By Lou Wallace

The film “One of Us” directed by Stefan van de Graaff is an allegorical horror story where members of a family begin dying one by one at a funeral. Amidst the chaos, the youngest family member, played by Kit Connor, searches for the stranger who has infiltrated their midst. The film boasts a compelling cast, including notable actors such as Callum Woodhouse, Charlotte Hope, and Sienna Guillory, and began filming in March in Northern Ireland. This project marks a significant shift for Kit Connor from his previous work, delving into a darker and more mysterious narrative.

The Team

Stefan van de Graaff

Stefan van de Graaff, the director behind “One of Us,” is not only a filmmaker but also a digital media hacker. His portfolio includes a variety of projects, from commercials with vast viewerships to films and TV pilots. Before “One of Us,” van de Graaff was known for his work on “Simmer” (2020), a story about a young chef forced into the black market to save his family from deportation, which was sold to HBO Max. Additionally, he directed “Sherlock the Musical” (2022), an original adaptation that enjoyed a successful run in Canada. Beyond his direct involvement in filmmaking, van de Graaff co-founded Chamber Media, a digital production agency, indicating his deep engagement with both traditional and new media landscapes.

Van de Graaff’s career reflects a dynamic blend of digital innovation and narrative storytelling, positioning him as a filmmaker with a keen eye for engaging modern audiences while exploring deep thematic content.

Stefan: “As a brief intro, I am the writer and director of One of Us. From early in the scripting process I was swimming in baroque era paintings for aesthetic inspiration. Working with Bianca and then Mark to bring that vision to life was no small task. We used natural light everywhere we possibly could but that obviously meant that there was a burden placed on Bianca and Mark’s shoulders to find the right balance of the quintessential shadow of baroque art without losing information in a film that is hugely driven by actor performances. You can see that their work in Scratch enabled us to create images that feel like they easily could have been discovered in some lost baroque era painting.”

Stefan & Bianca

Stefan, what’s your background with Bianca and Mark? Any previous projects?

Stefan: “I didn’t have any experience with them actually. I met Bianca via another director friend and knew her work and thought she was an incredible DP. Frankly, when I asked her to DP the film I was blown away that she was willing to do it.

When she told me that her friend Mark was willing to color the project (whose work I was also familiar with), I was extremely happy that he was willing to do it. Honestly, it’s just been a blessing to be surrounded by them ha!”

Explain how you collaborated to get the baroque feeling in the film?

Stefan: “As soon as Bianca and I began meeting we began pulling extensive amounts of stills and paintings as references for what we were trying to create. It informed our decisions early in terms of what lights we needed both on set and in the room. Being able to have the LUT Mark created for us while filming made it that much easier to ensure our artistic vision wasn’t just something we’d create in post, but something we captured in camera.”

Bianca Cline

Bianca Cline is a Los Angeles-born cinematographer with a global filmmaking perspective. She’s recognized for her work on acclaimed projects such as “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On,” an Academy Award-nominated film, and the Netflix series “Murder Among The Mormons.”

Cline’s portfolio showcases her versatile cinematography skills across various genres, including commercial spots for major brands like Oreo and Wrangler. Her dedication to storytelling through visual language marks her as a prominent figure in contemporary cinematography.

Here I used a lot of the tools that Scratch offers during the Finish.

Bianca: “I am the cinematographer on One of Us. It’s difficult to explain much about the film because it’s a bit of a mystery, but we wanted to create a look that started out feeling warm and comfortable and that eventually devolved into a darker world. We wanted to create an undefined time period for the film so that the story would feel more timeless. Mark and I created a LUT that had the feeling of an older photograph, but not necessarily trying to create a “period look”.

“In prep we were able to film tests on our main sets with most of the art dressed as well as wardrobe with the actors. I sent the footage to Mark who created a LUT for us and then we did more tests to make sure it would work for us in different lighting scenarios.”

“Because the film takes place over 11 hours, the main challenge in final color was to smooth out the transitions from scene to scene so that the slow transition from day to night were seamless. We also created a grain pattern that intensifies as the film intensifies. The grain in the image reflects the emotion of the film.”

“I can speak to creating the look of the film.  Based on Stefan and my conversations about imbuing the feeling of the baroque era I wanted to have really deep blacks.  I also wanted slightly faded colors and, but to have certain hues pop out.  It was really essential to create the LUT during prep and have time to test the look so we could refine it before we started production.  It helped us choose the best colors for the production design, make-up and wardrobe.”

Mark Wilenkin

Mark Wilenkin, a senior colorist based in Los Angeles, has an extensive background in digital image processing and color grading. Originally from Paris, France, he honed his skills in the UK and Scotland before establishing Wilenkin Productions Ltd. His portfolio includes work with high-profile clients such as Apple, Microsoft, BMW, Coca-Cola, and Marlboro. Mark has contributed his expertise to various projects, including commercial campaigns and feature films, leveraging his vast knowledge in data-centric workflows. He’s known for his collaborative approach and is an active IATSE Local 600 member, working on an increasing number of feature films and commercial campaigns in the USA.

Mark: “I finished and colored a feature film, One Of Us, where I also created the looks for production and passed those off to the DOP as cubes. The shoot was just outside of Belfast and happened whilst I was still working on Lioness so I could not be there. I ended up finishing the movie with the Director and DOP in Utah.”

