digital film colourist jill bogdanowicz

– . – Digital Film Colourist – Jill Bogdanowicz


Digital Film Colourist – Jill Bogdanowicz

A Life in Colour

For the past decade, Jill Bogdanowicz has worked as a digital colourist on films as diverse as Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, The Exorcism of Emily Rose and Hereafter. She takes us behind the scenes of a craft that audiences rarely notice.

Jill Bogdanowicz is something of an anomaly in the world of postproduction, quite apart from the obvious fact that she is a woman. She is equally at home in the very different worlds of art and science, attending art school at the University of Sienna after getting a BA in fine arts from the State University of New York. Her father, Mitch Bogdanowicz, was a senior film colour scientist for Kodak, and her grandfather developed one of the first 3D stereoscopic cameras, so film science is clearly in her genes. It is hardly surprising, then, that Bogdanowicz has ended up as an in-demand colourist for directors ranging from Kevin Smith to the Coen Brothers to Clint Eastwood, with whom she has collaborated six times, including on his latest, Hereafter. Bogdanowicz is now a senior digital intermediate colourist with Technicolor, based in California.

How did you get started in grading and post-production?
I’m an artist and have a background in painting. I started as an intern at Kodak in Rochester, New York, while I was in college in 1997. I was working in a research and development area of Kodak, doing research on the digital intermediate process [of colour manipulation] and, basically, I started learning all the technical stuff behind the digital intermediate. At the time, Kodak owned Cinesite in Hollywood and, after I graduated with my art degree, I went out to California to be an assistant on the first complete digital intermediate movie, which was [the Coen Brothers’] Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? I learnt a lot about the digital intermediate process on that, and I worked my way up from there, using my art and photography background. I also have a minor in physics from college, so my technical background, with the physics and colour science, really helped quite a bit.

So you didn’t start working with film, you went straight into the digital realm?
At Kodak I did some R&D with different film stocks. It was part of my job to analyse the response and the curves of the different film stocks and plot them, and to work with the departments that were actually designing and building the film stocks. So I’m very familiar with film and was involved with the labs there, but I didn’t actually work in them, and I started working directly with DI.

A lot of cinematographers say they prefer to shoot on film and then work with DIs. Would you say this is still the best way to work?
At the moment, yes I think so. At the same time there are some really amazing digital cameras coming out that have a very low noise level and produce some very beautiful, high-resolution images. If cinematographers can get an image that is workable on a DI, has low noise and that they can light the way they want, as long as the camera performs well for them, I think they are going to start moving over more and more.

continues in , issue 20