How to Protect Skin Tones While Color Grading with a Heavy Look

August 14, 2016

When working with heavy looks we sometimes forget about protecting skin tone and making our artist/actor look as good as possible


Do you sacrifice skin tone for a heavy look?

In this Insight we take a look at what happens to skin tone on a heavy grade, you’ll see how pushing things into a harsh grungy film world can have a negative effect on our actors. When working on a music video ensuring the talent looks as good as possible should be our priority.

Balancing Expectations

Since I started working on bigger music videos with larger egos I’ve noticed a trend in how grades unfold in my suite.

The directors always want the best possible look for the cinematography. Sometimes this involves sacrificing a look that would make the artist look as good as possible.

I’ve always gotten caught up in the selfish opinion of making the grades as good as possible in the director and cinematographer’s eyes but this week had an ah-ha moment.

As colorists, we should be trying to make things look as good as possible for everyone involved.

I finally unlocked that feeling this week on a music video that I had gotten the balance exactly right.

The director and cinematographer love the grade and I know my doing a little extra skin tone and minor beauty work the artist looks as good as I can possibly make them.

It meant a much smoother delivery and everyone left smiling.

Let’s jump over to my video insight for some examples and my thoughts for moving forward.

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


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Homepage Forums How to Protect Skin Tones While Color Grading with a Heavy Look

  • Derick Joe

    Dan, where in the chain did you add the skin tones adjustment? Was it after just doing your basic balance?

  • Greg Knudson

    Also curious about the placement of the skin tone isolation. It seems to be after balancing but before contrast? is there a reason for having it there, and does it matter?

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