Baselight Gets ‘Under the Skin’ of Scarlett Johansson Film


Collaborative Digital Workflow Creates Look for Sci-Fi Movie Directed by Jonathan Glazer

Last Updated: March 14, 2014 5:58 pm GMT
(London, United Kingdom--March 14, 2014) Dirty Looks, the London colour grading studio specialising in Baselight grading for independent movies, carried out the finish of "Under the Skin" - the latest movie from director Jonathan Glazer, starring Scarlett Johansson. Visual effects were completed by Dirty Looks’ creative partner, One of Us; sharing the same building made collaboration even easier to realise the director’s vision.

The film, shot in Glasgow and rural Scotland, was captured by Daniel Landin on the ARRI ALEXA and one-cam, a unique small cinema-quality digital camera, specifically developed by One of Us for covert shooting in Glasgow’s city-centre. Custom colour science was developed to enable the cameras to sit together in the edit and used in Baselight to help balance the feel of the cameras.

As visual effects developed they were regularly conformed and worked on in a 2k grading environment, allowing the look to evolve while keeping creative options open. Dirty Looks’ Tom Balkwill explained: “Combining technical resources allowed a quick turnaround between creative departments and helped us deliver what this film needed, not only quickly but to the highest standards - the efficient workflow from VFX, aided by the Baselight integration, meant quality never had to be compromised.”

From this starting point, colourist John Claude came in to set the grade. “I worked closely with Jonathan Glazer to achieve the look that felt right,” he commented. “He was very clear that it should be rooted in an everyday Glaswegian reality.

“The balance in the grade was naturalistic in the street cinematography, then more stylised as we took the viewer through some of the more curious, unsettling sequences,” he added. “The blue ‘swimmer’ sequences, when one of Scarlett’s victims is under the pit, were quite challenging, but made easier with Baselight’s matte-layer stack management.”

Tom Balkwill pointed to another key scene that represented a huge technical challenge. “In this scene Johansson’s face emerges from an accumulation of street visions – a very complicated montage made up of 93 blended 2K layers. This sequence could only be finished with Baselight, because each individual layer needed its own tweaks in stabilising and grading. You absolutely need the power of Baselight to achieve what we did for Under the Skin.

Under the Skin has been critically acclaimed by festival audiences worldwide. It goes on general release in the UK on 14 March and in the USA on 4 April.

About Dirty Looks
Specialists in colour grading and mastering of independent British feature films, Dirty Looks collaborates with directors across a range of projects from the award-winning Nick Cave film, 20,000 Days On Earth to Danny Boyle’s London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony films, where the team installed a pop-up grading facility in the Olympic Park. Clients can enjoy a relaxed, boutique grading environment in the heart of Soho. The spacious DI theatre features DCI projection by Christie, Sony HD monitoring with conform, grading and mastering on Baselight, along with encrypted DCP facilities and 5.1 sound. Dirty Looks works in collaboration with established studio One Of Us, offering a full spectrum of visual services under one roof. For more information, visit

About One Of Us
One Of Us is a Soho based studio founded in 2006 by co-directors Tom Debenham, Dominic Parker and Rachael Penfold. The company ethos is one of creative intelligence applied through filmmakers’ sensibility, with a focus on design and collaboration. Working across a broad range of film and commercial projects, One Of Us has become an essential boutique for visual effects and related work. The company has experience of all stages of production, from concept through planning, photography and post-production, scaling and tailoring involvement as appropriate. For more information, visit

About FilmLight
FilmLight develops colour grading and colour management systems as well as film scanning and data management solutions, that are transforming film and video post-production and setting new standards for quality, reliability and performance. The company’s products are in use every day by leading studios, labs and post-production facilities around the globe as essential components in their digital intermediate, commercials and video production pipelines. Fuelled by some of the industry’s brightest minds, FilmLight is committed to delivering innovative tools that allow creative professionals to work at the forefront of the digital media revolution. Founded in 2002, FilmLight is headquartered in London, where its research, design and manufacturing operations are centred. Sales and support are conducted through regional service centres located in London, Los Angeles, New York, Hamburg, Beijing, Bangkok, Mumbai, Sydney, Auckland and Singapore, and through qualified partners worldwide. For more information, visit 


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