When asked to describe colour grading, I compare it to icing on top of a cake. The base of the ‘cake’ is the film itself, made up from a blend of ingredients; perfect camera angles, top notch script, engaging narrative, emotive acting, audio design etc. Whilst the cake may be truly tasty as it is, to really make it the showstopper it needs to be for it to be a TT production, the icing (grade) on top is essential.
So what is colour grading?
Colour grading is where an editor or specialist colourist will manipulate the colours to match shots or stylise footage. When films are shot, it's extremely rare that all of the footage is filmed in exactly the same location, on the same day, at the same time of day, with the same lighting conditions, so the job of the editor/colourist is to ensure that the colour of the shots, given all these variables remains consistent and then is embellished as the production design dictates.
Here at Tinker Taylor our footage is primarily filmed on state of the art Sony FS7 cameras using advanced gamma curves. This means that the footage coming out of the camera appears to be very flat, i.e. it is optimised for colour grading. This means that we have a lot of options when it comes to grading the footage; the lack of information leaves room for us to generate the image we want.
Below are two stills from a film we recently produced for top law firm Gateley PLC. One graded, one not.
What we grade with at Tinker Taylor
At Tinker Taylor we use the latest version of Hollywood standard grading software Da Vinci Resolve to ensure that our films look and feel rich and cinematic. Through the use of scopes, nodes and curves, we have the ability to manipulate an images colours to generate a mood and quite literally set the tone.
Below is a snap shot of just some of the tools we use within Davinci Resolve to perfect the grade.
So that's why colour grading is such an integral part of the filmmaking process. In my opinion it really is the icing on the cake... as for the cherry on the top, you'll have to wait for another Passle!
Make the color process a priority and as important as other parts of your world.”