Attended Grading – Starting A Session

Attended Grading – Starting A Session

July 20, 2014

Attended Grading - Starting A Session is the hardest part of the grade. You need to understand what your new clients want from the grade


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Attended Grading – Starting A Session

Once you have started to master the art of color grading there is another huge area of our job that you’ll need to focus on and thats working attended. Working with clients in the room from the very first time you touch a primary right up until you hit render isn’t for everyone. Unfortunately grading at its highest level involves a lot of attended grading and its something I have to do on all jobs.

When I grade a large budget commercial I can have up to 12 or 15 people in the room and if I’m nervous, hesitate or panic when the going gets tough then the clients will instantly recognise it and the session will be come a train wreck. So I’m going to kick off a new series based on working in an attended environment.

The scary part about working attended from the start is the client watches every single decision, node, window and qualifier and can see every step of your though process. My advices is RELAX! keep things simple and enjoy the collaborative process rather than having a you verses them process. This collaboration on new jobs everyday is what gets me out of bed every single morning and why I have never ever called in sick to work. I love the combination of making new friends, pushing myself creatively and the excitement of performing with a room full of people is addictive.

Beginning a attended grade is normally the hardest part. If you know the director or DOP it’s a lot easier but most of the time I have a room full of strangers that all know each other sit down in my room and it’s my job to get the ball rolling.

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Comments

6 thoughts on “Attended Grading – Starting A Session”

  1. Thanks for this series Dan, much interesting.
    I have a question about the very beginning of the process. When the client comes in, have you usually (or a colorist assistant) already made the base grade of the project, so you can start to search the right look with him straight away? Or do you prefer to start from the flat profile and build your primaries/secondaries/look in a whole, while collaborating with the client?

  2. Nice article, Dan. I can’t fathom having 12 or 15 people in a grading suite! The decision making process must be horrific. For that very reason, I have a “small” room with 2 primary chairs. Maybe it’s the market I am in or the type of projects I work on (primarily TV commercials)?

    1. Rob –

      Such a great point! I sometimes look at DI theaters and the like and say to myself “they want that many cooks in the kitchen?” I think part of is the nature of the work – I seldom have more than two/three people in the room and when I say my room can only fit 5 that discourages people (who shouldn’t be there in the first place) from coming! Dan however has in many cases a band, producers, label reps etc.

  3. Great Article. I agree with everything you’ve written. I’ve only dealt with up to five people myself. I’d like to add… collaborative decisions take longer and are part of the process but knowing and/or determining who has the final say is critical to keep the project on schedule. Also picking the right “Soundtrack” or Music Play List (“What bands are you listening to lately?”) for your sessions helps keep the clients engaged and sets a good creative mood. A great way to bond with clients make them feel comfortable and also learn about great new music.
    Thanks to all the Mixing Light Boyz for all your insights.

  4. Great post as always Dan,
    Im far more engaged in the psychology of a process rather than ‘How to’, If you have the understanding of WHY something is done not only do you have a deep understanding but you can reshape this thought process across any discipline. As a DOP id like to hear your experiences with the collaboration between the the Colourist and DOP. Ive had mostly good ones but sometimes and this is getting worse the creative control of the DOP is taken away completely by the DIr/Grader for whatever reason. (often money/time, but not always)
    Anyway, Thanks!

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