First impressions.

During my time in film school, I have to admit I never really payed too much attention to colour grading of the footage we shot. Nor did I held it in high regards while working on a TV show in my formative years. Maybe because I thought of it as a small part of editing process taken care of by somebody else, maybe I was just taking it for granted. Few tweaks and turns on the contrast, little play-around with a colour wheel and there we go. Later on during my professional life it became very important to me, if not crucial. As one wants to distinguish the final visual output of his/her video in the sea of similar videos, colour grading becomes a must. Integrated, LUT powered DSLR video workflow kind of demands it too. Otherwise, why shoot RAW video on Magic Lantern firmware and reduce your recording time to 25 mins per 128GB card? You have to try to do something cool with it.

As we humans are indeed the visual creatures, the best way to go about this topic is to see for ourselves. Video below beautifully demonstrates the importance and effectiveness of colour grading. The featuring sequences are part of the new independent movie called The House On Pine Street. The movie was colorized by Taylre Jones of GradeKC.

Beyond the basics.

Few media consumers truly understand just how much the colour of an image changes from the moment it is captured by a camera to the moment it is displayed. Ever since the dawn of film production, filmmakers and now also a digital video producers have been finding ways to manipulate the colour properties of the final image. From painstakingly colouring the individual frames by hand, or through a variety of chemical, and more recently, digital processes, colour was always as important in visual storytelling as it was sound or the frame. To its disadvantage in terms of wider recognition, it does indeed work on more subliminal level. More so then other cinematic elements, however. After the first few sequences, most people will take picture’s distinct colour for granted all the way until the closing credits. Or simply state the movie/video was beautifully shot, without second thoughts. However, with the recent proliferation of digital cinema cameras, shooting incredibly flat logarithmic profiles, thus preserving as much information as possible, the gap between captured and processed image is wider than ever.

Recently, I stumbled across a great, video colorizing themed article by V Renée, on No Film School, a go-to educational and entertaining website dedicated to video and filmmaking. Article points towards an editor Casey Faris and his Youtube workshop on colour grading. Without going to extreme, it coherently lays down the foundations of how different colour modes capture different moods and atmospheres.


Random occasions resulting in beautiful images are great, but they are few and far between. More so, instances where only a short colour correcting session stand between the ok and great images are also rare. Most likely, there are dozens if not hundreds of working hours that create that ‘wow factor’. As color can affect a mood, evoke emotion or an era, set a tone or time of day, determine the interpretation and depth of a shot, it is practically all-powerful. A single shot can create the emotional attachment viewer will remember. But there is a science and and art to creating those images. And it should be appreciated.


Why do two colors, put one next to the other, sing? Can one really explain this? No.

Pablo Picasso