Colorist Tom Rovak’s Highly Defined, Inc. will open as Chicago’s only independent DI/color room

Tom Rovak, S2/Swell’s ace colorist for a dozen years, has been freelancing under the banner of his new company, Highly Defined, Inc., until he opens Chicago’s only independent color room outside of a post house.

A $400,000 da Vinci Resolve? v3.4 digital mastering suite will be the heart of the facility.

The new company probably will be located in 4-5,000-sq. ft. space in a River West building he’s currently negotiating for, Rovak said.

“Most color correction rooms in town are traditional linear rooms. We probably would be the first to open a strictly digital intermediate facility, with the Resolve, the tool that creates the digital master,” he said.

Rovak expects the new business to be up and running within six months.

Meanwhile, he and John Vapensky, Swell’s former general manager and Rovak’s one-time editing assistant, are serving their clients through rental of Film & Tape Works’ Spirit telecine, or I-Cubed’s C Reality. Both post houses operate da Vinci 2Ks.

Their clients, in standard definition, have included a Tiger Woods-Buick spot for McCann-Erickson/Detroit, spots for McDonald’s/Leo Burnett and Burrell, Brinks Home Security Systems/Draft/FCB, and color correction on parts of Oprah Winfrey’s recently aired African school documentary on ABC.

“Chicago’s last new color correction room was about ten years ago. Working in the linear mode here puts us way behind. I intend to address that. I’d love to see Chicago work towards looking more like a legitimate player,” he said.

Color correction would be done within digital intermediate process, he said. “What would happen is, we’d scan the films into data and color correct as data. We’d actually assemble the finished spot or film and output it back to data for effects.

“We’d keep everything high resolution data and create masters as needed in whatever format is required,” he said.