Shot Matching Challenge – Match My Shot Part 1

April 4, 2016

This is a premium color correction tutorial brought to you by


Shot Matching – The Challenge

I had an eye-opening experience in my grading suite this week.

Some clients of mine asked me to match grade some new shots that were going into their existing commercial.

They actually had the shot graded in years previous but needed 5 more seconds to drop into the new commercial.

I thought this would be a simple task, and boy was I wrong!

The person that graded the original commercial was an amazing colorist, and it took me around an hour just to figure out how he/she made it look so beautiful!

I was both frustrated, and my pride took a beating!

Why Is Matching Another Colorist’s Work So Hard?

The main reason is you are not them!

Grading is a very personal process, and everyone thinks slightly differently.

Matching someone’s look can be quite an easy process but matching someone’s exact grade so it can be dropped into the edit seamlessly is very, very, very difficult.

The difficulty factor is that each of us thinks and orders our nodes in a totally different way.

To prove this example, I’d like to issue you all with a challenge.

I’d like you to match the shot I just graded.

In Part Two of this insight, I’ll show you how I did it and see if anyone came close!

Member Content

Sorry... the rest of this content is for members only. You'll need to login or Join Now to continue (we hope you do!).

Need more information about our memberships? Click to learn more.

Membership options
Member Login

Are you using our app? For the best experience, please login using the app's launch screen


Homepage Forums Shot Matching – Match My Shot Pt 1

  • Hey Dan, I’ve had almost same situation a month ago. Client came with a cutdown version, where 2 clips where from the main version (graded last year by someone else, great looking piece).
    I thought it would be a quick thing, but turned out to be more challenging than i even remotely expected.!
    Gonna give a try to your challenge!
    thanks, looking forward to your breakdown 🙂

  • Dan Moran

    My ego definitely took a bashing when matching that spot.

    It’s a lot easer to get close but tear your hair out frustrating when trying to get it exactly the same!

  • I can’t seem to find sample footage, call me stupid.. 😀

  • Dan Moran

    I just updated the link to take you directly to the clip

  • yeah, my collection of grey hair expanded while doing that “simple” 10 sec spot 😀

    Would you be able to show the final result in your next insight?

    I can send you mine if you wanna see, would be lovely to have you give an honest feedback..
    I miss that being on my own.

  • Dan Moran

    For sure! If you post a still or a link from your final here I can take a look!

  • Just saw it again.. i think i could match it better now, but thats my present state at the moment: something i did a month or two ago i don’t like any longer.
    I guess it indicates some progress, at least i hope so 😀
    here it is for what its worth:

  • andi winter

    hey dan, nice idea 🙂

    this is my first try. and i have to admit this is really difficult, mimicking someone else’s job en detail.
    i am really looking forward to the breakdown.

    my approach: basic contrast and color balance in node 1 and 2. then doing a softclip in the black and whites.
    in node 4 i used a luma key to isolate the upper third and then dropped the mids and enhanced midtone detail for
    a more glowing texture. then i added a top darkening window in which i also added some warmth.

    what do you think?

  • Very, very hard. Makes you realize just how difficult it is to “just match it”.

Log in to reply.

1,000+ Tutorials to Explore

Get full access to our entire library of over 1,100+ color tutorials for an entire week!

Start Your Test Drive!