Colour Grading for the blind

I can’t stay quiet anymore, I have to scream!

I’m a member of a number of colour grading groups on the net and they vary from the great, LGG, to the unbelievably bad.
I made a comment a long long time ago that the way to tell who was a dailies colorist was to look for the white stick and the dog.
It seems that now everyone is a colorist and most of the so-called colorists are either color blind, partially sighted or completely blind.
I see examples posted online asking for comments, I have refrained so far.
My only comment would be “go and find an optician!”
Guys, you need to start with a good image. If after loading your work into your software of choice ( usually Resolve) set the workflow to ACES and use the relevant IDT & ODT. If after this your work doesn’t look pretty good you have fucked up the shoot! go and start again.
Great grading has to start with material the colourist can work with, yes a really good colourist can rescue crap work but there are limits.
If you give them good work to start with…
Please notice I am saying that you should give your work to a good colorist, not that you should do it yourself.
If, for whatever reason, you end up doing it yourself then shoot it right and don’t do a lot in grading.

It seems that everyone using grading systems for the first time finds the 11 setting before anything else!

I am so fed up with seeing oversaturated images with crap skin tones and weird contrast. Learn to do it right first. Don’t use the “I am an artist” excuse to cover up bad work.

6 Replies to “Colour Grading for the blind”

  1. Could you please explain the “set the workflow to ACES and use the relevant IDT & ODT” part? I have no idea what you said.

  2. This is partly due to the fact that most people coming out now have zero foundation of technical skills. No idea of how to read a scope, or for that matter what a particular color corrector function really does. I have seen multiple times timelines loaded with nodes piled on top of each other pushing and pulling the image to an unrecognizable mess. Even with extreme color correction you need to start with a stable balanced image. My first approach has always been less is more. Color knowledge, there is not an app for that.

  3. I am so in agreement here…watched a nature series the other day and not 1 shot matched from close up to wide …and blue elephants? Who has ever seen a blue elephant? To give a scene a look requires skill, to slap on a bunch of chroma and burn the shit out of the highlights isn’t skill….learn your craft if you are gonna call yourself a colorist….reminds me of that old saying about if you give 100 monkeys some typewriters one of them might just produce a novel….unfortunately it’s the other 99 that think they are writers…

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