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Colour Correction/Grading

Posted: Sat Jun 13, 2020 8:50 am
by TimStannard
Prompted by a discussion in the Film Comments section (please contribute) and not wanting to take that too far off topic, I thought i'd post this here (though it's more "art" than "technical").
Firstly, I'm using the term "colour correction" to mean getting a shot to a state where it is neutral and natural such that any two shots will match in terms of colour. I'm using the term "grading" to create a "look" for a shot, whether its a deliberate warm look or cool look or the famous "orange and teal" look.

I believe it is important that shots match as inconsitency in colour, like lack of continuity or incosistent audio remids the audience they are watching a film/video - it's a distraction.

I do wonder about grading though. Without doubt the "look" of the opening shots sets a certain tone, gives a certain feel to a film, but within a very short time our eyes/brain adjust and I wonder if the grading continues to have any effect at all.

Of course, in films where different tones are used deliberately to contrast different scenes/environments ("The Matrix" being the most oft-cited example) our eyes/brain are constantly being reset and so it must have some impact - but when the same look is used throughout a film?

I'm not arguing against grading, just wondering whether it has any impact beyond the first few seconds. Thoughts?

Re: Colour Correction/Grading

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:17 pm
by Michael Slowe
You only have to look at the really good commercial films to see how wonderfully they have kept a consistent look throughout the whole film. This is important, not just for the "first few seconds" as Tim suggests, but right through. Actually of course, in real life this is not so! Light changes continually as we move about and the weather varies, but film is not real life, it is an illusion, and a director tries hard to maintain the illusion and the atmosphere that the film makers work so hard to create.

The skill of modern graders is something that I so admire. Modern applications like Da Vinci Resolve make this possible but it needs great skill to be effective. I have a simple grading app within my edit software but struggle all the time to match shots that have been poorly exposed and I have no chance of maintaining a 'mood'. This is a vital aspect of editing and the big chaps do it wonderfully well, aided of course by the DoP and his crew, because it all starts with the lighting. But I'm sure that however well a film is shot the final grade ensures that the look is maintained.

Re: Colour Correction/Grading

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:39 am
by TimStannard
Michael, I agree entirely the look has to be consistent across the whole film (indeed I said as much). My objective was not to question the validity of or skills required for grading. My question is whether the mood - the psychological effect, if you like, created by the grade continues to create that mood once the brain has "normalised" the look.

Indeed maintaining a grade (matching shots) usually presents far more of a challenge than creating a grade for one shot. No doubt this is most tutorials you come across concentrate on the latter. It is something I particularly struggle with and if anyone has any pointers I'd love to read them.

Re: Colour Correction/Grading

Posted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:07 pm
by ned c
I recently shot a short film using two cameras at right angles; an old Canon HD video camera and a video capable still camera (Lunix GX85). I set up the Canon manually and the GX85 on auto. There was no match between the two images in both color and exposure so it was impossible to intercut. Using the color grading in Vegas Pro 17 I eventually got a match after an hour or so of struggle, then I discovered the Color Match FX, an effect which uses the desired image as the source then automatically matches the selected image to it, somehow it takes care of color and exposure!. The preset can be saved then used on all the subsequent clips. Worked perfectly. I have written article for F&VM if Mike has room some time.

ned c

Re: Colour Correction/Grading

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 9:03 pm
by Jill Lampert
I wish Edius had something like that!