Grading The White Cyc Stand Up – When White Is Not White

February 23, 2018

In this video, you learn techniques for color correcting log encoded white cyc footage. Plus get several solutions for fixing common problems with these types of shoots and why, many times, your corrections are a compromise.

When Getting A White Background Is Harder Than It Should Be

Blame PR agencies, blame simplicity, blame Apple ads over the past 20 years!

The fact is, white cyc style shooting for testimonials, advertisements, and many other types of projects is a popular way of shooting.

Traditionally, the ‘white’ part of the white syc has been achieved on-set and in the camera  – meaning that lighting in the scene, as well as camera settings, have been configured so that the background of the shots simply blows out to a nice diffused white.

When this is done well, there is hardly any work for the colorist to do outside of some minor skin tone work, and things like sharpening and noise reduction.

But what about when it’s not done that way?

Recently, I worked on a series of spots that were recorded S-Log2 on a Sony FS7 that were meant to have the white cyc look to them.

As you’ll see in the video below, these shoots presented a ton of challenges (and compromises) – compressed footage, S-log 2, soft focus and people with white clothing on against what was supposed to be a white cyc background!

While not a complete manual for grading white cyc footage, hopefully, my approach will help you on your next project with similar footage.

For you advanced Resolve users – when the approaches I show don’t work, one thing I didn’t show is I often jump to a parallel node setup but I find that the straightforward approach I show in the video below, works more often than not.

As always, if you have questions or something to add to the discussion, please use the comments below


P.S. Thanks to Quentin Kruger from Fluent Visual for the shot.

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