As an acclaimed colourist with a reputation for delivering a great film grading, Jason R Moffat is understandably fussy about the equipment he uses.
This is particularly true of colour grading monitors, which need to be critically accurate in a film grading studio, where ‘almost there’ is not good enough.
For this reason Moffat, who owns and runs a DaVinci Resolve-based grading suite in London, recently upgraded his Grade 1 picture display to a Penta HD2Line Pro 32" monitor, which was supplied, installed and calibrated by leading UK monitor supplier Oxygen DCT.
“I wasn’t happy with the level of calibration I was achieving with my previous monitor, so I decided to upgrade,” he explains. “Steve Shaw from LightIllusion, who provides some of my film profiles, recommended the Penta and when I approached the company for a spec they put me in touch with their UK partner, Oxygen DCT.”
After consulting with Moffat about his work and aspirations, Oxygen DCT’s staff provided him with both 23” and 32” Penta models for comparison. Moffat conducted extensive testing within his work environment before choosing the 32” version as more suitable, particularly for the size of the room and detailed images.
“I was very impressed by the colour range in the monitor and how faithfully it matched cinema projection,” he says. “What I particularly like about the Penta is the scale and response of the display which allows me to make faster decisions on density and how much light to put in a scene without having to consult the scopes as often. As the vast majority of my work is film, it’s good to have a large, highly detailed display that I can trust. Like most colourists, I have a slightly OCD approach to grading, so precision is vital. Knowing that what you see in front of you is accurate makes the process more transparent from grading session to theatre.”
Oxygen DCT’s Penta series monitors are precision monitors that are built to order, using only the highest ‘grade A’ 10-bit LCD panels. Every aspect of the monitors is optimised to give the highest level of performance with precision accuracy, with user adjustable parameters right down to tolerance of 0.1Cd of brightness. The introduction of 10-bit LCD technology has pushed the quality boundary even further, enabling the recently introduced Penta Gold Series to exceed, in many parameters, the performance of Grade 1 CRT reference monitors.
“Numerous grading houses and post facilities including Framestore, Objective Productions, Mwinci, Films@59, Sequence Post, BBC, C4 and ESPN have chosen Penta Series picture monitors because they offer such exceptionally high performance – and they are tremendously affordable,” says Oxygen DCT’s Managing Director Steve Hathaway. “All the monitors in the Penta Series have a long life cycle and require minimum calibration because their factory calibration is so well within the REC709 colourimetry specifications, which saves our customers considerable time and money. What’s more, these monitors deliver astonishing detail, lifelike colour and sublime results, which is a very important factor for a sector of the TV and film industry where monitor quality has become such a critical issue.”
Since installing his Penta, Moffat has used it to grade a variety of film projects and commercials, including Romola Garai’s directorial debut Scrubber, shot on 35mm, one of Nigeria’s most celebrated directors Kunle Afolayan’s new feature Phone Swap, and Emily Wardill’s art feature Full Firearms, in association with the Serpentine Gallery, where precise colour palates were a critical part of the process.
“The majority of my work involves fiction features and shorts and there tends to be an even split of 35mm and 16mm film and digital formats,” he explains. “Depending at what point I enter the process, my job can range from just working on the final filmed project, through to consulting during the pre-production stage and providing tests setting the basis for film stock choices, lighting conditions and pallets.”
Moffat adds that, apart from the actual manipulation of the colour of the filmed footage, colourists generally have a good knowledge of formats, colour spaces, colour science and film stocks.
“We’re there to bring the director’s and DOP's visions together in a cohesive visual harmony that is also appropriate for the tone and pace of the film. In the best case scenario, a colourist will balance and create continuity scene by scene and additionally, if required, apply an aesthetic look to a piece. In less than ideal situations, a colourist may have to effectively relight scenes or fix extreme colour contamination or temperature issues.”
As collaboration is key to the success of a colourist’s role, it is no surprise that Jason Moffat expects an equally collaborative service from the people who supply his equipment.
“I’ve certainly received that from Oxygen DCT,” he says. ““The level of attention they gave me was vital when it came to choosing the Penta, because Oxygen DCT will ultimately be responsible for keeping the display calibrated and accurate. They have already calibrated the unit on-site and have been very interested in what I am doing with it. I've continued to have a rewarding experience with both Penta and Oxygen DCT and I’m delighted I chose this monitor, I've seen very little that can touch it in terms of accuracy and size in the LCD market.”
About Oxygen DCT:
Oxygen DCT is a broadcasts systems solutions provider with a deep knowledge and understanding of the broadcast and professional media markets. This dynamic organisation has amassed in just over five years, a very extensive and comprehensive products portfolio of over 3000 carefully designed broadcast and production products that represent the pinnacle of engineering excellence. Oxygen DCT was the first company in the broadcast industry to fully implement online facilities for its customers and its unique, comprehensive online ordering facility automatically configures equipment systems for customers, saving time and provides industry professionals with the convenience of immediate online pricing. The 'one-stop-shop' website caters for the smallest requirements whilst also allowing users to prepare their own quotes and place orders online with immediate order confirmation. Oxygen DCT also provides advice, support and expertise as part of its ‘life cycle’ care scheme, ensuring that customers are fully serviced throughout their career life cycles. www.oxygendct.com