“Here I used a lot of the tools that Scratch offers during the phase. Unusual for a movie we started at 2.40 aspect and ended up with 4.3 aspect. I also used a few different film stocks that we blended into the film to accentuate the emotional angst of the storyline.”

“My role on the project began with the development of the show LUTs for production. Bianca provided me with still references for specific ideas that she wanted to express in the look of the film as a whole and for key scenes. The footage I used for the development of the show LUTs was captured by the same camera system and lenses used for principal photography. As most of the film references were analogue particular attention was given to both the knee and shoulder of the curve that ran through the LUT. This gave us the foundation for the subtractive color model we moulded around the curve.

Once the edit was locked I started conforming the film in Scratch to prepare for the final color work to begin. I used Scratch for compositing, painting, cloning and set extensions as well as texturing analogue grain plates and obviously for the final DI. Deliverables were also exported from Scratch.”

Having created the cubes for production using Scratch I continued the workflow for the conform and final grade from where I left off. We knew that there would be some paint work and minor compositing that could be done during the grade and we wanted to add some fx to the windows to blow them out and diffuse them.  I used a Matchbox filter, which ships with Scratch, for this and which you’ll see in the example shot breakdown.


In the first image (001) the frame is in ARRI wide gamut 3 ARRI LogC3.


In the second image (002) the frame has no color correction except for the show LUT applied as a 64x64x64 cube. 


I built the look by comparing reference images supplied by Bianca. Using the same camera and lenses as principal photography, the footage was supplied to me in ARRI wide gamut 3 ARRI LogC3. As you can see between images (002) & the final output (SHOT EXAMPLE WITH 200T GRAIN) we were already close to the final look of the film.


In the third image (003) it was cooled off a hair. A simple Kelvin adjustment in the primary color tab was all that we needed.


In the fourth image (004) you’ll notice that we removed the picture on the left of the frame. I used the Bicubic (005) method to stretch it off the screen knowing that most of that side of the frame was going to be darkened in the grade, a ‘quick and dirty’ time saver.


In image (006) the Bicubic has been applied along with a further HL qualifier that knocked down the color of the window in the centre of frame. Here I opted for a color blending mode as the fill and in the primary the lightness was dialed down a hair. Whilst this correction happens in the layers above the Matchbox Bloom filter I was able fine tune the color and luminance by adjusting this layer whilst viewing the Matchbox Bloom effect tweeking both to where we wanted it to sit.


As you can see in image (007) there’s a custom shape and luma qualifier on a non-recursive layer. In this case the non-recursive layer references the base primary grade giving me the option to dial in as much or as little of the information that was available in image (001).


In images 008, 009 & 010 you can see the use of the custom shape (power window) with a luma qualifier to selectively bring down the shadows on the left of the frame whilst holding out this correction from the right of frame.


Image 011 is to show what that hold out shape is adding to the overall image by allowing more detail through from the previous correction. Bianca wanted rich deep blacks so I opted for a soft light blending mode and adjusted its effect by adjusting the opacity.

Texture was an important element to help set the tone and later in the film as an emphatic. – (We go into a sketch scene where all hell is breaking loose and the grain stock has shifted to a 500T 16mm also 4k scan. But I don’t want to give it all away…)


In this example and where this shot appears in the film I used a ( 4K scan of 35mm 200T. Before applying the texture I prep my shot or a group of shots and create a collector – First (image 012) I apply a transform and scale the image. Then ( image 013) I create a collector node.

Node Tree

Even though the shot is collected, one can still go into the node tree (node tree image) and make further adjustments to the grade via the GUI whilst viewing the final output via the SDI feed.

drop texture prefs
Fill Modes

And finally I drop the collector (drop texture prefs image) onto the grain footage and change the fill mode to overlay (fill modes image). As you can see in image 014, the effect of the grain is controlled by dialing down the contrast in the primary to 70%. I’ve punched it in so that the viewer can compare the untextured image 012 and the final grain texture applied image 014.

“I believe this film is destined to be an arthouse classic.”

Assimilate’s Scratch

Assimilate SCRATCH has been the go-to color grading, finishing, vfx-review and dailies transcoding solution for the past 20 years. Its flexible color engine allows artists to not only do look development, but complete finishing composites in realtime during client attended sessions.

The UI is extremely streamlined – any task is just a single click away and completed within seconds.

User-defined panel mappings speed up the workflow and allow the colorist to work at the speed of thought. And where the already huge toolset of SCRATCH ends, users can configure their own shaders through SCRATCH’s flexible Matchbox shader implementation and create any result thinkable.

Overall, SCRATCH offers a robust set of features designed for various post-production workflows. It excels in automated processes such as LUT application, look management, and audio-sync, pulling extensive metadata from audio files and camera RAW formats. SCRATCH is celebrated for its high performance in playback, conform, editing, color grading, compositing, and transcoding.

Its capabilities make it a powerful tool for online editing and finishing, as well as on-set color grading and dailies management. Furthermore, SCRATCH includes extensive color grading toolsets, VFX review, and asset management features, catering to professionals seeking an all-encompassing finishing software solution. It continues to evolve, with updates like SCRATCH 9.7 introducing new features to enhance the user experience significantly

SCRATCH allows the operator to never have to say ‘no’ to his client!

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