Entries in color grading (43)
This bright little piece needed a look to match. Many times with shots captured in the outdoors there are elements you just can't wrangle. Lighting a mountain top to your specifications can be a difficult task. That's where post production color grading shines.
The problem in many of these shots was the heavy clouds in the top third of most of them. Using trackable windows in some cases and HSL keys on some others I worked to increase the brightness of the sky. In a lot this is accomplished by simply lifting the brightness in the sky that's showing. But in some others I got the same effect by lifting the reflected light on the ground. This gives the illusion that the sky is brighter.
In a few others I grabbed certain parts of the sky to increase visual contrast by controlling the hue of the blue that was showing through. In others it was through controlling the top edge of the highlights in the clouds to achieve a brighter look when it wasn't possible by simply shuffeling around global controls.
There are many ways to build a look. Its projects like this one that stretch my skills and get me to discover new techniques. It's really just about getting the audience to feel an emotion. There are lots of ways our minds interpret what we see. Its tapping into which cues have wich meaning that helps me to accomplish my goal of creating a feeling and a look for a film. Boy does it stretch me sometimes though.
These before and after stills may seem like a subtle simple creation. They aren't. Sometimes the hardest work I do is completely invisible. Hopefully that means I'm getting it right. So here's to subtlety.
This project was shot in super slow motion on the phantom camera. Extreme slow motion requires a lot of light. Even at that intensity the camera can still pick up some shadowing on the white background creating some interesting problems with achieving the desired look.
The white shirts of the runners also creates a problem because while the background needs to be ultrawhite or invisible, pushing things globally will result in losing all detail in the white shirts. So I created a series of selections to grab all the white in the background so I could pump that up and out. Then I went back in and animated masks for each of those corrections to keep them from effecting the floating runners.
One problem I continued to fight in the beginning was noise in the most saturated parts of the clouds. Clouds of colored chalk are already made up of tiny particulates floating around at random, but increasing the saturation was doing some knarly things so all I ended up with when I pressed play was a bunch of flickering noise in the cloud. It took a while, but I finally figured a way to eliminate the noise while still getting the overall saturation feeling strong and vibrant. Since different colors respond in different ways with the sensor on the camera, I needed to modify my approach with each change in colored chalk.
Dealing with color at this intensity and saturation, separating ultra highlights from highlights, and needing to create believable tracking on each correction to keep from getting a halo effect was a big challenge, but well worth it in the end.
Here are some of my favorite stills from the project.
This needed a cold dramatic look. I was cautioned though because this was shot in 8bit which can be really limiting. DSLR footage lacks the bandwidth to push really hard. With global corrections it begins to pixelate and noise up pretty fast.
But working with specifics in Resolve I'm able to push 8bit footage farther without killing it. Its a subtle process I've been working on for a long long time, but I think it's paying off.
Check out the transformation in these before and after stills.
Click through the before and after stills to see the results. I did a lot to soften the rolloff on the top and bottom end basically creating more dynamic range. It's simulated but I think it worked pretty well. There's a lot of luminance sculpting going on as well to see just how much I could get out of this footage.