Monday, March 25, 2019
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EFILM's Tom Reiser brings color to HDR Dolby Vision finish of "Escape Room"
A scene from "Escape Room"
  • HOLLYWOOD, Calif.
  • --

Columbia Pictures’ Escape Room is a new psychological thriller that follows six strangers who find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and are forced to use their wits to find the clues or die. The film’s director, Adam Robitel, and cinematographer, Marc Spicer, tapped EFILM sr. colorist Tom Reiser for the color finish. 

Each room in the film is a world unto itself, replete with its own look, distinct environment, and feel, all of which translate into the color finish. Reiser essentially graded a series of mini movies that comprise a whole. Having collaborated on The Fate of the Furious, Spicer and Reiser enjoyed a creative short-hand and were in synergy throughout the color finish.   

“The most challenging aspect of the film was that each room required us to retain the same look, the same flavor, and make it cohesive throughout the scene. For example, there’s a room that appears to be in the snowy wilderness. I dialed up the blue-ice look to the point where it looks a bit artificial and made the snow overly white. This look had to remain consistent for the entire long sequence. Additionally, these choices all serve the fact that we’re not really in the snow wilderness, we’re in an artificially created environment,” explained Reiser. 

The film also makes striking use of the storytelling capabilities of High Dynamic Range. In the HDR Dolby Vision finish of the film, Reiser pushed the HDR during the sequence in which the characters experience the “first room” of the movie, which is a lobby inside a building. Various surfaces and walls in the room literally heat up to make the characters uncomfortable during the sequence. 

“With HDR, you can make contrast with the highlights that you can’t see anywhere else. You can actually see the rippling heat waves and the red of the heated surfaces really pops. It’s an almost immersive experience,” said Reiser. 

The screenplay is by Bragi Schut and Maria Melnik, and the story by Bragi Schut. The film is produced by Neal H. Moritz and Ori Marmur. Rebecca Rivo serves as executive producer. The movie stars Taylor Russell, Logan Miller, Deborah Ann Woll, Jay Ellis, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, with Yorick van Wageningen.

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