Colourist, Electric Theatre Collective Los Angeles | Age: 27
If, to paraphrase Shakespeare, some colourists are born great, and some achieve greatness, then Kaitlyn Battistelli ticks both boxes. The life-long artist went to MassArt in Boston, where she studied fine arts, and her first job was as a runner for MPC where she stumbled on a colourist working on a project. “He let me watch, showing me some of the different tools he used, and I was hooked.” Battistelli’s big break came as an assistant colourist at ETC in LA, after starting there as a receptionist and runner.
“When we first opened, it was bare bones, and the colorist at the times was assisting himself,” she says. “I saw this amazing opportunity in front of me and went for it. Teaching myself everything I needed to get a start, I stayed late and used the help of a few assistants from the London office, and within a few months, I took over the role of the colour assistant. My first job came about four months into learning the trade, when the senior colourist and his director friend were chatting. They got the brilliant idea to set me up with a young director he was mentoring, and next think I knew I was walking into the suite about to perform my first client attended grade, and I realised I didn’t know how to use all of the correct tools and didn’t know what I was doing at all.” A natural, Kaitlyn “got through it, in the end making something great. I haven’t stopped since.”
Only two years into grading, her acclaimed projects include Gucci Timepiece and music videos for Katy Perry’s Rise, Moses Sumney’s Quarrel and Fleet Foxes’ I Am All That I Need. The latter was “one of the biggest challenges I had early on professionally, having one night to complete the colour for a seven-minute video,” she reports. “I learned how to have a light touch when balancing varied shots from inside and outside locations to make people feel there was no grading at all, but still match the shots in a cohesive manner. What I loved most about working on Quarrel was how the colour and clean exposure helps move the artistic tale forward, all enhanced by a highly contrasted look.” Her future plans? “I just want to keep grading away. I would like to be working on more commercials and hone my skills there, but I’ll always do music videos, because that’s where the fun stuff is for me.”