Educate yourself continuously. Technology is developing so fast, you will always have to keep learning something new (cameras, programs, codecs), but that’s also what makes it fun.
Color grading requires specific equipment, which is expensive. I recommend finding a mentor or a post-production house where you can start as an assistant, with the prospect of getting hands-on experience.
A colorist is one of the last ones to touch the project, which usually has been in the works for many years. Ideally you’ve been involved from the beginning. But if you join the team later in the production, always
be aware of all the work and thought that has gone into it, before it arrives in your grading suite. Communicatication with your team is the key.
Last but not least, if you work with dedication, you can do anything you aspire to. Don’t listen to people who tell you, you can’t do it, believe in yourself.
This is a really hard question to answer, as every filmmaker would tell you.
I guess I have to answer what comes to mind first. One of the films that had the biggest impact on me was 21Gramms by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. I remember sitting in the theater, minutes after the credits were over and the lights were on, being so moved by the story and thinking: This is what I want to do in my life…
Documentary film found its way into my life actually through a book Das Gefühl des Augenblicks: Zur Dramaturgie des Dokumentarfilms (The feeling of the Moment) by Thomas Schadt, which I read in one swoop, with a beating heart and the same thought: This is what I want to do in my life…
Documentaries that left a big impression on me were: Hell House by Geroge Ratliff, with telling both views of the story simultaneously, Forbidden Lie$ by Anna Broinowski for showing how life writes stories you can’t even make up and Freedom to Marry by Eddie Rosentstein, which I had the pleasure of color grading, for documenting that with belief in equality, persistence and dedication, you can make change happen.
There are many many many more…..
Susi Dollnig is a freelance colorist from Austria, working in Berlin and Vienna.
After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Television at the FH Salzburg, she attended the One-Year Conservatory Documentary Filmmaking Program at New York Film Academy. Her graduation short documentary “Just Passing By” was shown at several festivals in the United States and Europe including the Big Apple Film Festival.
From 2013 and 2018 she was in-house colorist at the post-production boutique House of Trim in New York City. Susi has graded commercials for clients including Uniqlo and Estée Lauder, branded content for GQ and ESPN. She worked on feature documentaries including “Madina’s Dream”, SXSW Film Festival, and “Freedom to Marry”, available on Netflix US. Her projects have been screened at HOT DOCS, DocNYC and ITVFest. In 2015 she started teaching Davinci Resolve at the Documentary Department at New York Film Academy.
Having relocated to Europe in 2018, Susi was chosen to participate at the UP.GRADE programme for Color Grading, for fundamental knowledge of Color Science and Color Management, and preparing for future developments in HDR and ACES.
Since 2019 Susi works as a freelance colorist and is represented by the post-production agency M.A.P.-Management for Artists in Postproduction.
Focusing on Documentary Film, Feature Film and selected short films, her projects such as “Eva-Maria”, “We Hold the Line”, “Auslegung der Wirklichkeit”, and “Interstate 8”, have been successful in many European Festivals including Cannes, CPH:DOX, DOK.fest Munich and Diagonale. Next to theatrical projects, she works on TV Productions for ARTE, Deutsche Welle, 3sat and ARD. Meanwhile she continues to give workshops in various facilities to young filmmakers, to introduce them to color grading and color science, to inspire them to find their path in the world of color.