Friday, 15 July 2016

Colour correction / Grading

Colour correction can become a real obsession for filmmakers. As with the other aspects of the production we have also followed here a straightforward approach. The film was graded according to the locations: office, home and Greece.
The general approach was to use two plugins in Premiere: luma curve and the fast colour corrector. The luma was done by myself and the colour correction by Vasso.

Office

The office is an old victorian place and the goal was to emphasise it in the grading:


On the right is the luma curve which has been used for the office. To create this look I did three things: slightly crush the blacks, then have a steep rise in the mid-tones and then a soft limit of the whites which made sure that the windows and the key lights always look a bit dim. This creates contrast in the faces but at the same time has a reduced contrast in the highlights.
The colours were de-saturated to about 50-70% depending of the scene.

At home




Here I used the opposite approach to the office to establish a different feel. Instead of crushing the blacks I lifted the blacks slightly. The mid tones received a lower contrast instead of a higher one and then the whites were emphasised. Many indie films are graded this way and this creates a "familiar" look. I wanted to have the domestic environment more "normal" in terms of perception.
Colour had to be corrected from time to time, mainly because the overhead fluorescent bulbs used in the kitchen and corridor have a slightly different colour temperature to the fluorescent film lights.

Greece

The shots in Greece were the simplest in terms of grading. They were left as they were without any correction which created strong colours. Some scenes were lit deliberately with tungsten balanced kino flos with the white balance set to 5500K so that they look quite orange. The flashback scenes are all at half the frame rate where frames were interpolated in Aftereffects. The settings were deliberately chosen in a way that the artefacts of the motion estimation add to the atmosphere.

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