Sr. colorist Fred Keller is heading home; the veteran postproduction artist, a mainstay of the color scene in Chicago for the past dozen years, is going back to New York as he sets out to build the color department at production and digital studio Click 3X.
A Queens native and graduate of Fordham, Keller spent a dozen years as a sr. colorist at Filmworkers Club in Chicago, where he worked for every major agency in the Midwest, including Leo Burnett, DDB, FCB, Energy BBDO, Havas, Burrell and mcgarrybowen. He started his career in New York, however, at the venerable color studio Manhattan Transfer, which later became Company 3. While there he not only graded commercials but also worked on longer-form projects including music videos, features and TV series such as “Sex and The City” and “The Wire” for HBO.
His current reel includes spots for such brands as McDonald’s, State Farm, Coors, Walmart, Alfa Romeo, Capital One and Skittles. In addition to handling color grading, Keller will also partner at Click 3X with Flame Artist Victor Melton to offer clients an integrated color, finishing and retouching resource.
“Bringing in a talent of Fred’s stature is an important part of our plans for Click 3X,” said Peter Corbett, Click 3X founder and CEO. “Our expanding our color capabilities meshes perfectly with our relationship with our sister company Industrial Color Studios. They have a long legacy of doing high-end color correction for fashion, beauty and consumer brands, and that appreciation for the role of the color artist in the creative process is part of our corporate culture.
“Given this, it made sense for us to elevate the color work we’ve been doing, and Fred’s eye, his aesthetic and his experience working with agencies, creative teams and brands complements the ICS legacy nicely, as well as our own,” Corbett continued. “They’ll provide the foundation for our color department as we move forward.”
Keller said he was looking to return to New York, and the opportunity to not only lead but help build a color department at Click 3X appealed to him greatly. Being part of ICS, Keller feels, means Click 3X will be a major player when it comes to color: “With this legacy, you really need to be able to offer color work at the highest levels,” he said. “I see color as playing a critically important role in achieving a client’s vision. It’s about creating a visual language that incites the viewer’s emotions, and I’m looking forward to working with creatives who want to take an unconventional approach to exploring the look and feel of their projects.”
While Keller will be based in New York, he will be available to Click 3X clients via the company’s expanded network of facilities located in Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and Philadelphia. As for being back in Manhattan, he noted how the city and its postproduction marketplace have changed, as has the color grading profession. “The ease of access to color tools has made so many people think they can do color work,” he observed. “But you really need an experienced color artist, working with a supportive environment, to maintain the kind of quality clients, agencies and audiences expect. It’s important to avoid that mentality that says something is merely ‘good enough’ for digital or mobile.”
Keller’s signing comes not long after Click 3X announced the launch of Food@ Click, a new offering of expanded services for the development and production of visual content for food and tabletop clients. As part of the move, the company added three noted food and tabletop directors to its roster: Vittorio Sacco, Stephen Hamilton and Stef Viaene. The company also brought on Charlotte Omnès and appointed her to the new role of culinary creative director.