One thing I think everyone needs to add to their colorist toolbox is a look library. Think of all those hours your not supervised by clients and your just playing around – save your looks!! I’m sure I’ve forgotten hundreds of looks from the days before I had my library.
The benefits of keeping a library is you can provide yourself with tons of inspiration, reference points for fixing bad shots and even help your client make their mind up. I also realized a while back, that it would be great to have reference stills that I love as part of that library also. Think of every time you see a great commercial, music video or still image. If an image gives me ideas for a grade I’d save it and add it into my own library.
I normally keep a few different types of image in my library. Some for skin tones, some for skies/grass/water and then others for general looks and feelings.
The Beginnings Of My Library
My library started as a few grades that I created and hoped to use one day. For example, the look for a music video I graded for The Script called “If You Could See Me Now” came from grading a family visit to London. The director said we were going black and white but he wanted to do something a little different and asked if I had any ideas. Thats when I remembered my family photo!
We decided to crush the black down a bit harder than my initial inspiration but using the curves heavily to create a clipped / print look was taken directly from the still.