PDA

View Full Version : A Study In Colour, Contrast & Saturation - blog post



nickjbedford
09-15-2012, 07:54 PM
I decided to finally write something about the whole idea of creating an image that feels like a film image, as opposed to digital. These are my findings anyway :)

I wish I had my own BMDCC footage to show, but I've used the colour grade I did on an Afterglow frame by JB as my example.

http://www.nickbedford.com/blog.php?id=80

Frank Glencairn
09-16-2012, 01:39 AM
Great writeup Nick.

And yeah, I found the same rules.
What you call logarithmic curve, saturation vs luma ramp and slightly tinting shadows and highlights is exactly the way I treat my material since years, and became sort of my "signature look".
You can see that on the country fair/carnival grabs I posted.
I love how rich and fat the material gets when you lower the mids. Sometimes I use cool in lights and shadows and warm in mids. Yellow highlights give a nice retro look though. It all depends on the scene.

Frank

nickjbedford
09-16-2012, 05:59 AM
Great writeup Nick.

And yeah, I found the same rules.
What you call logarithmic curve, saturation vs luma ramp and slightly tinting shadows and highlights is exactly the way I treat my material since years, and became sort of my "signature look".
You can see that on the country fair/carnival grabs I posted.
I love how rich and fat the material gets when you lower the mids. Sometimes I use cool in lights and shadows and warm in mids. Yellow highlights give a nice retro look though. It all depends on the scene.

Frank

Thanks Frank. Yeah I've noticed from some videos on YouTube that Kodak 5218/9 500T has about 4% blue in the mids and highlights and about 2-4% orange in the shadows. It also has a deeper contrast and brighter highlights. It'd be great to go through a bunch of gorgeously shot films (on film) and work out what's going on in the image.

I may not have the chance to shoot anything on film, but I LOVE the look of movies shot on film.

Lorenzo Straight
09-16-2012, 07:10 AM
Nick, how much was Snow White & The Huntsman shot on film and not Red Epic? Is the particular frame you chose one of the scenes shot on film? Haven't seen it yet.

Same question posted on your blog, sorry.

Lorenzo Straight
09-16-2012, 07:16 AM
Ok, found the answer. Red was used on select VFX shots. So, mostly shot on film.

nickjbedford
09-16-2012, 07:17 AM
I'm not actually sure. I read that it was shot on film, and assumed the whole thing was! Was some of it shot on the RED Epic? If so they did a great job with matching the two.

Brad Ferrell
09-16-2012, 08:18 AM
interesting

funwithstuff
09-16-2012, 09:37 AM
Good post.

However, since everything from Hollywood goes through a digital intermediate and digital color grading, surely the colorist would have a greater influence on the final image than the film stock? Would subtle tint differences in film stock really survive today's grading processes?

Before DIs were common, the choice of film stock would have been more important, but now... I'd be surprised. Happy to be surprised, though.

daydreamersproductions
09-16-2012, 02:38 PM
Thanks Frank. Yeah I've noticed from some videos on YouTube that Kodak 5218/9 500T has about 4% blue in the mids and highlights and about 2-4% orange in the shadows. It also has a deeper contrast and brighter highlights. It'd be great to go through a bunch of gorgeously shot films (on film) and work out what's going on in the image.

I may not have the chance to shoot anything on film, but I LOVE the look of movies shot on film.
Kodak has always ran into the blue while Fuji is noted for it's pastels.

Felix
09-16-2012, 03:10 PM
I observed that modern films always have rich contrast in lows and mids but have very soft, almost flat highlights.
Is that correct or did I misinterpret this?

Frank, when you lower your mids, how do you keep the right exposure?

Matthew Bennett
09-16-2012, 03:45 PM
Besides all the lovely analog colour in films, there's something so magical and charming about gate weave. I've tried to emulate it many many times and it's always somewhat of a fail on my end.

Anyway - damn nice grade on the brawley frame - I'd call that the perfect grade for that material!!

nickjbedford
09-16-2012, 03:58 PM
Good post.

However, since everything from Hollywood goes through a digital intermediate and digital color grading, surely the colorist would have a greater influence on the final image than the film stock? Would subtle tint differences in film stock really survive today's grading processes?

Before DIs were common, the choice of film stock would have been more important, but now... I'd be surprised. Happy to be surprised, though.

Yeah, it's hard to comment completely without knowing exactly if the film stock was only colour timed and not DI'd and then colour graded.

If anything, Christopher Nolan and Wally Pfister are known not to do DIs as much as they can. I'm a fan of their movies and the image of course too.

nickjbedford
09-16-2012, 04:00 PM
Besides all the lovely analog colour in films, there's something so magical and charming about gate weave. I've tried to emulate it many many times and it's always somewhat of a fail on my end.

Anyway - damn nice grade on the brawley frame - I'd call that the perfect grade for that material!!

Thanks Matthew. Once I receive my own Blackmagic (haha), I will probably do up a post with my findings on grading the footage (and shooting it).

Joe Giambrone
09-16-2012, 06:39 PM
Thanks, Nick.

Do you know of a way to get the luminance v. saturation curve to happen in Photoshop?

funwithstuff
09-16-2012, 08:37 PM
Thanks, Nick.

Do you know of a way to get the luminance v. saturation curve to happen in Photoshop?

You could use Blend If (part of Blending Options) to limit the effect of an Adjustment Layer to just the shadows or the midtones? Probably not exactly what you're looking for, but certainly a way to limit any adjustment layer to just certain tones in the image.

If you haven't used Blend If, here's an article about it:

http://www.macprovideo.com/hub/photoshop/photoshop-image-editing-tricks-understand-blend-if

nickjbedford
09-16-2012, 09:18 PM
You could use Blend If (part of Blending Options) to limit the effect of an Adjustment Layer to just the shadows or the midtones? Probably not exactly what you're looking for, but certainly a way to limit any adjustment layer to just certain tones in the image.

If you haven't used Blend If, here's an article about it:

http://www.macprovideo.com/hub/photoshop/photoshop-image-editing-tricks-understand-blend-if

This is how I have been doing it in Photoshop.

Joe Giambrone
09-16-2012, 10:18 PM
"Blend if."

Thanks so much. I didn't even know this feature existed. It's so buried.

nickjbedford
09-17-2012, 04:19 PM
I've updated my post with four grades up on Vimeo of that same shot from Afterglow.

http://www.nickbedford.com/blog.php?id=80


https://vimeo.com/49633085

David
09-18-2012, 01:37 AM
Nick I'm really digging some of your grades. You have a good eye for it.

nickjbedford
09-18-2012, 01:56 AM
Nick I'm really digging some of your grades. You have a good eye for it.

Thanks David :)

mikowolf
09-19-2012, 12:33 PM
the kodak one looked very nice :)

jeebus
01-11-2013, 11:46 AM
I know I'm really late to this convo but thought I'd comment anyway. Really nice blog post, Nick. I enjoyed the read, for sure. One thing, in particular, stood out to me. You mentioned how color saturation (for the most part) increases in the shadows and decreases in the highlights. I think it's important to keep in mind that when all of the hues are at their most saturated, they have different brightness values, yellow being the brightest when fully saturated and blue being the darkest, if I'm remembering correctly. Now, maybe I'm stating the obvious here and if that's the case I apologize.

JohnSeventine
05-23-2013, 04:40 PM
Hello guys i just wanted to report that the link is dead. :)