Matthias Halibrand is a Renaissance man in the world of digital cinema, continually learning and honing new post-production skills. During his studies at the Filmacademy Vienna* he studied editing and cinematography and learned the ins-and-outs of handling and wrangling digital files. Since then his career has been a continuum of learning and mastering new techniques.  Most recently Halibrand took on the role of DP for director Mariana Jukica’s debut feature “Coke, Champagne, and Cigarettes,” which is in final production. He also did the color grading for the upcoming teaser.

Halibrand started out as an editor and quickly taught himself compositing. Doing so, he was able to maximize the possibilities of the footage and further develop the stories by making use of advanced split screens or removing camera glances of actors and the like. With his background in cinematography, and knowing his way around post production, he purchased a decent monitor and advanced tools like ASSIMILATE’s SCRATCH to grade his own projects, and soon other DPs liked working with him as a colorist as well.

One of his recent credits is director Peter Brunner’s “Those Who Fall Have Wings” (2015,, which had its world premiere at the 2015 Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (, and where the film was awarded the 2015 Special Jury Prize.  Halibrand spent six weeks doing the color grading, VFX, and compositing for the film. According to Halibrand, “This was Peter’s second feature film so we wanted to ensure the look-and-feel was true to his vision.

The DP, Franz Dude, used the RED Epic for the shoot and some final shots were done with Black Magic. So, I had to cross reference the Black Magic material to match the RED look, which meant grading in extra layers for proper matching. We also wanted to change a complex “inner vision” daylight scene to night and that required experimenting with different hues and looks. So for that we worked together to create multiple looks and versions to perfect the final quality of the film. Also, this was the first time I used ACES because I just wanted to try it out, and version 1.0 was just released, and SCRATCH immediately supported it.” 

Big Smiles with Remote Review & Grading
Most recently Halibrand took on the role of DP for director Mariana Jukica’s debut feature “Coke, Champagne, and Cigarettes” (, which is still in production.  For the shoot, Halibrand is using the ARRI Alexa Plus for its low-light performance, overall handling, and range, aiming to achieve a gritty, raw, hand-held look in the nightclub world of Berlin. In testing the camera, Halibrand and Jukica were experimenting with the footage for different looks of the characters they had created. On set, his data wrangler was already reviewing the footage in SCRATCH and applied some pre-made grades.

Halibrand resides in Vienna and makes the trek to Berlin to do the shoots with Jukica. After the first block of shooting, and due to their successful (live now) crowd-funding campaign (, they had an immediate need to produce the film’s teaser with Halibrand doing the color grading in SCRATCH. To save them both time and money, the team needed to develop an efficient remote-review process that allowed them to do the reviews in real time. Their tool of choice was ASSIMILATE’s SCRATCH Web remote grading and review function.

As with most post processes, challenges emerged. First, Halibrand and Jukica were using different monitors so I made sure the calibration was in sync. And then Halibrand encountered a problem with automatically loading the LUTs on the remote machine, which meant that even though the review was in real-time, Jukica was not seeing the same material as Halibrand. Halibrand immediately contacted ASSIMILATE to report the error and figured out a work-around for the time being. But as Halibrand says, “The very cool thing about working in SCRATCH is that you report a problem to ASSIMILATE and there’s usually a suggested work-around within an hour or so, and the right fix within one or two days. I love that they provide quick turnaround. Makes life so much easier. They are incredibly responsive, especially as compared to other software vendors.”

With all systems go, they moved forward at full steam to finish the teaser. Halibrand notes, “The thing with grading a teaser, even though you’re usually doing it in between other things, is that it’s actually the hardest part of the grading because you still need to define the final look for the film. So, communication between the director and the DP/colorist is quite important to find the right spot where everyone is happy. From there on, all future footage we put out will be much more simple to grade because we finalized our direction. Now we can just use the SCRATCH Web review process and a few short notes from Mariana, and that will do the trick for most of the grading. We are quite happy with the results of the teaser, and the important thing is that we were grading together in real time, without even needing to be in the same city. The ASSIMILATE team came through for us and SCRATCH’s remote grading feature saved us an immense amount of time and money.”

Special note:  Crowd funding is live now via Kickstarter.  Learn more at

*Filmakademie Wien is the Institute for Film and Television at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna. (One of HR's Top 15 International Film Schools)