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The Art of Colour Grading

The Art of Colour Grading

Films in general, are a work of art. A lot of planning, effort and structure go into delivering the final product. However, a particularly important aspect of filmmaking is usually not even noticed by the average viewer, which is colouring. From discussions about movies, it is always the actors and story that get the most attention. Nevertheless, how a film is colour graded is profoundly important, as it affects the interpretation of the images by the viewer.

The aim of this project is to analyse the importance and the process of colour grading through literature review, selected movie analysis, recreating popular movie looks and applying colour grading to different location settings. In the process I identified selected colour movie looks, compared them, and then re-created these with footage I recorded indoor and outdoor with my Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (BMCC4K).
For all clips I used actors, so that there were also the challenges to colour grade the skin as well as the background’s atmosphere. Each scenario / version convenes a different look and feel using different colour grading techniques and understanding the proper colour theory. I focused also on the theoretical side of colour grading as well.

Based on both my theoretical research and practical part, I concluded that a movie can have different colour gradings to be used to distinguish places, time, realities, situations and characterise individuals, among others.

What is very important is that colour grading is not limited to post-production, but needs to be thought through in pre-production and enacted during production where colours of items on display, costumes and lighting need to set the foundations for post-production digital colour grading. Well-planned indoor shots are easier to colour-grade compared to well-planned outdoor shots, this because of the command the crew has on the lighting in an indoor environment.

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