When shooting it’s important that the colour consistency of each shot matches, so as not to jar the audience. This is where subtle grading can help by colour correcting each scene so that they match up and don’t drowning your film in dark shadows. Sometimes the changes are very slight because if it looks too graded then these changes become a distraction to your audience.
Visual consistency isn’t just about the imagery, it’s also about seamless storytelling.
Getting the Right Look
During pre-production we will create a “look book” — a collection of colour references from other projects to convey an ideal colour scheme for your video. These looks will be worked on by the DOP (Director of photography) and the director to address the different moods in each scene and help visualise their impact.
An integral part of achieving consistent colour and getting that individual ‘look’ is lighting. It’s for this reason that we use flicker-free LED Rotolights. Giving us incredibly soft shadows and fantastic texture range, scenes shot with our Rotolights have lots of production value which only gets better after the grading process.
Amongst their many features including to being able to control the colour temperature to an exact Kelvin value, the Rotolights LED’s allow us to shoot super slow-motion video without any noticeable flickering (up to and including Phantom cameras).
Green screen and Chroma Keying
On many occasions, clients will want to change the background the scene for a still image or different piece footage. To achieve this, we can shoot the actors (more commonly known as ‘the talent’) in front of a green screen. Later in post-production, the green background will be made transparent allowing a different background to be substituted. This process, once the preserve of Hollywood productions, is more commonly known as green screening.
Industry Standard Tools
Every trade requires the right tools and there are several software packages that cover grading. However, the current industry standard is Black Magic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, which our entire workflow is based around. By now being able to shoot in 4K RAW video we can achieve a lot more flexibility when it comes to grading your piece.
VFX / Visual Effects
“A Lot of Times You Get Credit for Stuff in Your Movie You Didn’t Intend to Be There.”
– Spike Lee, director of ‘Do The Right Thing‘
VFX or Visual effects are digital elements that were not on set during the shoot. So, whilst we can very often “fix it in post” there are limits to what can be done and consequently we choose not to rely upon it.
Similar to photography, our belief is to always try to “fix it inside the camera”. By doing as much as we can on set, it keeps productions on time and ‘on budget’ without eating into your video’s grading.
Grading used well can also creatively enhance the emotions in your video’s story/message. Instead of using colour randomly you can subtly add inherent associations – like warm reds and yellows conveying happiness and cool blues conveying sadness – to lift the audience’s engagement.
Whilst we’re always trying to have a reason in the narrative for the look that you’re going for, at the end of the day grading is all about taking beautifully shot images and making them as good as they possibly could be.