Post Production

Korean Mystery Film “Madonna” Graded with DaVinci Resolve

Blackmagic Design announced that the Korean mystery film “Madonna,” which premiered as one of the official selections in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes Film Festival, was graded with DaVinci Resolve Studio by Eligio Kim at Seoul based KT&G Sangsangmadang.


Written and directed by Shin Su-won, “Madonna” follows Moon Hye-rim (Seo Young-hee), an assistant nurse at a hospital, who is offered a deal by hospital supervisor Kim Sang-woo (Kim Young-min) to find the family of a brain dead girl nicknamed “Madonna” (Kwon So-hyun) and persuade them to donate the girl’s heart to Sang-woo’s paralyzed father. Moon, however, uncovers Madonna’s extremely painful past as her investigation intensifies.

The story unfolds mostly in a hospital ward, which director Shin wanted to appear filled with an atmosphere of death. Eligio Kim created the “death” look with a low key style in DaVinci Resolve, but the director thought the faces of the characters in the resulting images were not bright enough.

“When I was making the low key style, the faces went darker than in the original footage and it became difficult to see the facial expressions. That was the biggest challenge as brightening faces would bring about intensive tracking work,” said Kim. “Fortunately, DaVinci Resolve’s tracking feature saved me a lot of time by automatically tracking the faces in most of the shots with accuracy.”

“Madonna” was shot on a low budget, and the cinematographer chose a contrasty gamma curve designed for a quick turnaround time with shooting. “This also made the initial editing easier but the simplicity came at the expense of flexibility in color grading,” said Eligio Kim. “For more room for creativity in the final color grade, we decided to replace that contrasty curve with a flat log curve and apply a LUT provided by DaVinci Resolve to the footage.”

He continued, “Changing gamma for the footage can be time consuming if you don’t take the proper measures, as it might not only affect Gamma space itself but also other metadata, which would result in more color correction work for each shot.”

“Knowing DaVinci Resolve could work with a wide range of different formats, including the file that stores the metadata for the footage, we changed the Gamma Space option by simply selecting the log curve while leaving any other metadata intact. Easy and simple,” he concluded.

“Madonna” premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival and received a rave response in the Un Certain Regard section.