Veteran colorist Wong Kwok Fai shares his journey as a professional colourist
My journey as a colourist began in Hong Kong in 1983, where I started working in a post production house as a colorist.
At the time, we were using a system from Rank Cintel, called the MKIII, along with the “Amigo”, the first scene by scene color correction system. The ability to perform dynamic dissolve and secondary color corrections was very advanced technology at the time and the system and data was store in 5′ inch floppy disks! Although the system was working well, client demands soon outgrew its capabilities.
The “DaVinci” era began for us in 1991, with a brand new interface and DUI. Clients loved the new ‘power windows’ and it instantly became the industry standard in color correction. I was fortunate to be the first user in Hong Kong and in Asia!
As Steve Jobs once said, “stay hungry, stay foolish”. In 1995, I attended a colourist course in Florida that was conducted by Kevin Shaw. It was a decision I never regretted, as I learnt a lot of new techniques and a new way of color grading. Classroom training also allowed everyone to share their experiences and everyone gained a lot from that interaction.
For several years after that, I worked in different companies, in cities throughout Asia. That gave me the opportunity to experience a variety of color grading systems, including the Nucoda Film Master, Baselight etc. In my opinion, every system has its strength and challenges.
Blackmagic Design’s purchase of DaVinci Systems has made a great impact on color grading and the role of the colourist in general. When I heard about the courses run by the International Colorist Academy, founded by Kevin Shaw and Warren Eagles, I knew it was a great chance to upgrade myself and to get familiar with the ‘new’ DaVinci Resolve.
I attended a class in Singapore, where the ICA works with Media ASYLUM (a subsidiary of The Media Village) to run its colorist courses. Warren Eagles is a great instructor and did a good job helping us stay up to date with all the new features, working with camera raw material etc. And once again, the classroom experience, with the chance to network and share experience with other attendees, was extremely useful!
Attending the DaVinci Resolve class has helped me a lot, especially in getting a position at Oriental Post, which is based in Bangkok. They’re one of the largest post production house in the region and while skill and experience counts greatly, I think having an ICA certification played an important part in helping me land a colorist position there.
Aside from having the necessary color grading skills, I think there are a number of other qualities that help make a successful colourist. Good presentation, keeping a good relationship with colleagues, a good grasp of the clients needs and wants, responding quickly, creative thinking, hard work and a constant desire to improve – these are all qualities that a professional colorist should strive to have.Wong Kwok Fai currently holds the position of Senior Colorist at One Cool Production, a commercial and feature film post production facility based in Bangkok, Thailand.