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Vodafone ‘Power to You’

Philipp Orgassa
Senior Colorist

Berlin’s Das Werk and DaVinci Resolve Software Grade Vodafone’s ‘Power To You’

A young man sets the whole world in motion when he sets out to find his childhood sweetheart. He uses a network of opportunity consisting of mobile phones, viral SMS messaging and even celebrity endorsement by British Formula One racing driver Lewis Hamilton. With the power of his own drive and initiative, he is reunited with his true love in the middle of Times Square in New York City. Is this the scene from the latest romantic comedy? No, this is just one of a number of commercials, titled ‘Look Again’, that completes Vodafone’s Power to You campaign which launched a series of commercials worldwide.

Vodafone is one of the largest telecomm companies in Europe, operating in more than 30 countries worldwide, so the campaign’s message had to encapsulate an international feel to speak to their global audience. To help develop the look and feel for the ‘Look Again’ campaign, Vodafone turned to Berlin post-house PICTORION Das Werk and their Senior Colorist, Philipp Orgassa, to bring the brand and this particular advert to life.

Founded in 1991, Das Werk has a network of post-production facilities across Germany including, Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, and Munich.

Philipp studied at the University of Stuttgart as an engineer for media, and worked his way through the film scene as an intern, moving on to post production and working on music videos for the likes of German rock-sensation, Rammstein.

“I got into color grading because I was really interested in telecine and color grading, which is a very niche art form. I think it’s a highly respected role in this industry and one that still has some ‘magic’ to it. Deciding the look and mood of a film with Director or DoP is the best part of my job, and to look at a finished product and to know you had a part in achieving the overall results is a great feeling,” said Philipp.

The Vodafone advert, directed by Sebastian Strasser, was filmed in locations across the globe, from New York to Tokyo to Berlin and back again. Leading the cinematography for the campaign was Berlin-based Franz Lustig, DoP, who chose Das Werk and Philipp to create a big-screen cinematic look, while keeping a natural feel for the campaign.

"Franz Lustig has been working with me on many commercials and long form films. So he introduced me to Director Sebastian Strasser who worked with Das Werk for the first time, after spending most of his grading sessions in London."

The grading process for Vodafone’s advertising campaign only took one day and was graded on Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Software, in conjunction with the Resolve Control Surface, and using the Blackmagic Design DeckLink HD Extreme 3D card for capture and playback in Das Werk’s Final Cut Pro station.

For the campaign, Vodafone used a mix of formats, including Alexa ProRes, 35 & 16 mm film and Canon 5D, to capture the different looks and feels of the various locations where the character was looking for love. After the edits were approved, Das Werk scanned the film footage in 2K log. The Alexa and 5D material did not need any conversions, as Resolve can read and write Alexa's ProRes and Quicktime H.264 among many other formats. In a mixed format timeline, Philipp graded the different versions including handles.

“The flexibility of being able to use different formats worked very well for this project. Because we had to work in this manner Resolve was the best choice,” said Philipp.

Philipp applied the Resolve’s 3D LUT features to achieve the campaign’s cinematic look. 3D LUTs can be created and customized from any grading, which allows the application of a certain look to projects. “We used our own custom 3D LUTs to achieve these cinematic looks and for the Alexa and RED cameras we are constantly developing new LUTS that take care of weaknesses in the digital images, which can save a lot of time in grading. Resolve allows us to use them on every layer individually so I can apply and mix LUTs. I also used PowerWindows and tracked them. The tracker is one of the most powerful Resolve feature, because it solves problems quickly and saves time,” said Philipp.

Philipp continues, “As a DaVinci Resolve RT & 2K veteran, I am very impressed with the power and real-time performance of DaVinci Resolve Software.  The price point is affordable, the set-up was a piece of cake and the system is very simple and easy to understand compared to other products on the market – simply brilliant.”

“Since Arris Alexa Camera came out, we are grading lots of footage straight from the camera's ProRes files on the Resolve Software. Being able to render straight to ProRes and MXF Formats gives the editors great quality footage in a very short time. With Resolve Software we can read almost every file format on the market. Resolve is the perfect tool in a time of big changes in the film technology.”