The Story So Far... Katie Dymmock, Coffee & TV
Promonews - 13th July 2022
Katie Dymmock has established herself as part of a new generation of talents in the world of Colour. We talked to her about her career so far, and how being a live music-loving teenager played a crucial role in her journey…
One of the colour team at Coffee & TV in London since 2018, Katie Dymmock has built a reputation for her work in commercials and music videos for the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Gorgon City, Calum Scott, Pale Waves, Rachel Chinouriri, Navos x Galantis, and more.
Originally from Bath, it was a family move to Cardiff when she was a teenager that led to the first steps towards her eventual career. She started going to live gigs – and taking photographs of her favourite local rock bands. “I started taking my camera to shows and taking photos of friends who were in bands, alongside doing Photography for my A levels,” she says. “And then I got into the photo manipulation side of things.”
She moved back to Bath to do a Foundation course in Photography & Motion Graphics, then back to Cardiff for university, where she discovered that there was a moving image version of photo manipulation, being taught as a small part of her Visual Effects degree.
I’m such a big live music fan – that’s what got me into it in the first place.
“Very briefly, they said, ‘oh, by the way, this is colour grading’. I kind of instantly connected with that idea – even though I had no idea that it was a job in itself.”
She decided she only wanted to focus on this part of the post-production process in her VFX degree. Ultimately it opened up a whole new world of possibilities. When she heard about a vacancy for a runner at a top Soho post house, she discovered that grading certainly was a job in itself.
“Within my first week of being on shift I was already thinking – right, how do I get to grading from being a runner?” she says.
From spending time in the machine room, encoding on tape (this was 2013) and sneaking into the suites, she sought advice from the senior colourists there, including Simona Cristea. When Cristea moved to Coffee & TV in 2018 to head up the colour department, she followed soon after, joining the independent creative studio as assistant colourist.
When I joined Coffee & TV, because the team was smaller and the company was expanding rapidly, the opportunities started coming bigger and faster,” she says.
Gorgon City, KAMILLE, Ghosted - Go Deep (Dirs: Melody Maker & Lauren Van Veen)
“I’d been training and getting better, and this was the first big thing at Coffee & TV, a video that was just for me. It was a big deal, really challenging, and I felt it was just a case of ‘let’s get going’.
It was shot to be made to look like it was underwater, but it wasn't. They had dancers suspended on wires, on a set, to get the feeling of weightlessness. They shot it through a glass sheet with water on it, to get the illusion of being underwater, with lights shining through to create caustics on the floor. One of the things I kept in mind in the grade was to keep those caustics and highlight that, emphasising that it was underwater.
There was some really lovely shots in it where they have classic teal and orange colour combination - there was a car that had really beautiful orange headlights, in this blue world. But I think the biggest challenge was making sure that were colours other than blue in this underwater world. So it was doing things like picking out reds on one of the dancers outfits.
Then there was this part in space. It was really interesting and I remember everyone was really excited that they had made it look underwater and it wasn’t.”
Jarv Is – Beyond The Pale… Live From The Centre Of The Earth (Dirs: Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard)
"This happened not long after lockdown kicked off, and was the first big project that I did from my spare room in the sweltering heat of the summer of 2020. It was a live performance of Jarv Is (Jarvis Cocker and band) - shot in a cave [Peak Cavern in Derbyshire] – by Iain Forsyth & Jane Pollard.
I’d worked with Ian and Jane on a piece for a Nick Cave exhibition in Berlin – 12 screens, with different members of the band at different times, all in conversation with each other. Then came the shutdown, so I couldn’t go to Berlin to see it. And then, at a time when there were no gigs on at all, we did this Jarvis piece.
I didn't believe grading could be done at home, but we all got smaller versions of the panels in the suites, and colour calibrated monitors.
It was incredible. I think it was nine songs, and each one had it’s own crazy lighting set-up (by Douglas Green). There were lasers, and stars on the ceiling of the cave. One was really red, one was like prisms…
It was a lot of pressure, with a short turnaround. I remember doing really long days to get it done in time. But I loved doing it.
