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Colorist Xiang Wang on passion for his work and ‘Acheron’

Growing up in China, Xiang Wang had a lot of spare time and found that the best way to pass it was to watch television. At first, this was a way to entertain himself when he was home alone, but it slowly became much more than that. Wang would study what he watched, seeing how every scene was put together. When he was older and it became time to decide what to do with his life, he knew he was meant to pursue filmmaking, that childhood hobby that turned into a lifetime passion.


Now, Wang is an in-demand colorist. He is very sensitive to color and knows just how to make a scene pop. This is evident in his work in films such as Paradise, Wally Got Wasted, Wunderland, and Momo, where audiences around the world have seen his extraordinary talent.

When Wang was younger, it was the Marvel films that truly awakened his interest in filmmaking beyond a form of entertainment. He always dreamed that one day he would be able to work on a science fiction film, and when presented with the opportunity with the film Acheron, it was a dream come true.

Acheron takes place in a world where rich people can buy a new human face, so they can become whoever they want to be. When a poor girl gets very sick and she needs a large amount of money to see the doctor, her boyfriend sells his handsome face to a wealthy man. She then has the money and is cured of her illness, but she never manages to find her boyfriend with his new face.

“This story is impressive and makes me think a lot about life. A face is a very special and unique part of your body, it is your identity. If your face is sold, you no longer exist, and this is the world in Acheron. Rich people can buy anything and do whatever they want, and when the face becomes a product, it becomes an everyday consumable for the upper class,” said Wang.

Wang worked on the film in 2017 with award-winning colorist Yu Sun at Reason Studios. He was responsible for giving advice on the effects that could be achieved either in-camera or through the color process, ensuring the final grade remained within the required technical specifications, transferring graded renders to hard drives or FTP servers in any format the client required, preparing data for the color grading suite, and exporting graded data from it as well. These were essential to the coloring process and the success of the film as a whole.

“Being a professional colorist means understanding how colors work together, because it is important to know how color makes people feel. I try to get a more polished look in as little time as possible,” he said. “Every film has a mood and has its own special ‘color’, so you need to know the story first. The right color makes the film feel more real, which helps immerse the audience in the story.”

Sun was consistently impressed with Wang’s ideas and contributions to the film and told Director Chiyuan Ma of Wang’s thoughts about figuring out the best way to ensure the final grade remained within the required technical specifications. Wang then was responsible for this vital aspect of the film and prepared all the data for the color grading suite.

“Teamwork made the project a success. I am the person who prepares everything so Yu can complete all the grading quickly and perfectly,” said Wang.

Acheron heavily depended on visual effects, as do most science fiction films. Wang could not be prouder to be one of the colorists, knowing that his work helped lead the film to the success it became.

“Passion is the key, and after 15 or more hours sitting there working, film is a labor of love. I love sci-fi films and all the visual effects gave me inspiration,” he said.

Whenever Wang begins a new project, he is reminded time and time again of the passion he feels for his work. He is excited for what is to come, and the limitless potential filmmaking offers as an artform.

“It is a high-pressure job and requires a creative mind and a lot of patience. You have to like observing. Interest is the most important thing for filmmakers, it will take a lot of preparation time before you're ready to start your project. If you are passionate about your work, then you will succeed,” he concluded.

By Joyce Cameron
June 25th, 2019

Colorist Xiang Wang on passion for his work and ‘Acheron’ Reviewed by JaamZIN on 8:18:00 AM Rating: 5
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