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Clearview Flex

Colour Harmony Unleashed: Senior Colorist Lynette Duensing On Her Go-To Collaboration Tools & Remote Work at Instinctual

Adrian Pennington
Nov 22, 2023
5 min read

In an exclusive interview, we spoke with Lynette Duensing, Senior Colourist at Instinctual in Hollywood, about her extensive career and the pivotal role ClearView Flex plays in the collaborative world of colour correction and VFX. From her journey in film to the challenges of remote work during the pandemic, Duensing shares insights into her workflows and the significance of ClearView Flex in connecting globally with clients and facilities.

From Film to Digital: Duensing's Colourist Journey

Duensing started in the business over three decades ago as a telecine colourist at The Post Group in Hollywood where she learned how to handle, transfer and colour correct film. She went on to be the North America beta test colourist for the Spirit DataCine, transferring 16mm and 35mm motion picture film to NTSC or PAL tape. In the course of that time, she graded the first high definition commercial aired in the US.

Her industry experience includes stints working in LA, Chicago, Detroit and in Shanghai. With Instinctual since 2017, she principally works on theatrical trailers for Sony Pictures Entertainment which includes Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Screen Gems, and Tristar Pictures.

“I believe myself to be a creative person but I’m also a very technical person and the technical challenge of managing so many different assets and working with different kinds of people is something I love.”

From basic film to tape transfer to the most sophisticated DI, Duensing is versed in every kind of colour correction discipline on episodic TV, commercials, restoration/preservation projects and indie features using tools from Baselight to Lustre and Resolve.

“You can do a lot with the new tools but the basics remain the basics” she says. “Being a colourist is not about having all the widgets at your fingertips, it’s about being able to make a beautiful picture by balancing RGB in the Blacks, Gamma, and Luminance to achieve the vision of the filmmaker.  You can have all the software tricks at your disposal but unless you’re a good colourist it really doesn’t matter.”

Global Collaboration and Remote Work at Instinctual

She started at Instinctual on Autodesk Lustre but during the pandemic the facility moved over to DaVinci Resolve. “There was so much collaboration required with other facilities that we needed a more robust remote situation,” she explains.

In fact, the facility has had a remote solution for many years. Instinctual co-founder Alan Latteri devised an internal solution dubbed Color Connect in order to live stream 2K 444 to the Sony lot.

Explains Duensing, “I work in our theater in Hollywood. We stream to our “sister theater” in Culver City on the Sony lot with the same Barco and the same projector profiles so that creative executives there can supervise the grading session.

“Remote was always part of what we were doing. Then, during the pandemic no-one was going into the facility, and we had to figure out another way to connect with dozens of people who could be anywhere in the country.”

Choosing ClearView Flex: The Gold Standard in Remote Solutions

Instinctual tried another remote solution for a while but had some difficulties with it. The company began to cast around for an alternative.

“Part of the reason we turned to ClearView was its sheer presence in the market,” she says. “ClearView was thought of as the gold standard. Whether we agreed with that or not - and we were initially not sure — since all our clients and folks at the major Hollywood post houses expected us to use it, we agreed to a trial.”

“At Instinctual, ClearView Flex means collaboration every single day” says Senior Colourist Lynette Duensing

It didn’t take long for Instinctual to become big fans of the platform. “It really works so well for us. The biggest part of what we do at Instinctual is collaboration. We’re either working with clients in different parts of the country or we’re working with other facilities around the world. ClearView is invaluable in making that critical connection for us.”

Three Scenarios, One Solution: Duensing's Workflows with ClearView Flex

Duensing uses ClearView Flex in three different workflow scenarios.

“In one, I am effectively a broadcaster of ClearView signals to a number of different people including the creative execs and the production execs at the studio, as well as the filmmakers. For these virtual colour sessions I prepare a timeline, put all the colour management into the timeline and lead a hybrid session making colour correction decisions using both ClearView and Color Connect (which streams 2K 444 to the lot).

“This set-up works just as though everyone were in the room with me. ClearView Flex is a great fit for trailers where many people have to put in immediate and frequent comment. There’s little discernible latency, which, when you’re doing a live session, is extremely important. It’s also a great fit with Color Connect and complements it superbly.”

After review it’s time to render but for Duensing there’s no time to rest. “Everything gets turned around at a moment’s notice. When I finish a session we are delivering within hours and I am watching DCPs of what we’ve just done.”

Beyond Colour Correction: VFX Reviews and Global Connections

Instinctual also provides visual effects for both feature film and trailers. She performs VFX reviews for the VFX team through Resolve streamed to clients on ClearView:

“Typically, a VFX supervisor will be with me in the room, maybe also an executive from the production company, while other leads around the country will join via ClearView. We will connect with VFX supervisors, heads of animation or CG artists in Vancouver, Montreal or Toronto or anywhere in the world.“

“Again, I’ll put the shots in a Resolve timeline and help them review and make adjustments on their shots based on their notes. They’re trying to visualise what their VFX looks like in the final DI. I am there to help them, for example, to bring the gamma up on this shot, or to window this part, or to check the mattes are working.”

Lynette also receives links to observe colour sessions in progress at other facilities, and is  responsible for overseeing colour aspects in DCP creation and ensuring the final delivery of assets.

“Let’s say the feature DI colourist at another facility is grading the trailer that we are going to be delivering. The ClearView stream allows me to see what is happening in their room. So I’m sitting on ClearView watching the session, picture only, using Zoom for the conference call. Instinctual is responsible for the final delivery for theatrical and social media. I need to see what it is they are doing – so when their render comes over I can make sure it’s correct.

In many cases I’m doing the colour correction on the trailer before the film has gone to the final DI with the DI colourist.”

In addition, Lynette uses the ClearView Flex App on her Apple TV in her home office remote grading suite, connected to Instinctual servers in Hollywood.  From there, she can view projects on a calibrated LG CX display through the app.

"At Instinctual, ClearView is all about collaboration every single day.”

Advocating for the colourist community

Duensing is also a Fellow of the Colorists Society International (CSI) leading work to open a new local chapter in Hollywood seeking to partner with other stakeholders in filmmaking such as The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and SMPTE. It is something of which she is proud and a cause she is passionate about.

“The Colorist Society is an educational and cultural resource and I was happy to be asked by CSI President Kevin Shaw to become a Fellow and help lead their work here in LA. Our mission is first and foremost to be able to support the creative intent of the filmmaker and also to share camaraderie with peers. We also advocate for wider industry recognition for what the finishing artist brings to the table including an IMDB designation for colourists. We are pretty much the last people to see and check anything before it is released and we feel strongly that our craft be recognised for the key role we play.”

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