I’m such a big live music fan – that’s what got me into it in the first place. And for someone as legendary as Jarvis Cocker, and for Ian and Jane, who are two of the nicest people, this one-off piece was just really exciting. But it also came with the challenges of doing it from home. As it was hours of performance footage we had these huge files, and we were really stress-testing the capabilities of being at home.
I had never believed, pre-pandemic, that grading could be done from home. But very quickly we had smaller versions of the big panels in the suites at home. We all got colour calibrated monitors. And then we got ClearView boxes, which we use all the time now – it takes the output direct from whatever you are using, Resolve or Flame or whatever - and puts it on a live feed so anyone can watch it anywhere. A big improvement on Zoom."
Oscar de la Renta – Amazon Luxury Stores (Dir: Bunny Kinney)
"That was an exciting one for me because it was a big VFX collaboration at Coffee & TV.. It was a fantastic grade, Flame, CG collaboration. It had a lot of green screens in, and a lot of creative VFX work in it. All the skies and flowers blooming – and multiple Cara Delevingnes in one scene. A lot of set-ups in one film.
It was a fashion one, so we had some references for what they wanted the clothes to look like. It was grading, sending it to Flame, them doing the effects work on it, bring it back to me, doing tweaks at the end. So that one stands out to me, I think it’s a good example of how a grade fits into a VFX pipeline. And it was a lovely campaign. It was very shiny and still definitely one of my favourite pieces I've done."
Holding Absence – Afterlife (Dir: Lewis Cater)
"I’d pick this one as it brings me back to my roots in Wales, and being part of that music scene. And I’d been watching Lewis Cater’s work for a while and its often for the kind of rock music that I'm into. It was nice to do something that was with a director I wanted to work with, music that I liked, from my hometown.
The set was really lovely and it had a really nice soft filmic look. There were flowers everywhere, and the art director Ksenia [Kulakova] did a beautiful job of all these blooming flowers through the seasons.
Again that was one we did remotely – I think around Christmas 2020 – but Lewis was great on it. That felt like a very full circle moment for me. And I think it’s a really nice video. It’s not so crazy or heavy, but it was nice to have those four seasons as a backdrop. And I think 2020 overall was an important growing period for me."
Welshy – All For You (Dir: Arthur Studholme)
"Arthur Studholme is a really lovely, funny guy (he’s going to hate me for saying that!) and a nice relationship has grown over the years. I worked with him on a couple of his crazy short films. The first thing we did together was a short film called Spaghetti, where he ends up in this like inflatable swimming pool filled with spaghetti, and in kind of a spaghetti fever dream. The first time I saw it I thought ‘what on earth…?’ Then we did another short film together, about a monster under the bed, which is again bizarre.
Arthur let me have creative freedom so I thought: let's go a bit wacky...
Then this one for Welshy came in, and it was also through Blood Films, who I had worked with separately, so it was definitely a meeting of minds. I read the treatment and thought – this is very Arthur. I think everyone who saw it was equally baffled and amused by it. Arthur let me have creative freedom on it, so I thought: let's go a bit wacky, and a bit hyper-real - because it is hyperreal. And I really like the grade on it - the dreamworld aspect of it.
We’ve just done a TV campaign with Arthur, I can say more soon, but it’s bold. Arthur’s mind will never fail to amaze me!"
Dior – La Rose Dior (Dir: David Sims)
"This looks very clean, but there's a lot of work that went into making it look very clean. It looks very fresh, and and it's purely a beautiful woman - Elizabeth Debicki - on a white background. But the level of detail of making it look that clean and slick is quite high.
Simona is also known for working with luxury brands, directors and DOPs, so being trained by her has stood me in good stead to work in this area. So it's definitely now a strength in which I am established."
Wargasm – D.R.I.L.D.O (dir: Elliot Gonzo)
"There is constant strobing through the whole video, which made it a very challenging grade. But Elliott had very clear references for it – the dance party in The Matrix, Blade and Blade Runner.
I really like how it turned out. I think it looks really wild. And I’ve not seen anything quite like that recently. I really appreciate how unapologetically violent Elliot went with this too."
• Katie Dymmock is a colourist at Coffee & TV. Watch more of her work here, and contact Pete Burch on email@example.com for more information.
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Promonews - 13th July 2022
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