Definition November 2023 - Web


ALL HEART Tom Harper’s latest project, Heart of Stone, is a sleek, saturated spy film. Colourist Simone Grattarola explains how the look was achieved WORDS Katie Kasperson

F ranchises like Mission Impossible and James Bond have set the bar for all spy films that follow – including Netflix’s ambitious thriller, Heart of Stone . Directed by Tom Harper, the film follows Rachel ‘Nine of Hearts’ Stone (Gal Gadot), an international peacekeeper acting as an MI6 agent, as she attempts to prevent an AI system nicknamed ‘The Heart’ from falling into the wrong hands. Thanks to Harper’s longtime cinematographic collaborator George Steel, the film has a visually rich look, separate from the smoky aesthetic that’s often associated with action flicks. To get this crisp result, Steel called upon Time Based Arts’ (TBA) Simone Grattarola to make the grade. VINTAGE VISION “Tom’s vision for Heart of Stone was to maintain an authentic, unvarnished quality that would resonate with the audience, free from artificial embellishments,” explains Grattarola. He, Harper and Steel drew inspiration from 70s thrillers like Three Days of the Condor and The Parallax View , wishing to mimic their filmic look by shooting on 35mm celluloid and preserving natural tones.

This proved impossible for certain scenes, leading Steel to shoot half the film on 35mm and half on the Red Raptor – “its colour rendition most closely mirrored the desired filmic quality,” according to Grattarola. Using Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve Studio for grading, Grattarola explored various grain emulations before settling on Filmbox, an OFX plug-in, thanks to its ‘exceptional halation tool’. Once the digital shots were graded to match those shot on film, “a side-by-side comparison underscored the cohesion we achieved,” says Grattarola.

The trio’s next challenge was incorporating the visual effects. “As fresh and improved VFX sequences materialised, adjustments to initially approved grades were warranted,” Grattarola recounts. With an impending delivery deadline over their heads, “the formidable team at Harbor Picture Company managed to navigate the influx of these shots, ensuring that there was minimal disruption to our grading sessions. Smooth communication across the various departments became absolutely paramount in all of these time-sensitive scenarios.”

OLD MEETS NEW Considered colour grading allowed 35mm celluloid shots to be seamlessly stitched with digital footage



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