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The Work That Made Me: Clark Griffiths



Colourist from Framestore in Chicago on the advent of Vimeo, the cinematography of Jordan Cronenweth and his first big agency project for Pokemon

The Work That Made Me: Clark Griffiths

Clark Griffiths is a colourist at Framestore’s Chicago studio where he works on commercials, independent short films and music video projects for leading brands and entertainment companies.

He has graded campaigns for household brands like Cadillac, Sherwin-Williams, Geico and Allstate. Some of his most recent projects include Nintendo’s ‘Galar is Calling', Corona Seltzer’s ‘Delivery Crew', and Oculus Quest’s ‘Vader Immortal'. He also colored State Farm’s first ever Super Bowl commercial, ‘Drake From State Farm,’ which was heralded as one of the year’s most popular spots.

Prior to joining Framestore to build out the Chicago studio’s grading offering, Griffiths spent the better part of a decade as a professional photographer specializing in the advertising space. He worked with household names such as Walt Disney World, Southwest Airlines, Toyota, Publix Supermarkets and many more.

His experience as a photographer working on large scale campaigns and communicating directly with clients provided invaluable training and insights that he still utilizes daily now that he has switched out his camera for a screen.

The ad/music video from my childhood that stays with me…

There are two music videos that shoot to the top of my mind. The first is Tupac’s classic ‘California Love’. This video came out right around the time we finally got MTV in my small hometown of Clay Center, Kansas. I remember being obsessed with not only the song, but the pure spectacle that was the music video. Talk about some Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome vibes!

The second music video is for the track ‘Deep’ by Nine Inch Nails. This video is so visceral and gritty. What’s more badass than Trent Reznor racing around in an old muscle car while wearing a black fur coat and covered in green dye?

The ad/music video/game/web platform that made me want to get into the industry…

The advent of Vimeo is what really got me interested. I had been an advertising photographer for a few years when Vimeo launched and wanted to experiment with motion. Seeing all of the amazing short films, music videos and brand pieces that people were creating really inspired me to give directing a go. Directing in turn exposed me to the post production process and the art of color grading. 

The creative work that I keep revisiting…

Blade Runner is a film I always go back to. I often put it on the TV late at night when I’m in need of some inspiration. The set design, the costumes, and the cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth are hard to beat. 

The Fragile by Nine Inch Nails is an album I always turn to for inspiration. It’s a two disc box set that features a number of tracks that found their way onto movie soundtracks such as 300 and Man on Fire. 

My first professional project…

My first big agency project was a campaign for the Nintendo Switch game, ‘Pokemon Sword & Shield'. This was such a huge collaboration between all facets of post production. The spot was directed by Murray Butler of Framestore Pictures with 3D Pokemon character creation as well as comp and matte painting all done at Framestore’s Chicago studio. The end product was amazing and it has since gone on to be one of the highest selling Pokemon games ever. 

The piece of work that made me so angry that I vowed to never make anything like *that*…

I spent 10 years of my life living in Florida and nobody does crappy local commercials quite like Florida does. Needless to say, I vowed never to be involved in anything like that. 

The piece of work that still makes me jealous…

‘Late Night’ music video by Foals. This video is gorgeous throughout and was masterfully directed by NABIL. The way the camera moves seamlessly through a seedy motel somewhere in Eastern Europe documenting birth, life, and death in a somewhat NSFW way is extremely well done. No doubt there was a ton of post production involved. 

The creative project that changed my career…

I would say that it has been people, as opposed to a specific project, that changed my career. The right people noticed my work ethic and desire to become a colorist and helped me get there. I also have to thank a lot of friends who have gone on to become great directors and DPs. They were the first ones to pass projects along to me so I could start building my reel. 

The work that I’m proudest of…

I’m honestly proud of all the work I’ve done. From the ten years I spent as an advertising photographer to my time now as a colourist. The current work shapes the next, and so on and so forth.  What I’m most proud of, though, is my family and how they stuck with me through this journey. It wasn’t an easy decision to walk away from my photography career to start over in post production.

I was involved in this and it makes me cringe…

Ha! This question brought back memories of some hilarious and cringeworthy projects I worked on while assisting. Those types of projects are just part of growing as a colorist and are nothing to be ashamed of. 

The recent project I was involved in that excited me the most…

Recently, the Framestore team in Chicago completed work on State Farm’s first ever Super Bowl spot, ‘Drake from State Farm,’ which was also the first Super Bowl spot I had ever graded! Everyone from the agency creatives, to the production team, and the post production teams really kicked ass on this campaign - it was one of the smoothest projects I’ve been a part of. 

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Framestore - Chicago, Tue, 09 Mar 2021 16:18:25 GMT