Q & A With Briarpatch DP Zachary Galler
May 15th, 2020

Q: When building the look for Briarpatch, did you find that you were trying to pull any inherent look out of the image at first or did the image start from a neutral place?

This was my first time using the RED RANGER (with MONSTRO 8K VV), and I was immediately impressed with its capabilities. The LUT I used came from Michael Cioni and Ian Vertovec at Light Iron. They knew what I was looking for - a high contrast and saturated, but flexible LUT that could handle bright desert exteriors and low-lit interiors while also being able to keep multiple skin-tones looking natural. As soon as I loaded it on to the camera, my DIT Tim Gregoire and I were impressed. Both by the dynamic range on the camera, and the way it worked with the LUT to keep the image looking great.

Q: Can you speak to RED’s skin-tone rendition?

Briarpatch has a wide range of skin-tones and the RED handled them beautifully and faithfully.

Q: How does the flexibility of RAW affect your mindset when going into post?

I knew that my LUT had cut off the bottom end of things and went black relatively quickly. I also knew the highlights rolled off in a really filmic way all the way to the top. So I knew that if I could get things working well within the bracket of my LUT on set, that when I got into final color I would have tons of flexibility if I needed it.

Q: How many different LUTs did you find yourself using during a production?

Just the one: “FILM LUT” from Light Iron- which I believe is now widely in use.

Q: How do you use your LUTs in finishing? Are they your basis for your correction?

When working with a DIT, especially one as good as Tim Gregoire, I’ll try to get as close as possible in lighting and CDL corrections on set, so that hopefully things are very close by the time I get to final color. Sometimes things get used in very different ways than initially intended, especially on TV, so it’s very helpful to have things close to matching going into color. That way we can spend our limited time tweaking where needed, instead of just getting a general correction.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about working with RED?

I had not done a show with the RED before, only smaller short-form projects. For this project, where the pilot was shot on DXL (ed: Panavision Millenium DXL2), I knew I wanted to stay in the RED environment that Tod Campbell had started with. So that was one aspect, but I also chose it for other reasons- like wanting a non-Alexa / less naturalistic look. The new sensors and color-science have really made this camera right for a much wider range of projects, in my mind. I love how it deals with highlights and colors, in a way that I had not seen on the earlier cameras.

Thanks to Zachary Galler for chatting with RED. Follow Zachary on Instagram