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Color Grading the “Lego Batman Movie”

SYDNEY — Due to a long and productive relationship with Warner Bros. — through films such as Happy Feet, The Matrix and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole — Sydney’s Animal Logic collaborated on The LEGO Movie (2014) from pitch and proof of concept through to post. After the success of this film, Animal Logic and Warner Bros. began working on a spin-off, and three years later The LEGO Batman Movie enjoyed global success.

Can you talk about how you developed the grade?
Chynoweth: “For this all-animated feature, we acted less as post-production and more as part of the production team. Where we might normally get four weeks to grade a live-action movie, here we were embedded in the production process for a year. From near the beginning of the project we were working with production designer Grant Freckelton to develop looks and we essentially became an extension of the lighting, compositing and output departments rather than just waiting for finished shots to be delivered to us.
“The process began with Grant and Chris [McKay, the director], where we would work a lot to get exactly the right feel. At one stage we were dark and gritty and very Batman. Very early on they had some ideas where they wanted elements of a ‘70s film, so we had to work out how we could incorporate those but keep it feeling modern — and then we lifted it up a little to get a bit of fun happening.
“We ended up coining the phrase ‘baby’s first apocalypse’: dark and gritty and Gotham-like, but all the bits that could be made fun would be fun, and anything that could be turned up was turned up to 11. Our motto all the way through was ‘enhance, enhance!”

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