Saturday, July 4, 2009

Color Grading Magic--After and Before

Color Grading Magic--After and Before from Craig Mieritz on Vimeo.

I've been working on upgrading my color grading skills in Apple Color. For practice, I graded a short horror sequence this week. The corrected footage is first, followed by the original uncorrected footage. Yes, I know the original footage is shot and lit horribly. This test is unusual in that it's more about creatively salvaging footage rather than doing the more typical, subtle work that a colorist usually does.

What is happening at this point in the story is that the bad guy is following the apparition of a woman he murdered down a dark corridor....

A few notes: the compression on this is pretty good. However, it is a medium res online video from a SD source. This compressed version is less saturated and there are a few artifacts (and blocking) not present in the original. I wish I could post a higher quality version of this, the original footage looks rich and textured, particularly for DV. The full-sized version can be viewed here.

The original video footage was shot on an old-school DV camera (PD100), a few years ago. I am kind of shocked at how much I like the corrected footage, it's DV--the camera has been sitting unused in a closet but I think I may start using it again.

I enjoy working in the horror genre, there seems to be a little more room for "drawing outside the lines" as compared to expectations for other mainstream genres. Color is a powerful tool, however, it is no replacement for well-shot footage. The most important thing is to get as much information in your image as possible, but (a really big but), try to capture the contrast differences between different areas of the frame as close as possible to what you want in the end. If you don't, it adds a tremendous amount of work on the back-end and ultimately you may not be able to get what you want, particularly if there is a lot of movement in the frame.

I'll be uploading a series of graded short sequences, including variations on this one, please let me know what you think.

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