Tokyo’s Digital Garden Grades ‘Eren The Southpaw’ with DaVinci Resolve Studio

Blackmagic Design has announced that Mainichi Broadcasting System (MBS) MBS/Tokyo Broadcasting System’s (TBS) drama series “Eren the Southpaw” was graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio. The show, a live action drama series based on a manga series by artist Kappy, includes hundreds of shots per episode graded with an advanced collaborative workflow at Tokyo’s Digital Garden using a mix of DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel, and DaVinci Resolve Mini or Micro Panel.

Digital Garden colourists Masahiro Ishiyama and Osamu Haga are the main colourists for the series, with one handling grading for the present and one for the past, with both working on DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel. With the large number of scenes, difficult grades and tight deadlines, Digital Garden built a seamless collaborative workflow around DaVinci Resolve.

The series follows Koichi Asakura and Eren Yamagishi, who met each other while in high school and continue their relationship as Koichi becomes a designer and Eren becomes an up and coming painter in NYC. “To those who could not become a genius” is the catch phrase for this series and the story depicts the people and environment in the art industry and at an ad agency based on the manga author’s actual experience.

For Digital Garden, best known for their colour grading TV commercial work, “Eren the Southpaw” was one of their first long form drama series. The show’s DP, Akiyoshi Yoshida, wanted to use Digital Garden’s commercial expertise and asked them to grade the drama as if they were grading a TV commercial, while at the same time create two different looks between current and past scenes. To do this, he shot in two different aspect ratios – 4:3 for past and 2:1 for current, with colourist Ishiyama grading the present and Haga grading the past.

“The current scenes I graded were mainly in the office, so I aimed for a more realistic look yet still contain decent shadow in the scenes. The set design for this series is good quality, so I took advantage of the footage fully and tried to pull out the best tone possible,” said Ishiyama, the lead colourist of Digital Garden.

Haga said: “The past scenes are a more fun memory of youth. So I made more like pastel tone with brighter and more colours. I used a lot of Power Windows and keys even for single shots, such as brightening the white of characters’ eyes. And I sometimes use DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel or Micro Panel if I need to color correct at the location. However, I mainly use DaVinci Resolve Advanced Panel. Using panels allow me to grade instinctively and fast. I can say I cannot grade without them.”

“The Advanced Panel allows us faster grading; however, even Mini and Micro Panel have the same quality of feeling when I touch the track balls.” Ishiyama added.

Each episode of the show required three days of post production, which had to include client presentations. To meet these tight deadlines, Digital Garden created a collaborative workflow between the main colourists and assistant colourists.

“There are more than 100 shots just needed to do colour matching for one episode. So we, the main colourists, created base looks and then the assistants did matching other shots with the base looks using the Mini Panel,” said Ishiyama.

During preview, Ishiyama played the episode with the Advanced Panel and the DP and director gave feedback. While the preview went on, the assistant was fixing colours based on their feedback using the Mini Panel. By the time the preview was over, most of the fixes were complete.

“This collaborative workflow has three advantages. The first is more for sales perspective in that we can increase our production ratio for the grading suites. Next is we, the colourists, can concentrate on more creative works. And the third is the assistants can learn grading in the actual working environment where the main colourist and client are in the same suite,” Ishiyama concluded.

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