-Bijaya Adhikari
udip Shrestha, the only professional colorist in the Nepali film industry, introduces himself as "the man behind the people behind the scenes". Shrestha's professional job calls him to do DI correction. This is a combined coloring technique of color grading. Digital intermediating and tone setup, which gives a visual output showing digitally corrected colors. Why it's needed is obvious: Shrestha states, Colors move parallel to human emotions. If you see an off-saturated scene, it would mean there is pathos, sadness or lifelessness. Blue color tone would mean wintery cold, harsh tone. Similarly, warm tones like red indicate happy tones."
How does Shrestha decide which tones and tints match the mood of a scene? He explains, "Coloring is about sense. Either the director has the sense of what he wants with a particular scene, or I try to understand the grading myself. I have been experimenting with colors in video since 2002, when I used Photoshop to color a particular scene. Since 2006, I have been digitally making DI corrections for films."

Interestingly, Shrestha never knew that he was a colorist even when he had been doing it for two years professionally. He recalls, " I was with Red Studio back then. I had a DI correction software called scratch. A technician from mumbai had come to install the software and also taught us the basics of the software. It was only in 2008 I realized what this task really was. It is difficult for me to explain to my family about what I do. Coloring is about creativity – it's actually really difficult to explain what creativity is!"

The story is already there, the actors have already delivered their best, scenes have been captured and the layout is all there. So where is creativity in it? Shrestha says, "You cannot have a scene without a mood. Technicians in the field in Nepal don't execute the mood of a particular scene, so that's where I come in. This helps me demonstrate what I can actually do. But this works for me adversely as well. Some technicians feel that I will work magic in post-production, and hence they forget their duties."

Has he worked magic then? He might actually have! Shrestha has professionlly worked on more than 55 films, and these days, he does an average of 4 films every month. He also gives equal priority to music videos and television commercials. He recalls, I remember an ad film about nappies, which was the worst shot video I have ever worked on, but I have given the best output in that very video."

A skilled colorist in da Vinci, Scratch and Apple Color software, Shrestha says his skills are best seen on television with music videos and ads, more so than in feature films. "Television viewership is higher, which gives me better ground to play in," shares Shrestha.

By popular practice, editors themselves or small-time colorist do DI correction, not because they want to, but because they have to. That leaves Shrestha as a competition to himself. "Until there is a professional to complete with,I will strive to learn more and be more creative in this field. I am not there, but I am yet to discover all the colors.!"

It is for time to tell whether someone else would become the rainbow maker. Till then, Shrestha is the go- to guy for all DI correction needs!

Sudip Shrestha
© Copyright 2013 Sudip Shrestha