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19/01/2018

The Art Of Being A Colourist

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These days, just about every film needs a grade, which is increasingly happening in the online edit rather than being sent to a specialist facility.

After all, a powerful colour corrector is now built into the popular NLE's, and if more finesse is required, standalone grading software can be run on the same workstation.

The main difference between a grading suite and an online room is the imposing control surface. Hundreds of illuminated controls may seem daunting to the uninitiated, yet serve just two goals – precision and speed.

Without trackballs, knobs and buttons, it would be impossible to balance each scene of a film to the precision necessary to fool the human eye into thinking that all of the clips it contained were shot on the same camera, at the same time, on the same day, in the same year… And the more trackballs, knobs and buttons one has, the more precise and faster the colour correcting process becomes.

Highly skilled colourists can adjust several parameters simultaneously, without even being aware that they are doing so. Over time, a phenomenon, known as 'muscle memory', develops where the brain converts conscious grading decision, into precise unconscious gestures of the hand. These learned responses are what define the art of being a colourist.

I now use a portable control surface when grading in an online room, allowing me to tap into years of hard-earned muscle memory for every job, secure in the knowledge that my craft doesn't have to be compromised in any way.

Article by Geoff Hockney, Colourist and Online Editor
Soho Editors Freelancer


www.sohoeditors.com

This article also features in the January edition of Broadcast Film & Video.

(JP/LM)
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