With all the tools that we have at our disposal in today's editing world, color grading is, to us, a vital part in our effort to tell the best story that we can. Color grading is about fine changes to the color and tone of an image. In the end, this influences the viewers emotion about the film. If we need to make a scene look more dramatic, then we have a recipe for that. The same goes for if we want to make a scene light and fun. As you can see below we have the straight out of camera image.
Below are two different grades to get two completely different looks. One is cooler, desaturated with darker shadows. This would be the more sad, emotional look. The other is warmer, saturated, and has a more natural feel. Both can be used, but we went for the warmer look because we wanted it to be emotional. We left the color more realistic because we wanted her words to attest to her emotion, not the color.
Color grading is all about subtle changes to an image that effect the emotions of the viewer. In this particular film, we shifted Shirley's interview from a more desaturated look to a more saturated look. This helps the viewer feel more lighthearted because the color follows the story: a little color to a lot of color, somber to serene. Below are two images with two different looks, one is at the beginning of the film and the other is towards the end. These differences are little, but can impact the look and feel greatly.
The shift in color helps us tell the story we want to tell. We have to be deliberate with everything we do. Nothing in our films happens by accident. We are storytellers, and the skill of coloring is yet another tool to help us convey our stories more effectively.
Now that I've shown a little insight about our color process, check out the film Shirley & Howard.
By Logan McLennan