[ DEAD THERAPY ] Colour Grading & The Film Look

For my presentations at InterBEE this year, (trade-show in Japan, kinda like NAB but smaller), I was demonstrating color correction at the Grass Valley booth. I talk about knowing your medium and how super important it is for DP's to understand the process of colour grading and what can be done in post. When you know the advantages and limitations of RED footage for example, it really does help you make better choices on set - shooting with optimal ISO's for a given situation, using the right white balance, understanding RED's resolutions, etc, etc. So knowing your medium is important, but so is actually having some grading skills under your belt. What bugged me over the past few days though, was that people were asking me to show them how to create "the film look". Or how to create a "Hollywood" look.

Lucas Sheffel, director of DEAD THERAPY (written by Brett Bentman) was kind enough to let me share this clip from the film with you before the trailer is even released! (Madness, thanks man!) I think it's a great example of "the film look"...but I also think it has little to do with how I graded it. Sure, it looks pretty slick (even if I do say so myself), but most of that "look" has to do with the AWESOME location, AMAZING acting, the blocking, the dust on the steps that I made sure was floating there before each take and of course, the lighting and lens choices I made. Let's no forget makeup and wardrobe either....and remember, this shot doesn't even have sound added to it yet. Can you imagine how much more engaging it could be with the first sound you hear being that shotgun shell falling into frame? Mad.

Anyway my point is, "the film look" isn't just some LUT and a few nodes that transform your shots into masterpieces. Yes, colour grading is amazing and adds huge value to any shot, but once again, it's about collaboration and dedication. It's about caring enough about what you're doing before production, during the take and later in post. When all departments come together and share the same passion and dedication, magic happens.

Below is a 30 minute tutorial where I show you step by step how to create this look :) Thanks for visiting!

(here is the youtube version if you have trouble with vimeo: http://youtu.be/lvRhE93aNS8)


Posted on November 15, 2013 .