How one colorist emulates a 'Vintage' color correction Look.

Inspired By Mini 2018 – How One Colorist Emulates A Vintage Look

April 27, 2018

We've all seen amazing commercials and films that inspire us, but how do we turn that into color corrections that we can use on our own projects? Dan shares his approach to being inspired by a recent award-nominated color grade.


What Can We Learn From An Amazing Grade?

I’ve been listing my favourite grades that I’ve been inspired by here on Mixing Light for quite some time but I’ve never tried to emulate them.

I guess the reason is that you really can’t take a look and just apply it on your footage. There are so many factors that go into the final look: Art Direction, Costumes, Props, Lens Choice, Camera Choice, Time Of Day, Contrast Ratio Of The Lighting etc..

I could go on all day on why the same look will never look exactly like the original reference!

That is where the Inspired By title comes from. I’m taking the best bits of these award-winning grades and ask: What can I take from this to make my grades better? And it’s the process I use when actually emulating a Look – because it’s never a straight copy. I’m just riffing on the theme to fit the footage at hand. And in this Insight I picked a commercial from the 2018 British Arrow Awards, which I featured in a previous Insight.

Inspired By: The Faith of a Few | Mini, John Cooper Works

Mini ‘The Faith of a Few’ from Daniel Wolfe on Vimeo.

ColoristSimon Bourne @ Framestore 

In this Insight we’ll be taking a look at this gorgeous commercial. It’s far easier to explain in the video insight below. We cover topics like:

  • Aspect Ratio
  • Grain Structure
  • Softness
  • Contrast and Levels
  • Emulating The Tools From That Era
  • Taking That Look Onto Our Own Digitally Shot Footage

Now, let’s jump to the videotape and see if I can get inspired!


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5 thoughts on “Inspired By Mini 2018 – How One Colorist Emulates A Vintage Look”

  1. Great insight. Looking forward to the next one on this series, specially Lacoste, Timeless, since the production values are so time-period and high concept that the look not only depend in the creative and technical knowledge of the colorist, but other production department values as well.

  2. Love insights like these, thanks for sharing Dan. Personally I was blown by Oxfam’s ad that George coloured, stunning work. Would be cool to see you doing a take on that look as I feel he really nailed the contrast and colour density on that one.

  3. something off-topic: lately i can’t watch mixing-lights videos without interruptions, used to work. did you change something in the engine? also, the overlayed buttons from the video-player are gone. and: i can’t download the vids anymore, which would be the solution when stuttering…

    am i the only one? sorry dan, this comment has nothing to do with your video, just wanted to point this out…

  4. I think insights like these are super valuable. Having the skill to break down a colour grade and then apply it to our own footage is amazing to have in the toolbox. It also helps a lot with talking with clients when they bring in mood boards and such.

    It would be cool to maybe have the footage you are working with for download so we can take a stab at it before we watch and see how close we come. I know it’s tough to do things like that but I’d love to try it first and see how mine differs. Cheers!

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