Sterilizing Images

From The Grading Room – Are We Sterilizing Images?

April 22, 2017

Now that most people have a basic knowledge of color correction thanks to Instagram what does that mean for us colorists?


Important Collaborators or Slaves To Clients Desires?

I’m asking the question: With the ability to change every aspect of the image in the grade are we sterilizing Images by giving into clients demands?

We live in the days of instagram, snapseed and photoshop. People know that almost anything is technically possible in post production and the grading process.

Due this knowledge clients are becoming more demanding than ever.

I’m regularly told to lift faces, push products to within an inch of maximum brightness and sharpness and generally making quite dull images.

In this Insight I’d like to share a story of a recent grade and to find out if this is something that only some of us are experiencing or is it a industry wide change.

Music Video Case Study

I recently graded a music video with the wonderful Rob Brandon. You can check out his work here.

To give you an idea of how the grade went I’ll post a screenshot from his Facebook from shortly after the grade.

The band and management got so heavily involved with this grade that we ended up rendering out 9 work in progress H.264s for them to check out.

I think Rob captures my feelings on this situation above.

In a world where everyone has Instagram, they feel like they are an expert on how something should look.

In my insight below I’ll give you the step by step breakdown of how this job worked out and my thoughts along the way.

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3 thoughts on “From The Grading Room – Are We Sterilizing Images?”

  1. Congrats Dan on managing to keep quiet here! Tame Impala reference Vs. shot material: did they really mean it??
    This reminds me Part 2 of Mailbag Ep.35 ( Robbie’s way of dealing with the Matrix look (at 9:15) sounds the same as your ‘protesting V3’ aimed at answering the proposed reference… ­čśë

  2. It’s interesting, I also get feedback like that all the time. The funny thing I find is that as colorists we would analyze the reference video compare it with the current grade and would come to a decision that tons of things need changing (a lot of which needed to be shot differently in the first place).

    But very often the client might mean seomthing really tiny that they like in the reference video (and when I would ask them what was the particular thing they like about the ref video they normally wouldn’t know), and once you try and guess that tiny bit sometimes you can have a real home run when a super easy change just makes the grade perfect for them. It’s completely counter intuitive and the ref and the final grade still look completely different, but the client is suddenly super happy and your just absolutely baffled…

  3. I think there’s a key reason why the band and their management get to provide input on the color grade yet the colorist doesn’t have input on the band’s sound or music: The band hired the colorist.

    Think of the reverse scenario. If a filmmaker hires a musician or band to provide music or a score for the filmmaker’s project, it would be perfectly reasonable for the filmmaker to provide direction regarding the music, no?

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