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[InC-terview] Award-Winning Film Colourist Azman Mohamed!

By Flora  /  17 Mar 2017 (Friday)

Photo Credit: NYFA

InCinemas speaks to Azman Mohamed, an award-winning colourist and musician who brings moving images to life through colours. He is one of the judges on the jury panel at this year's National Youth Film Awards 2017 (NYFA), a short film competition aimed at youths and media students to showcase their talents. 

InCinemas: Hi Azman, can you tell us more about your job as a colourist?

Hi! As a colourist, it’s my job to bring out the best out of the materials that was given to me. By adjusting the contrast, brightness levels, hue and saturation of colours, I work with the cinematographer or the director to realise their vision of what the image should look like. Often times the colourist is also given the freedom to give their creative input in setting the tone as well as the mood of the image.

InCinemas: When did you realise that you wanted to be a colourist?

I’ve always wanted to be a colourist since my early days in post-production. I find it fascinating that an image has so much possibilities in its story-telling and by way of colour manipulation, we could bring those ideas to fruition in so many ways. I was also interested in fine arts and was painting at the time so the idea of “painting” an image digitally intrigues me.

InCinemas: What about the job do you love and dislike the most?

I love the idea of working together with many talented directors and cinematographers and pushing the boundaries of our image-making through colour. There are too many things about the job that I love that it’s difficult to dislike.

InCinemas: Colour grading is an important aspect of filmmaking, but is also often neglected and goes unappreciated. Why this profession?

Things have changed quite a bit these few years. Colourist is definitely being acknowledged to have played an important role in image making. That’s why initiatives like NYFA has colour grading as one of its judging categories. More and more awards are coming out in acknowledgement of this craft. Although I don’t think we will be seeing the colourist name on the opening titles anytime soon ;-)
For me being a colourist is a kind of wizardry. Transforming an image through colour is like creating a world unlike any other. Turning day to night, making an ordinary scene into a fantasy and changing colours into any hues imaginable…that and more is what make me choose to be a colourist.

InCinemas: What are the challenges you faced as a colourist?

Besides the technical challenges, there are other challenges that one might face as a colourist. One of them is how to meet clients' expectation in a colour grading session. Understanding the brief that was given is crucial. Often times the clients already have a certain "look" that they want to see in their image so that has to be delivered before the colourist can offer other options. Sometimes the ideas can come from many sides of the client and as a colourist, we need to understand and consider those comments as well.

InCinemas: What are some of the projects you’ve worked on?

I’ve recently worked on the HBO series “Halfworlds” which is in its second season and it’s being aired right now and several commercials for Singapore and the regional market.

(Find out more about NYFA here!)

InCinemas: As part of the judging panel in NYFA, what do you hope to see in the contestants’ works?

I hope that the contestants will maximise this opportunity to showcase their colour grading ideas as well as technical capabilities in scene matching, producing innovative looks and moods that not only supports and advance the storyline but bringing it to another level.

InCinemas: Any tips/advice for the participants?

Be bold and create the image that excites you!

InCinemas: What are your hopes for Singapore’s film industry in the future?

That Singapore will once again be a hot bed for the film industry talents like we used to be back in those days. Bring those mentors and masters that could inspire this generation of film makers to our shore. We may not have the space to stretch our legs a little but we will make up for with ideas far surpassing our own expectation and continuously improving our technique of image making. That is my hope for the future of our film industry.

This video explains what colourists do:

Submission for NYFA 2017 closes on Saturday, 15 April 2017! 
Comments (1)
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30 Mar 2017
This is sooo cool..

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