The Electrical Life of Louis Wain follows the extraordinary true story of eccentric British artist Louis Wain (Benedict Cumberbatch), whose playful, sometimes even psychedelic pictures helped to transform the public's perception of cats forever. The film was graded by Picture Shop Senior Colourist Dan Coles who worked closely with Director Will Sharpe and DP Erik Wilson during the early stages of pre-production to set the look.“Myself, Erik Wilson (DOP) and Will Sharpe (Director) got together for pre-production camera tests. This was essentially a very in depth look at the colour rendition of the Sony Venice. We compared it to that of 35mm film with a view to creating a uniquely colourful and filmic feel for Louis Wain’s world,” said Coles. “We knew we wanted to make a colourful film, to be able to represent Louis Wain’s extraordinary paintings and drawings, but I also wanted to shoot with a LUT that gave us a skew of the colour spectrum that was more in the style of older film stock,” said Wilson.

“By the time we got to the DI a lot of the fundamental decisions regarding colour and palette were made. The LUT we created worked well with Erik’s stunning cinematography, and most of the time was spent finessing and enhancing what was already there. This freed up time to focus on some of the other more complex aspects of the grade.Grading with Will and Erik was a very collaborative and rewarding process. Will and I had graded together before on his two series of ‘Flowers’ for Channel 4 – one aspect of this involved taking carefully selected film sourced elements of the picture and blending them back into the original digital material. Will wanted to do a very similar thing in ‘The Electrical Life of Louis Wain’. As before this gave us the opportunity to be experimental with both colour and texture – accentuating the narrative in a unique and often eccentric way,” said Coles.

“Dan is a sensitive colourist who always uses the grade to support and help tell the story,” added Director Will Sharpe. “Key elements were shot onto film which was then processed and treated in a variety of different ways before scanning back to digital for use in the DI. We then played around with different blending modes and levels in Baselight to come up with some amazing looks – in the end the texture and colour we gained in these sections of the film was a joy, and accentuated the overall painterly feel, as well as helping define Louis Wain’s relationship with electricity,” concluded Coles.

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