In our From the Mailbag #7, we answered a question about how to color correct a long take where the camera moves through several ‘set-ups’, without any edits.
Answering that question brought to my mind the opening scene in BloodyCuts’ gruesome short horror film, Don’t Move. This short was brutally gruesome – but the opening shot starts in a kitchen and then tracks across 5 different people, all frozen in place in a Living Room and Dining Room. Each person required slightly different color grading… but without any edits, how did I accomplish that task?
It is precisely the sort of challenge we discussed in the Mailbag episode.
In this Insight I break down how I color graded this long Steadicam shot. The key is to break down the scene into smaller manageable parts. There are several techniques you’ll need to master to execute this properly:
- Using Masks to isolate important areas of the image
- Tracking Masks to match the fluid, natural motion of the Steadicam
- Cleanly moving Masks into and out of frame, without revealing it to the audience.
- Using keyframes to help hide your Isolations.
- Splicing in edits within the shot allowing you to dissolve between ‘setups’
Of these, the only one I didn’t use in this grading breakdown is ‘spicing in edits’; which requires a natural moment to hide the dissolve.
Graphic Image Warning
Be warned that some of the images in this Insight are graphically bloody. If I had another project that demonstrated these techniques as well as Don’t Move does, I’d have pulled it from my archive instead. Consider yourself warned.
Also – this is a RED project and I had to reduce the quality of RED playback to 1/8. You’ll notice lots of banding artifacts in the final render. Trust me, they don’t exist in the actual project. I just had to dial the quality level all the way back to get the real-time playback I need to properly demonstrate how to execute these techniques.
Do you have any questions about this Insight? Go ahead an ask! We will answer. Did you find this Insight useful? Leave a comment to let your other members know.
Enjoy the show.