Color Grading Breakdown Series – Shot 09

I had so much fun grading this music video that I couldn’t resist doing a breakdown! It’s been two months since the latest shot from the Color Grading Breakdown Series, so you guys deserve it!

Color Grading Breakdown

I really dig the cinematic lighting DP John Londono and his team did for the the bar scene and wanted to push it to maximum. Here’s how I did it:

Step 01
A custom contrast curve. Without crushing the blacks too much, I created a curve that gave me just enough contrast to start with. I also increased the brightness a bit.

Step 02
Using printer lights (or color wheels) I added a blue and cyan look to the shot.

Step 03
The highlights were treated in two separate passes. The first step was to boost their intensity a notch and add a touch of yellow in them.

Step 04
We could still see the light stand and the spotlight, so I used a second highlight key, blurred it and kicked its brightness up to the sky.

Step 05
I wanted to add more blue to the scene, so I drew a quick soft mask on the greek column that bleed on the spotlight and added blue in it.

Step 06
The last details. I added a subtle vignette, popped the colors a bit on the left part of the frame and increased the contrast just tiny amount.

– – –

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

Watch the full music video here.

Music: Broken Bells – Holding On for Life


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.
  1. josephdreams Reply

    Hi hue, nice jobs… I will learn more for u

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