Sunday, February 07, 2010

Grading, NOT Correction

Tonight Jeff and I sat down and began grading the color and B/W levels of our film. It's taken a while to get to this point, but we're finally doing it. I say "grading" because apparently that's the correct term to use when referring to color correcting an image. The term "correcting" implies that something is wrong. Oh so terribly, terribly wrong.

When color grading, it's important to adjust the ambient room lighting. Too much glare on the monitor and you won't be able to accurately adjust the black, white and grey levels. These adjustments are made using a waveform monitor. First, grade or "crush" the blacks. No that's not supposed to be offensive, it simply means that you lower the black levels to the point where detail is lost. For example, shadows. This creates a contrasting look and is ideal for making the image pop. Once the black levels are set, it's time to further increase the image contrast by grading the white levels, or highlights. The goal is to push the white levels to the top line of the waveform monitor and drive the black levels to the bottom. Here's some video of Jeff doing just that:

Both Jeff and I shared the grading duties. He gets a Grade A+ for a job well done!

So, there you have it! Color correction 101. Jeff and I managed to finish 3:23 minutes of our film. Just 23-plus minutes to go and we'll be ready to compress for DVD and online viewing.

More to come...

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