WATCH: Film colorist's craft in before and after


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The Lord of the Rings was shot on film, but transferred to digital and back just for color correction. There are a couple of good documentaries on it in the “Appendices” showing what was done, and why.

One of the first film to do this was O Brother, Where Art Thou? by the Coen’s. They discuss the process and the decision to go that way and show some examples in the extras on the DVD. They comment on how it took them a while to get use to it while reviewing the daily footage.

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In Soviet Russia Grade Makes You!

Was just going to mention this. Here’s the “Painting With Pixels” feature about this process:

Couple examples of what they did:


Why does Photoshop seem to have this vestigial 3D LUT capability and when is that going to be developed?

I actually think color grading has had an extremely deleterious effect on the cinematic image for the most part - quite often it tends to produce a overly slick, manicured, almost air-brushed image which neither feels true to reality, nor attains the truly painterly lushness of say old technicolor.

I can’t imagine what you’re talking about…


When I last saw Inside Llewelyn Davis, I found myself longing for a less graded look. I suppose it’s appropriate to the time period, but I wasn’t digging the haze.

An interesting, and creative use of graded color may be found in Scorsese’s Aviator, but Hugo displayed the Orange and Blue palette that was oh so fashionable at the time.

I think they shot this film in Log vs RAW, but that might be splitting hairs since they do close to the same thing.

Orange and teal strikes again. So much orange, so much teal. Gah.

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RAW does not “have a very washed out look”, unless you choose to believe that the camera is a person who can “look” at the image. Humans cannot perceive any kind of video file unless it is first transformed into light. The transformation is mandatory. All you can really say is that there exists a transform that makes RAW footage look “washed out” to humans, and there exist other transforms that draw different human responses. The washed out one just happens to be the default in Adobe Whateverthefuck. The default transform could just as easily be solid black, or negative, or tie-dyed.


I just came in to link that.

An actor’s moment of horror in the last instant before a digital film colorist made him completely teal and orange


i wouldn’t call this an example of a good colour grading showreel. they’re actually using quite standard “film looks” not very creative.

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They had a big sale on orange and teal, see…

Here’s another colorist reel I prefer.

As part of my usually-one-man-band video production company I get to play the colorist quite often, so I have an appreciation of those who can do it well. Even matching the color from two similar shots (the barest of basics) can be crushingly difficult, subtle work to get right.

Same here, it’s a real craft to get a perfect grade. One programme i really admired the coloring on recently was the TV show Hannibal the grading was done by technicolour. really good work.

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Any idea which colorist? I know Steve Arkle down at Technicolor Hollywood (he goes by “Sparkle” since his middle initial is P), and he did the color for us on Will & Grace for eight years, four of which we won cinematography Emmys. He’s also done some work with Bob Richardson (I know he did the dailies for The Aviator and Kill Bill though I don’t think he did the final color), and is fiercely talented. Which makes sense; Technicolor made their name, literally and figuratively, on their color.

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