Alumni / Arts

Alumni Spotlight: Matt Wallach ’06

Matt with the camera department for Addicted, A Lionsgate film shot in Atlanta, November of 2012. He's in the green hoodie, 3rd from the left. This was Matt's first feature film as a union member.

Matt with the camera department for Addicted, A Lionsgate film shot in Atlanta, November of 2012. He’s in the green hoodie, 3rd from the left. This was Matt’s first feature film as a union member.

We caught up with Matt Wallach ’06, who is currently in Atlanta working on Fast and Furious 7 as a Digital Imaging Technician.  Read below to see what Matt has been doing and what he remembers about his time at GPS!

What have you been up to since graduation?

I attended The University of Miami, double majoring in film and photography. While I was there, I was a staff photographer for both The Miami Hurricane student newspaper and Distraction, the student magazine. I also served as the multimedia editor for The Hurricane and the photo editor for Distraction. I shot sports most often, but I also did portraits and photo illustrations. During my junior year, the film I shot won the student film festival’s award for best junior film. I graduated cum laude in 2010 and moved to Los Angeles, where I began freelancing in the film industry.

It didn’t take long to work my way into the camera department, and last fall I joined the International Cinematographers Guild (IATSE Local 600) as a Digital Imaging Technician. I color footage on set, working with the director of photography to preserve his vision throughout the post-production workflow. I’ve worked all over the country on reality and narrative TV, commercials, and feature films. This was all with the goal of becoming a cinematographer until recently, when I took interest in becoming a colorist.

I welcomed the opportunity to spend April through July in Chicago assisting the dailies colorist on a film coming out in March called Divergent. I had a month off, and now I’m back at it for the rest of the year in Atlanta on Fast and Furious 7. I’ve really enjoyed the shift from production to post-production, and I’m looking forward to what the next year brings.

That’s awesome! Uhhh…. what is a colorist?

We use incredibly powerful computers to adjust things like contrast, saturation, shadows, midtones, highlights, etc… In dailies, we see all of the footage that they shoot every day, so it’s not as complex as the final color process where they really dig into it with various layers (sometimes frame by frame). It would be hard to get the job done every day if we were that meticulous with everything when 80% of what they shoot won’t actually make it to the final cut! We process several hours of footage in one day, while the final Digital Intermediate color process for the 2 hour edit of the movie will take them several weeks.

We are in constant communication with the cinematographer throughout the day so we can achieve exactly what he’s looking for on a shot-by-shot basis. This way when he sits down with the colorist for the final version a few months later after it is edited, they’ll know exactly what they were trying to do and can finesse it.

What is your favorite Grandview memory? 

My favorite Grandview memory would have to be the class trip to New York during my sophomore year. My family had just relocated to Boca in the middle of the school year. Being the new kid anywhere is hard enough, but having to hit the ground running made it even more difficult! Thankfully, the small class sizes and general attitude of the Grandview community made the adjustment much easier than it would have been anywhere else. I walked away from the class trip feeling as much a part of the community as my classmates who had been together since the school’s opening.

Is there a teacher who made a big impact on your time at GPS? 

Mr. Williams defined my time at Grandview. Every single day he challenged my perception of art, pushed me to explore every avenue of every medium, and never took no for an answer. When I wanted to begin focusing on photography, he created a curriculum for me. When I wanted to take the AP senior portfolio course but didn’t have room in my schedule for it, he agreed to stay after school for an additional period three times a week so that I could take the class. Mr. Will bent over backwards to not just satiate but stoke my hunger for photography. Were it not for his influence, I wouldn’t have been able to confidently, aggressively, and successfully pursue a career in the arts.

What was your favorite Grandview tradition? 

Homecoming week was my favorite by far. It was always a blast to see everybody cut loose and get creative with skits and costumes. The competition between classes made it all the more exciting, and it made everyone coming together at the end of the week for the basketball game even more meaningful.

How did your time at Grandview prepare you, impact you, or affect you in what you are doing now?

The ability to choose my own path and really work with the school to create the right curriculum for me helped to kindle the independent spirit, confidence, and outlook needed to thrive as a freelancer in such an incredibly demanding and constantly evolving industry.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?

Fun fact: I gave up on eating meat after having way too much shawarma on my first trip to Israel in 2007, and I haven’t looked back.

Thanks, Matt, for sharing your story with us!  Alumni– would you like to share your story?  Contact hswartz@grandviewprep.net to catch up and let us know what you’re up to!

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