Color Grading Breakdown Series – Shot 06

After a two month hiatus, the Color Grading Breakdown Series is back! Meet Adrien in the 6th shot of the series:

Color Grading Breakdown

Adrien is a web series I wrote last year. My team and I applied for a major grant here in Canada and made it to the last stage of the selection… but we unfortunately didn’t get the funds. You can view the teasers we did that got us this far in the selection process here.

The teasers were shot with the Blackmagic Cinema Camera in raw .DNG files. The files were converted to Prores using Davinci Resolve. Before converting the files, I applied a Rec 709 Lut because at the time I wanted to have natural looking images for editing. It took much more time that I estimated to edit the teasers and I had to do the grading in a hurry. I saw the deadline approaching way too fast and I realized that I didn’t have the time to go back to Davinci to transcode the source files. This meant that I had to grade the Prores files without the raw range. It’s not the ideal workflow, but it proves one thing: You don’t necessarily need RAW Log files with a huge amount fo data to get decent results. I started serious grading with DV footage and managed to get good results back in the days. Never limit yourself because of a camera… just start grading and see what happens! Anyways, enough rambling… here’s the steps! Grading done in AE:

Step 01
Color Curves to balance the image in order to get a more neutral image. I also slightly lowered the contrast.

Step 02
A soft vignette around the actor to darken the background using Color Curves. This is the first of many vignettes I used for this shot.

Step 03
Using the same vignette, I lowered the highlights of the actor.

Step 04
Another vignette. This time a very large one to darken the edges of the frame and also the actor a little bit.

Step 05
Using a yellow/orange color solid with a low opacity and the soft light blending mode, I warmed up the overall image to mimic the incandescent lighting ambiance provided by the lightbulbs around the edge of the mirror.

Step 06
It still felt a bit to bright. I lowered the exposure using a Color Curve. The mids and the shadows were took down a notch without affecting the highlights. This brought back a nice amount of contrast too.

Step 07
A diamond shaped vignette around the face of the actor, not too soft, to mimic even more the incandescent lighting ambiance.

Step 08
Another vignette on the actor’s face to brighten him.

Step 09
A simple tint adjustment to remove a tiny amount of saturation on the overall image.

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Missed the previous shots from the Color Grading Breakdown Series? Catch up right here!

Visit Adrien’s website  here.

Music: Blur – Jets


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.

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