Singapore’s Hit Zombie Comedy Zombiepura Graded on DaVinci Resolve

Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve and DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel was used for colour correction of Singapore’s first zombie comedy, Zombiepura. The film, which gained international distribution, is the first full length feature directed by internationally known short film filmmaker, Jacen Tan, who also was part of the post production team grading Zombiepura with DaVinci Resolve.

Set in an army conscription camp, Zombiepura tells the story of a strange virus that breaks out and causes lazy soldier Corporal Tan Kayu’s camp mates to turn into ravenous zombies. Completely out of options, the soldiering slacker is forced to team up with his arch rival, the infamously tough Sergeant Lee Siao On, to survive the funniest zombie apocalypse.

The film, which was presented at Cannes in 2018, was recently purchased by Korea’s Contents Panda and GSC Movies, and was shown in Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Cambodia. It is slated to open in the Philippines in 2019.

Tan began his work as short filmmaker, gaining international fame after making one of Singapore’s first global viral sensations with a film called Tak Giu. Since then, he has continued to create a number of short films and music videos through his Hosaywood brand, with Zombiepura as his first full length film. In order to get the highest quality look for ‘Zombiepura’ Tan early on decided to use DaVinci Resolve.

“DaVinci Resolve has always been the go to system in this region for colour grading for the big screen. For Zombiepura, I was inspired by classic horror and action films from the 80s. The story is a blend of horror and comedy, so we had to keep a balance between the post apocalyptic desaturated look, and the bright colours of a comedy,” said Tan. “I was very pleased when I watched it for the first time on a cinema screen. I was especially pleased with how the colours brought out the mood and tone of the story.”

“We did a one day test shoot before actual production to see how the zombie makeup will appear on the actual camera. It was important for me to know what was possible in camera first and how colour grading can enhance the believability of the zombies. For example, a simple thing like changing the colour/saturation of the fake blood made it look more real,” he continued.

DaVinci Resolve was used during pre production to create LUTs and dial in camera looks for the various horror and comedy looks that Tan envisioned. Following production, DaVinci Resolve was used for all colour correction, conforms.

“Blackmagic Design’s hardware and software have been reliable and efficient throughout the colour grading process. Because of how intuitive Davinci Resolve was, the test grading sessions with Jacen Tan and the DP, Amandi Wong, were smooth and productive. LUTs were easily generated for on set use to ensure we got the right exposure for the night scenes,” says Khien, colourist, Zombiepura.

He continued, “Grading a feature film or any other long format project can be tedious, but Davinci Resolve’s Advance Panel cuts that time down significantly. A repetitive task that would take more steps or more fingers to press is conveniently completed by a push of a button. This saves valuable time and I’m able to spend the bulk of the sessions on creatively crafting and exploring different looks for the scenes. DaVinci Resolve is definitely my colour grading system of choice during any zombie apocalypse!”

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