WHAT IS DIGITAL GRADING?
To be completely accurate, Digital Grading is just one aspect of the process of taking a video or film and really giving it that final, finished gloss. When the edit is complete, the process of giving the film its final look is hugely important, not just in an aesthetic sense, the colour palette of a film is also a narrative, emotive, storytelling tool that, when done well, can be enormously effective.
A film’s overall look starts of course with the cinematography but it is in the back end of production, the colouring and look build where that footage and those beautiful shots can really come alive and with the right tools and expertise, almost anything is possible these days, from replacing dull, washed out skies, to changing the colour of your talent’s hair, from creating lush, beautiful landscapes full of vivid colour, to washed out cities in a dystopian nightmare, knowing why, how and when can make or break a film, commercial, music video or show reel. At Scarlet View Media, we know why, how and when.
Sometimes the look of a film can be quite subtle, this is often the case in documentary film, where gritty realism takes preference over stylised aesthetics, in other instances, the look of a film is key to its story, take for example, recent examples like Lord of the Rings, Suckerpunch and The Book of Eli, these are movies where the grade and overall look of the film is almost a character in itself.
WHY DO YOU NEED IT?
WHAT DO WE DO WITH YOUR FILM?
The complexity of what you want for the final look of your project will dictate how much we need to do to achieve a particular aesthetic, however, there are certain elements of building a final look which are essential in every project.
Colour Correction: This is the process of balancing every shot in your film so the reds, blues and greens are matched and the highlights and shadows are consistent. This is especially important for projects shot on two cameras or more, with different lenses and often in situations with inconsistent, or non-existent white balancing. This is the first stage of every grade we do, no project leaves our studio without proper colour correction being done first.
Primary Grade: This is where colour palettes are applied, colour is boosted or desaturated, contrast, areas of focus and shadows, midtones and highlights are manipulated and the look really starts to take shape.
Secondary Grade: The secondary grade is where the real magic starts to happen, skin tones are brought to life, areas of focus applied so the main focal point in your scenen really pops out of the screen, skies are manipulated, problematic colours are removed and backgrounds cleaned up. This can be quite drastic, but it can also be subtle, it all comes down to what you want. Even if you do want a subtle grade, this is still an important aspect of the process because it involves ensuring your project remains within the legal broadcast limits, regardless of whether it will be broadcast on TV or not.