Artist in the Spotlight: Paul Koren.
18th November 2020
Paul Koren is a colourist at halo Post Production. Recently Paul graded Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom which premiered on Disney+ back in September . “It was great to be able to help these shots sing”, Paul says, “especially through a Disney eye, with bold and lush colours.”
At the beginning of his film career, Paul hadn’t considered post-production, but rather tried to break into pre-production and script development for feature films. After a period of little to no pay, Paul applied as a runner at a number of post houses and was eventually hired at halo. Over the course of his nine years at the facility, Paul has risen through the ranks from runner to colourist.
Like the rest of halo’s colourists, Paul has worked on a variety of projects spanning all genres. This flexibility is something halo prides themselves on as a post-house. As Matt Locke Head of Business says, “halo are privileged to have colourists with the unique skillset of being able to work across many genres spanning from high-end factual and scripted to long-running entertainment tv series. Our team have a massive amount of experience, are incredibly creative, socially aware, and are nice friendly people!”
Paul’s work ranges from the beautiful Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, to the dark and gritty American Monster. Paul has been grading Investigation Discovery’s American Monster for years now. He enjoys the creative freedom he’s been given to grade the drama reconstruction footage as he likes. “It can be fun to make these mini movies look the best they can”, he says. This year grading the show was a little different as all the interviews for the series had been filmed remotely due to COVID-19. These remote interviews still had to have the same look and feel of interviews as the previous series which proved a challenge in the grading suite.
During the pandemic Paul also worked on the Nutopia production America: Our Defining Hours – a three part documentary series that was made entirely during the lockdown, from conception to delivery. The History Channel show, about the evolution of America, used remote cameras for interviews as well as dramatic reconstructions sourced from previously colour graded programmes. Paul’s main challenge with the project was to match the drama reconstruction look across all sources, as well as the differences in the remotely filmed interviews.
Paul primarily uses Nucoda grading software, crediting the built in DVO plugins for rescuing tricky shots. “DVO Clarity is fantastic and something that comes in handy when dealing with lowlight footage and other video noise leaden footage we receive”, he says. “We are often asked by clients to try and save a shot due to noise issues that they may have to discard if nothing can be done to help. Nine times out of ten, Clarity cleans up the footage beautifully”.
All projects that come into halo, no matter what the subject matter or genre, have something new to offer. “In a sense all projects are special in some way,” Paul says, “They all have a unique need or challenge, whether it’s helping with massaging the differences between cameras or creating the right ‘look’ and atmosphere. So there isn’t one type of project that I am passionate about.”
As for advice for those wanting to get into grading? Much in the same way he began, Paul recommends spending time in the tech departments to learn as much as you can about the technical aspects of film. “And, of course, get to know the colourists and ask to sit in with them – but always with a cup of tea in hand!”