Color Grading Breakdown Series – Shot 02

Here’s this week fresh out of the water Color Grading Breakdown Series shot :

Color Grading Breakdown

It was the first time I had to grade an underwater shot. The highlights react a bit differently due to the water, so you have to be extra careful when adjusting them. It does create nice textures that you can’t get outside of the water though! This shot was filmed inside a pool, but the directors didn’t want the viewer to recognize the location so we aimed for a dark abstract look. They used a black tarp for the background which helped us a lot for the grading. Check out the behind the scene pictures if you want to see how they set up this nice shot. Grading done in Autodesk Lustre.

Step 01
A simple S Curve to boost the contrast and a Saturation Curve to bring back some colors.

Step 02
Primary grading to get a more balanced picture. Remove the cyan, reduce the contrast and adjust the brightness.

Step 03
Bring back some details in the shadows.

Step 04
Remove overall saturation and also in selected colors like cyan and blue.

Step 05
A custom vignette shaped around the talents with a curve inside to boost the midtones and highlights. Others very soft vignettes were also added on the edges of the frame to darken the corners in order to bring the focus on the actors.

– – –

If you missed last week’s first shot from the Color Grading Breakdown Series, catch up right here!

Watch the full music video here.


Charles-Etienne Pascal is a freelance digital colorist working in Montreal, Canada. His line of work mainly consist of advertising, but he also very much enjoys grading music videos, short films and documentaries. Chuck likes photography, motorcycles, travelling, bouldering, guitar and of course color grading.

Leave a Reply


captcha *