Inside The Grade: The First Pass On A Feature

April 21, 2021

Watch over the shoulder of senior colorist Cullen Kelly as he works through his first pass on a feature film and shares his approach.


An Over-The-Shoulder Look At A First Pass On A Feature

In today’s Insight, we’re trying something a bit different.

Instead of focusing on a specific technique or tool, I’m going to invite you into my real-time grading process, and share my priorities and strategies as I take a first pass through scenes from a feature film entitled The Pom Pom Murders. We’ll be touching on concepts including:

  • ‘Presumption of innocence’ — creating a strong global look and doing only what’s needed at the shot level
  • Working with a fixed node tree built on simple, photographically-oriented tools
  • Scrubbing and spot-checking through your first pass rather than playing down in real-time

As I mentioned, this is my first lap through this material, after which I’ll watch everything at speed and make further refinements. The goal at this stage is to work quickly, intuitively, and identify key opportunities and challenges to address for the remainder of the grade.

Thanks for hanging out with me today! I’d love to hear what you guys think of this format, as well as your go-to strategies when grading long-form. Let me know down below.



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