Essential Skills For Assistant Colorists : Introduction
Most of my Insights, have been based in the creative & technical parts of color grading – helping you become a better colorist with skills that I’ve learned over the years.
But recently, I thought it would be great to change gears a little bit and dive into the world of becoming a career colorist.
Being creative and pushing yourself is a huge part of becoming a professional colorist but how exactly do you land that first big job?
What is the secret to getting paid every day to grade commercials and feature films?
I’ve worked in large facilities my whole post career so that’s what I’ll be focusing on, plus I’ll share a secret, I’ve always been a bit too scared to go freelance!
In this Insight, we’ll be taking a look at the skill sets that you may need to refine to help your chances of getting a job as an assistant colorist.
Later on in this series, I’ll be showing you how to apply these skills in DaVinci Resolve.
If you want to get into the world of color grading by going through a facility rather than being a freelance colorist you will probably end up starting in an entry level position – and that entry level job might be very entry level!
Even if you have a PhD in film-making, but you have zero experience as a colorist your first job is probably going to involve making tea or fetching coffee.
This is not a knock on your knowledge but post houses run on trust. We run to such tight deadlines and high pressure situations people need to get to know you and see your knowledge in action before they will trust you with bigger jobs.
What People Look For In An Assistant
The reason we have assistant colorists at my facility is due to the simple fact that the grading suites should always be filled with clients grading and grading with the colorist who mans that room.
This is where an assistant colorist comes in.
From my perspective as a senior colorist, I want someone that I can trust to prepare the project right up to the point where I open the project in the grading suite as the clients walk in.
For example, my assistant checks xmls , offline reference movies, audio and generally kicks ass on the workflow side of things.
At Smoke and Mirrors, we trust our assistants with our whole session and even the final delivery on some projects so finding the right person is essential.
So you might be thinking what are the specific skill sets that an assistant must have? Great question, I’ll answer that over the next few sections.