Feature Grading : Preparing And Quoting

How To Prepare And Quote A Bid To Color Grade A Feature Film

January 24, 2017

Dan jumps from commercials to features in this series and shares his guide to getting organized and plan for efficient feature grading

Day 24: 25 Insights in 25 Days New Year Marathon

From Commercials To A Feature

I’m beginning a very rare process of Feature Grading, as a commercial colorist, they don’t come around too often!

This feature is only 73mins long so Robbie and Pat would probably have it finished in a day or two!

Short-form colorists myself can struggle transitioning into longer projects as we are so used to obsessing over every little detail in a 30second spot.

Preparation Is Key

My day job is still going to be grading commercials so I need to grade the feature in the evenings and weekends.

This requires being very organized and on top of what needs to be done and when.

I also need to try and maximize the directors attended time as possible.

Let’s jump over to the video below and dive into step one.

Hopefully, I can keep sharing updates as we progress through the grade!

If you’ve got any questions, be sure to leave a comment!


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12 thoughts on “How To Prepare And Quote A Bid To Color Grade A Feature Film”

  1. Good luck Dan. Great Idea to document the initial thoughts. That list can also be a very good way to manage the client if you get them to sign of your idea in the start. I’m looking forward to more insights about this project.

  2. Great insight Dan, looking forward to more on this project especially bidding as it’s a common experience for me juggling between commercial and longer form work…love the excel doc!

    1. I’m using the x300 on this one sir. I’m using the same workflow as before where we do some screening tests to see how it translate to projection but all went well using this method on the last 4 / 5 films I did this way. I dream of a projection suite but I think its a long way off for me.

  3. The biggest prep I can think of is to have a spotting session with the director and DP and get an idea of what they want and expect. The toughest challenge in the indie world is the scheduling — big features typically go well over 100-200 hours, but you’re lucky to get even half that with indies. It also helps in the DP has a “look book” to give you an idea of what they imagined for their specific scenes. And I also get a copy of the final edited version so I know what they’ve been looking at for 6 months. Sometimes the client will push back if you show them images that are radically different from the edit, even if they’re subjectively better.

    1. Totally agree Marc. I’d love to do more features to build up confidence in this area. I’m doing commercials during the day and the feature in the evening so feeling the pressure a little on this one.

  4. Very interesting. I just started on a feature myself helping an indie filmmaker out in-between the primary commercial clients.

    He gave me a very detailed 20 page document with screenshots, notes, and even reference images of color and mood which was very helpful.

    The biggest hurdle so far has been (and I saw in your screen grabs the flat images), that the editor had worked on the flat footage. So all the team has seen for the last few weeks editing the film was flat colors and it’s burned into their brains. Now we’re talking about the real looks and they have a hard time making the visual leap away from the flat footage. Also, because they’re stuck in flat profiles mentally, they have less awareness of where contrast issue will prevent characters from standing out from background, etc.

    1. So true. I am lucky that Jamie is quite an experienced director and has given me some great freedom to get on with how I feel it works best. I struggle with the flat argument on a weekly basis with commercials though. My saturation levels are always so low because of this argument

      1. It’s very interesting you say that because I always looked at your grades and thought that you manage to convince people to embrace a nice and contrasty look and always thought that can never manage to do that. Great ideas in this video!

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