Let’s be honest, most people don’t really understand what colour grading is. Even some film buffs don’t really get what a colourist does. Jonny Tully was completely oblivious about it all once too. Although he loved photography and film, he went to university thinking he’d like to be become a film editor. But when he learnt about the craft of the colourist it was a revelation. He knew what he wanted to do with his life.
These days Jonny is a colourist at Big Buoy. LBB’s Alex Reeves caught up with him.
LBB> Growing up, what job did you want to end up doing?
JT> I wanted to be a photographer from an early age. I remember my parents giving me a camera for my 10th birthday. I've still got some of those prints and as you'd expect they weren't great. My finger was over the lens for most of them.
LBB> When was the first time you were aware of this industry?
JT> I guess I was always aware of film and television being made but probably not the specifics of advertising, production and post production until I got to university. I remember being quite overwhelmed by the prospect of finding a job after graduation but luckily it all worked out.
LBB> What first grabbed your attention and made you want to work in this industry, namely in grading?
JT> I really enjoyed video editing and went to university to become a film editor. I was working through some Adobe Premiere tutorials and there was a section on colour grading. Before that I didn't know you could do to video what you could to photos so I found it fascinating. After that I moved over to After Effects and Apple Color. I had no idea what I was doing but had a lot of fun trying to work it all out.
LBB> What do you look for in a film that makes you want to work on it?
JT> I'm always thrilled to work on a film with good characters and a strong story. If it's also been lit and shot in an interesting way then I know the grade will be really enjoyable. The DP will have planned it all out and shot it how they think best works for the narrative. Then you can work with them to build on what's already there and help create something really engaging.
LBB> What’s your favourite part of your job?
JT> It's a creative role so it can be very rewarding. At the start of a session when you're trying out different ideas and the client really likes what you've come up with, that's a great moment. Also later on when you get it all working how you intended. You watch the grade back together for the first time and they get excited about it. It's all good really. I'm very lucky.
LBB> What would you say is the proudest part of your career so far?
JT> I worked with Crowns & Owls last year. I'd been following their work since they started out and they came in with a really interesting promo for Hercules & Love Affair. There was a lot of colour in the video which we got to enhance and push to help create the world. I was really happy with the grade and the final piece. It was a real nice surprise to win gold at Kinsale for best colour grading too.
LBB> Lastly, what advice would you give to someone setting out in advertising?
JT> Work out what you want to do and when you know give it your all.