EFILM’s Tom Reiser Helps Dole Out the Eye Candy for ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ (MESA)

Based on the global blockbuster videogame franchise from Sega, Paramount Pictures’ “Sonic the Hedgehog” teams the otherworldly blue hedgehog with small-town sheriff Tom (James Marsden) in a live-action adventure comedy with the fate of the planet on the line.

Pursued for power of his super speed, Sonic enlists Tom to help him defend against evil genius Dr. Robotnik (Jim Carrey) and his plans for world domination. Shot by Stephen F. Windon, ACS, ASC, and directed by Jeff Fowler, the film features a fun, vibrant look, which was created with help from EFILM Senior Colorist Tom Reiser.

“Despite the unconventional premise, we wanted the story to feel authentic and rooted in a real environment. Also, being an adventure comedy, we wanted to maintain a sense of fun throughout, so we pushed a bright, colorful, saturated look,” described Reiser.

With a leading full-CG character, the film required that Reiser employ color grading techniques for both animation and live action content, then seamlessly marry the two into cohesive scenes. The VFX teams, led by VFX Supervisor Ged Wright, would typically set the look for the scenes featuring Sonic, and Reiser would use this as his jumping off point. He would then matte each shot, keeping three key color elements in line – Sonic’s signature blue fur, pink peach fur, and green eyes. Overall, Reiser helped give the film a warm happy vibe, reflected in flushed skin tones and a deliberate use of red.

Reiser delivered SDR and Dolby Vision HDR grades for home and theatrical using Filmlight’s Baselight, leaning heavily on the BaseGrade tool, which helped him control the glow Sonic emits when he powers up.

Reiser concluded, “The material in this film is perfect for HDR, especially Sonic’s world – it’s pure eye candy. There are certain moments when Sonic powers up and starts glowing. HDR really makes these moments special and pushes the storytelling to the next level.”