something like that. This is still a hotly contested issue with studios. Honestly, if you are still early in your career, having the right to participate in the color correction is great to have in your deal. Up to you how hard you want to push...just remember though, you may color a great looking film for them, but if you are a pain in the ass, that is what the producers will remember, not how the film looks. And producers (studios) are the ones that hire you. Doesn't mean I agree with it or think it's right. It is absolutely offensive others are getting paid for part of a DPs job.

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"you might want to take some advise from the old farts" - Robin R Probyn

 

This was my intention with my first post.. though, yes, I could be called a "young gun," I am more than very aware of the power of the Studio and Director in decision making, which is the exact reason why I posted the question..

 

Thank you for the constructive input from the "old farts"... hahaa.. and how it is currently working in the big time.

 

Being a "young gun" maybe I can be an agent for change in the process.. I put it in my contract as a starting point for negotiation and we'll see how it goes..

 

Thanks for the encouragement!

 

Cheers!

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"you might want to take some advise from the old farts" - Robin R Probyn

 

This was my intention with my first post.. though, yes, I could be called a "young gun," I am more than very aware of the power of the Studio and Director in decision making, which is the exact reason why I posted the question..

 

Thank you for the constructive input from the "old farts"... hahaa.. and how it is currently working in the big time.

 

Being a "young gun" maybe I can be an agent for change in the process.. I put it in my contract as a starting point for negotiation and we'll see how it goes..

 

Thanks for the encouragement!

 

Cheers!

 

Yeah give them hell..Iam not working in the big time.. just saying you might have to eat humble pie .. before you can park your Bentley side ways in the producers and directors places.. and tell them you wont move it till you have finished your morning cappuccino. :lol:

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You might have to eat humble pie .. before you can park your Bentley side ways in the producers and directors places.. and tell them you wont move it till you have finished your morning cappuccino. :lol:

 

BEST QUOTE EVER!! hahaa

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BEST QUOTE EVER!! hahaa

 

 

Always works for me... and I make them do the CC in the Caribbean ...and no.. I wont share the Gulfstream with management ... :lol:

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