Color grading is industry-speak for the process of improving or manipulating the look of film for broadcast. Generally, we color grade to increase the quality of an image across platforms. With the power of color grading, a well-shot video looks great on TV, computer, smartphone, etc. Additionally, though color grading is an intricate, scientific process, when it’s done well, it can lend a serious flare of artistry to any video. But in the best conditions it is a hybrid of practicality and artistic choice.
This is achieved by tinkering with an image’s contrast, color, saturation, detail, black level, and white point. Images may be further enhanced with resolution and other tools. The end product should fix film errors, lighting issues, and white balance. It should optimize the appearance of special effects. And artistically, it should create a vibe for your video. A mood, if you will.
Of course these are just the most noticeable attributes. There are other components of color grading as well, like masks, mattes, and power windows that occur behind the scenes and are less immediately noticeable to the human eye.
Making the grade
As long as there’s been film, there have been people altering it. Remember the Technicolor shots in The Wizard of Oz? This is an example of how altering and accentuating colors can add to a narrative. Modern colorists use technology to digitally enhance film. In the early 2000s, the movie Oh Brother, Where Are Thou? used computers to make the film look more brown. This artistic choice was central to evoking the film’s nostalgic Southern landscape.
Of course when they did it over 19 years ago they had to color each frame individually. Which took a lot of time. Modern color grading is less extreme, but still requires a professional eye and expert work.
We don’t grade on a curve
Here at ECG Productions we have a dedicated color suite with Davinci Resolve, the Flanders Scientific color-accurate monitor, a completely decked out Tangent Element Color Grading Surface, and of course our charming in-house Colorist to drive all that gear.
It’s hard to put a value on how important color grading is to a project. Here’s a reel we put together of ECG projects that show the value of a flawless color grade. Shots in this reel go from untouched to stunningly graded before your eyes, and the difference is pure magic. Bringing images to life is what we do. The power of color helps make that happen!
Wow! The truth is without badass color everything looks drab and boring. Or worse flat-out ugly and uninspiring. We’re not about that kind of thing at ECG. It doesn’t work for us.
People don’t always recognize all the steps it takes to make a great video. We’re lucky that Jenn, our in-house colorist, along with her state-of-the-art color suite, can pump vitality into any film project. ECG knows that no two shots are the same and every project calls for different adjustments—from the subtle to the extreme. No matter the task, Jenn kills it every time.
The finishing grade
Color grading is one of the finishing steps of a film. Not everybody understands the steps or has the equipment necessary to do it. At ECG we have the personnel, know-how, and technological gadgets to take your work to that next professional level.
Contact ECG today for more information about color grading and how we can serve your project from pre-to-post-production.