Meet the lady who made Luther look dense

jet omoshebiJet Omoshebi has worked on TV shows and films such as Luther, Episodes, Life on Mars, Underworld and White Noise. As a colourist she's tasked with making scenes shot in daylight look moody and correcting the overall colour design and density of a project. She even makes actors's skin look beautiful too.

Speaking to The Knowledge, Jet tells us about working with Len Wiseman, how change in budgets has affected her role, and shares some advice about working in this business.


What are the main aspects of grading?

There are two aspects to grading/colour timing. The first is corrective, where you have to make things that have been shot at different times and places look continuous; create different times of day, and make skin look good and products the right colour.

The second aspect is creative - working with the director and DOP to give a project an overall feel, colour design and density that will help sell the narrative. If you're lucky, you get involved early on in the production process to discuss filtration, lighting effects and set design.


How and why did you become a colourist?

I got lost en route while becoming a sound engineer. It was fairly difficult for women to be operational in sound 25 years ago, so I ended up getting any job that I thought would give me good experience. I was a VT operator but soon became fascinated with film grading and realised I didn't want to do anything else.


What are some of the challenges of your role?

The challenges change all the time. At the beginning of my career the equipment did so little and was unreliable; there was plenty of time to do things but not enough tools. Conversely, as technology has progressed there is currently an array of amazing tools to work with but now time and budget is a major concern. Good work often comes from experiments and mistakes but there is no time for that any more.

Grading is seldom a solitary process but one of my biggest grading challenges was the film Underworld as it had been lit warm and bright. The director [Len Wiseman] and I found a new language for the lighting which was the complete opposite of what had been shot, and this new look was adopted for subsequent films in the series. I feel good about that.


Is there a genre that's more difficult to grade than others?

Having worked across all genres I think they all have their challenges, which is why people tend to specialise. Longform drama is about being able to deliver a lot in a short time, commercials are about creative ideas and perfection, and feature films are a combination of both.


What's the best advice you've been given about working in this business?

It is not necessary to know everything but you do need to have the phone numbers of people who do.


What piece of work are you most proud of?

I've been incredibly lucky in my career and have worked with great people on fantastic projects. I have a great fondness for Life on Mars which was one of my first major drama series and for which I won the RTS Craft Award for picture enhancement (apparently the first woman to do so!).


The Knowledge would like to thank Jet for her insight and industry expertise. Would you like to tell us about your role in the industry? If so then drop us an email.