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Inspirations: A Conversation with Filmmaker Riingo Banerjee

Digital filmmaker Arnabb Riingo Banerjee has been doing films with his company, Ring A Bell Films. Riingo talks about color grading his love of Red Giant Magic Bullet Looks and Mojo.

A Conversation with Riingo Banerjee

Based in Calcutta, India, filmmaker Riingo has made 11 feature films, all shot on Panasonic cameras. He uses Red Giant Magic Bullet products for color grading and edits in Final Cut Pro X. I talked to him about his filmmaking and his color grading process.

Michele Yamazaki, Toolfarm: Hi Riingo. How did you get started with digital cinema?

Riingo: I’m am a DoP trained at a film school in Thailand and as an editor and a grader. Back in 2006, when no one believed in the Digital format of cinema, I had a producer, Shree Venkatesh Films), who had faith in my vision and put up their money. Together we set the footprints of E/D cinema in India.

Michele: You mention Red Giant’s Magic Bullet. I know you’re a big fan of Looks and Mojo. Can you tell me a bit about what you like about the products?

Riingo: Being a DoP/Editor/Colorist/Director, I always believed in curtailing costs while still producing out-of-this-world visuals. This mantra of mine has been made possible by the Panasonic P2 format, the ever glorious Final Cut Pro (now FCP X) and, of course, the greatness of Red Giant Magic Bullet. When people saw my Looks 2 and Mojo grades at work on the big screen, I have often heard them whisper, “He did that on Smoke, or maybe on (Assimilate) Scratch, or perhaps DaVinci!” When I mention Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite, they just would look and me and say, “Are you kidding? That’s for amateur work.”

I have been fighting this battle in this part of the world. I have been proving to people that plug-ins like Magic Bullet are good enough to grade a film in 2k and screen it at the theatres. People are now taking it seriously. I have made 11 full length feature films using the same tools – each belonging to a different genre – and all looked great at the theatres.

Michele: One of the employees at Red Giant told me that 90% of people use the presets only in Magic Bullet Looks. How do you use it?

Riingo: The grades that Stu Maschewitz made are great, but I keep working on them and saving my own presets. The colors are rich and the platform is super stable.

Michele: Is there anything that Looks doesn’t offer that you wish it did?

Riingo: I wish Magic Bullet Looks offered a perfect flat curve to convert a full color clip to log, then I could apply a LUT to make it look even more cinematic. The current flat curve which is not up to par with the Alexa or the BMC.

Also, I hope the next update from Red Giant offer a way to grade on FCP 7 and allow me to copy the grades to FCP X. This is a must. I believe this is one reason why people keep going to DaVinci and the others.

Hover to see the before image.
Hover to see the before image.

Michele: I talked to you close to a year ago about your film Na Hanayte and you mentioned that you used Mojo for color grading. It looks beautiful.

Riingo: Na Hanayte… A film based on the torments of a family that survives a building collapse in a remote village in Orissa, India. It had loads of picturesque outdoor shots and I used the Mojo to its fullest.

Television Promo for Shada Kalo Aabchaa

Michele: Your latest film is Shada Kaalo Aabchaa. Can you tell me a bit about it?

Shada Kaalo Aabchaa is an edge-of-the-seat Hitchcockian thriller set in the jungles of Kolakham. I shot this in 16 days. Used the AJHPX 3100, Go pro Hero3 Black, the Nokia 920 and the Galaxy S4. You cannot distinguish the cameras.

The Hitchcockian Genre is Back!

Michele: Your films are major productions! Working with the digital format, does it allow you to work with a smaller crew?

Riingo: We shoot with a crew of 80.

Michele: Your films are in the Bengali language but I noticed that your trailers have voice overs in American English. Why?

Riingo: Yes, we are trying to take it to festivals across the world.

Michele: That’s pretty big. Are there any other filmmakers who you’d like to work with?

I hope to work with Stu Maschewitz and Seth Worley someday and I know I am their best ambassador in this part of the world!

Want to try out some of the software Riingo uses?

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Posted by Michele Yamazaki