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Perfecting Produce

Indie Atlantic Creates Publix's New "At Season's Peak" Fruit Spots with DaVinci Resolve
There is nothing quite like the challenge of color correcting a food commercial. All of those beautiful food spots you see every day take a skilled hand and a huge amount of work to look that good.

And Florida's Indie Atlantic are experts at it. Which is why the foodstore giant Publix used Indie Atlantic Films for its new "At Season's Peak" ad campaign. And to get the look that Publix wanted, Indie Atlantic used DaVinci Resolve.

One of the particularly tough things about shooting a set of spots aimed at showing fresh fruit picked at the height of their season is that you have to create the commercials months ahead of the peak season. And every angle of the spot has to draw the viewer's attention to the amazing produce.

Pete Gill, colorist and creative director at Indie Atlantic Films, is a veteran when it comes to creating the perfect food spots for Publix. He is also an expert when it comes to high end cinematography and post production, including nature production and post, having spent years in Los Angeles as a cinematographer, colorist and editor for clients such as DisneyNature and Discovery Channel. 

A Healthy Dose of Color

Indie Atlantic Films is a full service production company. This includes everything from preproduction, cinematography, animation, directing, editing and color grading. Pete and the team pride themselves on being storytellers that are focused on quality and creativity. All of which are easily seen with the Publix "At Season's Peak" campaign.

The company is working on three spots for three different regions in the United States for Publix - "Grapes" for the California market, "Apples" for Washington state and the soon to be completed "Strawberries" for Florida.

Pete explained the look and feel that Publix wanted for the campaign: "For these spots, the Publix team wanted a cinema doc style feel to the shoot and a very natural warm feel with the grade. They wanted the fruit to be the star and making it look the best it could be was the primary focus, while also capturing the landscape and feel of the area it was grown in, one being central California and the other the Columbia river valley in Washington state."

For grading the spots, Peter uses DaVinci Resolve 12, the latest version of Blackmagic Design's editing and color correction software.

"Grading food, especially produce, can be challenging. Resolve was a huge help in this regard," he said. "I used Resolve's qualifier the most to isolate the various shades of red that the apples were so I could maintain their perfect color while grading the rest of a shot. I also used the qualifier in conjunction with Resolve's Power Windows in the grapes spot to keep the green, purple and red grapes looking their very best without affecting the rest of the frame."

"For these spots I used Resolve's qualifier and new 3D tracker the most," he continued. "The qualifier was used mostly to isolate the colors of the fruit. I used the 3D tracker, which is insanely accurate, on the people to get a better grade on their skin tones."

DaVinci Resolve 12 includes a number of new 3D color correction tools, including an incredibly accurate 3D perspective tracker and a new 3D keyer with extensive matte finesse options.

With the 3D tracker and DaVinci Resolve's Power Windows, Peter also was able to adjust the backgrounds and sky around the produce and fields. "There were two sunrise shots that had a pretty blown out sky but properly exposed trees. I used several power windows and the 3D tracker to dial the sky back down and add some blue while maintaining the exposure and balance of the trees."

One Tool Hits the Spot

In finishing the first two spots, Peter ran into the usual last minutes changes that come with any project during post production. With DaVinci Resolve's new editing features, he was able to quickly jump in and make the final adjustments within a single tool.

"I had to switch out a shot and add about six frames to another shot after the grade was almost finished. Since I used an XML for my conform I had the full clips available within Resolve, so I was able to switch over to the edit tab and make those adjustments without having to go back to the original editing system and re export. Saved me a lot of time and the new edit setup feels pretty natural to me coming from my editing background," he said.

"The 3D tracker is definitely the best new grading feature in Resolve 12. The power and accuracy of the trackers in Resolve is what I feel sets it apart from other programs when it comes to creating a high quality color grade. And the more I learn about the editing features of Resolve 12 the more I'm likely to try a full edit and color grade within Resolve 12 on my next project," Peter finished.

About Pete Gill
After graduating with a BA in Film Production from Palm Beach Atlantic University, Pete spent several years working in the film industry in Los Angeles working as a cinematographer and editor. He has worked on projects with DisneyNature, as well as stereoscopic 3D projects for Coca Cola, Toyota Scion, and as Post Production Supervisor for a 3D television series for Discovery's 3Net channel. He also ran his own boutique film production company, Hundred Films, and worked with clients such as Chick Fil A, Onitsuka Tiger, Levi's, Herbalife, AEG, Postagram, Sincerely Ink, as well as several music videos and nonprofit campaign videos.

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Related Keywords:BlackMagic Design, DaVinci Resolve, color correction

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