Photochemical Grading – Part One

Photochemical Grading – Part One

December 7, 2014

Have you ever wondered why Christopher Nolan uses color timing instead of a DI for his grades? We take a look at the color timing world


Day 8: 25 Insights in 25 Days Holiday Marathon

Photochemical Grading – Part One

Today I was lucky enough to go see an Imax screening of Interstellar with Christopher Nolan, DOP Hoyte van Hoytema, Editor Lee Smith and VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin.

They gave a great Q&A session at the end of the movie which was hugely inspiring and insightful.

This left me with two great thoughts.

These guys are exactly the same as us…They just spent a lot of time and a lot of passion making this beautiful movie which is a great inspiration to every person in the filmmaking world.

The second thought is much more relevant to the color grading world. I’ve heard so many people speak about the Photochemical grading world that Nolan lives in for his grading but do they fully understand the process?

In this insight we will be looking at the basics of this world and focusing mainly on why would someone choose to still work this way when there are more powerful tools out there?

Then in part two I’ll be jumping into DaVinci Resolve for some challenging grading using only the tools that would be available to a color timer.

The Theory

Pretty much any feature film before the 2000’s was graded using the traditional color timing method but as Interstellar is fresh in my mind I’ll be using it as my reference in this insight.

If you haven’t seen Interstellar please check out the trailer below as it’s a great reference for how the final film looked.

Obviously the film looks amazing but as a colorist did you notice anything that you would change?

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