Feel Of The Footage

Grading A Short Film – Testing The Feel Of The Footage

January 22, 2018

Dan shares his assessment of how to get the feel of the footage before you speak to the director. It helps when you can be upfront about what is and isn't possible.

Day 22: 24 Insights in 24 Days 2018 New Year Marathon

Before I meet a client or start a grade session I always love 5 minutes to myself to just test the feel of the footage.

I thought it would be worth sharing the exact same thought process that I looked at when starting the grade for Phil on this short film.

Don’t Think Just Do

I’ve said many times here on Mixing Light that one of my strongest abilities as a colorist is that I always just do things.

I refuse to just sit and look at the footage.

It’s never going to willingly tell you how it wants to look.

You need to feel the contrast stretching and how the color temperature shifts around when you apply different chroma adjustments.

Some footage can take massive changes and some the lightest touch can send it into murky muddy grade hell.

I tested Film Emulation, ACES, DaVinci Color Management, My Own Curve.

It gives me so many answers when speaking to him about how clean or dirty we can go, how the noise levels work, how the skin tone sits etc..

Why Is This Important?

Well, the main reason that you want to know your footage before you say even one word is to know exactly what is possible in the grade.

Nothing is worse than overpromising and underdelivering on a grade.

If it’s highly compressed you can say it upfront and highlight any potential difficulties you may have.

Directors want the best image possible and trust us totally with their footage but you need to make sure you speak up and mention issues rather than trying to hide them in the grade.

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