True Colors: A Conversation with John Davidson

Cinque Terre. Courtesy of Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door.

Cinque Terre. Courtesy of Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door.

By Sonja Johansen Waters

John Davidson’s career as a colorist has spanned many decades. He has watched as the industry changed from celluloid, to its current digital format. The wealth of software out there allows many to try their hand at the craft of color grading, but few understand the intricate attention to detail nor have the eye or experience to correct the flaws, so his work stands on its own.

John and his performer wife, Cathryn Davis, recently relocated to the coast of Washington, where the vast beaches and windswept dunes and cliffs provide the backdrop for limitless creative expression. He walks the beaches every day, rain or shine, taking in the salty air and the vastness before him.

John Davidson at Pacific Beach, Washington.

John Davidson at Pacific Beach, Washington.

I sat down with him recently to discuss his long career.

What was your favorite project? “Hm. I love so many different types of work but one stands out. Back in the telecine days, I worked on a short film for Nike that allowed me to utilize all sorts of new and unusual filters. I found Fremont Glass and created a look that the makers loved. This client allowed me time and space to enhance their vision. I have also loved working with filmmakers who are crystal clear what they want, and those who are new to the world of film and ask my advice. I truly love the collaborative process.

“A project is not finished without correcting the light. Multiple cameras from different angles, or shots over several days can’t possibly mimic the same light. I correct that. Or what about the hands? No one puts makeup on the hands. They don’t match! People often can’t explain why they love a movie. It is the nuance that I notice and correct. It is the nuance, the attention to detail, that makes a film go from strong to powerful.”

From the short film J’Arrive. Courtesy of Daryle Conners

From the short film J’Arrive. Courtesy of Daryle Conners

John’s company is solely dedicated to color and he has the flexibility to work with you at his beach studio, travel to your location, your studio, or to work virtually, over email and cell. It requires hyper focus and strong attention to detail. He has strong connections with many filmmakers and producers, and has been called one of the best, if not the best, colorist in the business.

John continues to enjoy working with new filmmakers to produce a professional product with surprisingly reasonable rates.

Visit www.johndavidsoncolor.com for more information.

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