What to Expect When Working With a Colorist

Color Grading Suite of a Professional Colorist
Learn what you can expect when working with a professional colorist for your next video production project.

Our work often comes from another production company that has already shot and edited their footage. They are just looking for a little extra help making their project stand out from the rest. Whether it’s a spot for TV, web content, or a pre-roll commercial, the colorist is there to take that project to the next level with color.

Project Delivery

There are a few ways a company can deliver their project to us so we can begin the grade.

The two most common ways are:

  1. a Prores 422 export of the picture-locked video
  2. an external drive with the collected Premiere project and the original media

Both have their own drawbacks and benefits.

The Prores 422 export is much less complex and takes far less time. However, the collected project allows you to change how the RAW video is interpreted. In the end, it’s all down to budget and what is best for the project.

The best way to convey the look you are going for with any project is to pick samples that are spot on with your vision for the the final product’s look. If it’s something that’s harder to explain, give a few examples. Call out what it is that you like about multiple sample pieces. I’ve even had people do a quick grade in Premiere or Final Cut to help me understand the look they want for the final project.

Good Color Grading Takes Time

A colorful but poor neighborhood in need of color grading

Timing is so important. Please make sure you leave some time for the Grade. Please don’t come to us six hours before deadline and expect a miracle. Contact us as soon as possible! We will make all the necessary preparations to make your project look its best.

Globe with large and flat disc ring exploding with several colors

Revisions are pretty standard. When a shot doesn’t appear the way you imagined it: call it out! If you can’t put into words why you don’t like it, send another sample. It also helps to tell the colorist how you want viewers to feel when they see that shot. At it’s core, color grading is adding the subtle feeling to each shot.

Like any other creative process, color grading takes time and patience in order to create a refined product. Color grading is a specialty.  

Want to learn more?  Here are three related blog posts I think you’ll enjoy.  

These posts will help teach you about the in depth, process-driven color workflow and why you do, in fact, need a colorist.  You will better understand what goes into achieving the look that you are going for.

4 Responses

  1. I like how you mentioned that the best way to portray your given look is to choose samples that are very similar to your vision of the final product. My brother is considering looking for a specialist because he’s thinking about making his short film look cinema-grade since he’s thinking of putting it in a contest. I think it’s a good idea to consider hiring a reputable professional that can help turn his vision into a reality when color grading his motion picture.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *