Color Grading: Creating a Cinematic Look | Fred Trevino | Skillshare

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Color Grading: Creating a Cinematic Look

teacher avatar Fred Trevino, Colorist & Top Teacher

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Learning Cinematic Traits


    • 3.

      Film Grain: Fine to Heavy


    • 4.

      Frame Rate: 18 to 240fps


    • 5.

      Depth of Field: Picking a Focal Point


    • 6.

      Lens Choice: Think Ahead


    • 7.



    • 8.

      Quality of Light and More


    • 9.

      Two Cinematic Grades: One with Good Footage and One with Bad.


    • 10.



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About This Class

What is a cinematic look? In this course we'll go over what makes up a cinematic grade and how to get there. You'll learn about the many characteristics that make up this look and watch as I grade 2 separate projects to get that polished look we're all after. This course is for beginner to intermediate students who may not be experts but are ready to expand their color correction and grading knowledge.

In this course we'll learn about:

  • Top Cinematic Traits
  • Film Grain
  • Frame Rate
  • Depth of Field
  • Lens Choice
  • Composition
  • Quality of Light and More!

Ending with a grading session where you'll watch me take a film through to create a cinematic grade! So if you're interested in getting your footage and film to the next level, let jump right in!

About Your Teacher

Fred Trevino is a colorist with over 10 years experience.  He's graded over 40 feature films and hundreds of projects for high end clients such as HBO, Versace, ESPN, Under Armour and more. His narrative color work has screened at well known film festivals like Sundance, Cannes, and Slamdance. His goal is to use the experience and skills he's developed over his career to accelerate your learning in the field of color.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Fred Trevino

Colorist & Top Teacher

Top Teacher

Fred Trevino is a colorist at Beambox Studio and Top Teacher at Skillshare who has been grading projects for small, medium and large corporate clients, as well as filmmakers from all over the globe. He's graded over 50 feature films along with hundreds of music videos, short films, documentaries, commercials, web spots and more.

Some past corporate clients include HBO, ESPN, Shiseido, Under Armour, Sundance Channel, Tru TV, and Pepsi.

He's worked with countless talented DPs and directors and his color work has screened at several highly esteemed festivals such as Sundance, Cannes, and Slamdance. Along with grading he enjoys doing street photography in New York City where he lives.

As a first class he recommends Introduction with a Pro Colorist and then getting a... See full profile

Level: All Levels

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1. Intro: When we think of movies, what comes to mind is a very specific look and at the same time, very personal. Some of us think of comedy, drama, or horror, or something in between. All of these types of films have a very unique look that most of us call a cinematic look. We all want this in our films. Wonder how to get it and buy gear, filters, plugins, lights, and more to get to this mysterious, sought-after look. After ten years of experience and having graded over 40 feature films, I've come to learn what makes up a cinematic look. Whenever any of us make a movie, we want it to look like the movies we love, polished, gritty and beautiful. One of the top request that I get as a colorist is how can I make something look more cinematic? The reason I'm making this course, is because everyone asks this question wants to know. In this course, we'll go over it, not only how we can get there, but what traits to look for in footage that's already shot to make your film and your project look more like a movie. My name is Fred Trevino and this course is about creating a cinematic look. I've created over 40 feature films and I've worked on hundreds of videos for clients such as Product, HBO, ESPN, Sundance Channel, Versace, Pepsi, and a lot more. This course is intended for anyone who's looking to improve their footage, improve their knowledge of color correction and color grading, and know what it takes to make something look like a movie. Let's get started. 2. Learning Cinematic Traits: In this lesson, I want to go over some of the traits that make up a cinematic look. The reason I want to go over these things before we jump into the actual grading, is because half of a colorist job is having the eye to spot what can be done and what can't be done. If, for example, you get a film that is very poorly shot or shot with very few cinematic characteristics, it'll be very hard to enhance those characteristics and get a truth film like Look. I think this is one of the main reasons that so many people have trouble making their footage look cinematic, and that's it, they just don't know what traits a movie has that gives that special unique look we all love and are used to seeing. With that in mind, let's jump in. 3. Film Grain: Fine to Heavy: So in this lesson, I want to talk a little bit about the film and the history of film and where this look comes from. One thing you have to realize is what we consider a cinematic look is really just the history of technology, the history of different cameras. The first one, let's start off with is pretty easy. Let's talk about grain. Basically, the grain is something that comes from the old 35 millimeters film. It's basically the size of the different pieces of silver that are in actual physical film stock, whether it's 35,16 or eight millimeter. Basically, if a film stock is a high ISO film stock, it means that it tends to be Greener because it has larger bits of silver in the film stock, which helps catch the light. The larger these little pieces of silver are in the film, that's what grain is. Now, because of the decades and decades of watching movies, we've come to associate grain as something that makes something looks cinematic. Even though for decades, Kodak, Fuji, we're just trying to get that grain out of movies and they would promote their film stocks as having very fine grain. Now you find that because we're so used to seeing this grain in movies, it's something that people want to see. So when someone says cinematic look though, some people might have a ton of grain in mind. Some people might have no grain in mind. 4. Frame Rate: 18 to 240fps: So another characteristic of a cinematic look is frame rate. Basically as the film travels through the camera, the speed at which the film travels through the camera can control the look. Think of something going 240 frames per second, which creates extreme slow-motion. Something going through the film at a 120 frames per second, which creates slow-motion. Then if you think of old timey film, a lot of times those movies went at 18 frames per second, which created that very jumpy, jittery look that we see in old movies. Once film had to sync up with sound, that's where we get the 24 frames per second. After decades of seeing the specific look of the film running through the camera at 24 frames per second, that became the look that we consider to be cinematic or how movies look. Basically the point that I'm trying to make here is that the subtle changes in frame rate do affect how something looks. This, again is part of what makes something look like a movie. 5. Depth of Field: Picking a Focal Point: The next characteristic is depth of field. Depth of field is basically what's in focus and what is not in focus, specifically if the background is blurry or if the entire image is completely in focus. The way this is used is basically to attract attention to specific details. Think of something like a close-up on a character. Usually in movies when we see close-ups or extreme close-ups, the background is completely out of focus and only the character is in focus. Or if we want to see a complete wide shot of say, something like battle scene in a movie, everything is in focus. Depth of field is another tool that can be used to control the look of a film. Basically how we can use this while we are color grading, is that we have certain tools in DaVinci Resolve that control what's in focus and what is not in focus. A lot of these tools are actually designed to look like lenses with a shallow depth of field. It's something that a lot of cinematographers, a lot of directors uses the tool to create something, and we've gotten so used to this look that a shallow depth of field tends to be associated with a film or cinematic look. 6. Lens Choice: Think Ahead: The next characteristic is lens choice. Basically, lens choice is how wide of a shot you have or how tight of a shot you have. One of the easiest ways to tell if someone is new to shooting something, is that they use a lot of wide shots and they don't even think about which lens they're using. A good example of this is a lot of first-time filmmakers will have a zoom lens and they basically turn on the camera, leave the camera as is, which is normally the widest setting, and they shoot a scene that's in a wide shot. That same scene might be a little bit more powerful and a little bit more cinematic, if they were to zoom in, get more tight close ups using the telephoto part of the lens, which is the tighter more zoomed in part of the lens, over the wide angle part of the lens. Lens choice completely can change the motion and feel of a scene based on whether you're shooting very wide or very tight. The selection of lens dictates on top of what we've already mentioned of frame rate and depth of field and film grain, the grainy look of ISO. All of these layer on top of what makes something look cinematic. You're seeing that as we're going, we're building a look through all of these characteristics. 7. Composition: So the next trait that's really important is composition. This is one that we can all see because it basically tells us how something was framed, which is another term for that. We all know popular films, where things might be symmetrical. We might have negative space. Knowing composition and knowing what certain looks can create certain emotions are really what some people might call a cinematic look. For example, a classic example that I get all the time is Wes Anderson films. We all know that he tends to pose everything and compose a lot of the shots, very symmetrical. A lot of times people might comment and say, "Oh, I want my film to look very cinematic." They send me stills of this Wes Anderson film or that Wes Anderson film. Sometimes you can go in there and re-frame a shot, make it look a little bit more to what they are wanting. A little bit more to a certain style of cinema. Sometimes if a shot is too beautifully composed, you can go in there and rotate it, and shift it a little bit, make it look a little bit off to create a different kind of cinematic look. So, again, composition or just adding to the different layers of what makes something look like a movie. 8. Quality of Light and More: The last characteristic I want to talk a little bit about in depth is quality of light. As you know, lighting is one of the most important things in creating a look for your image. As a colorist, it's important to be able to look at an image and know whether something was shot with hard lighting, soft lighting, tungsten, daylight, 5600 Kelvin, 3200 Kelvin fluorescent lighting and knowing what color each one of those lighting sources is will help you in determining what can be done to that light, what can be done to the image to make it look a little bit more cinematic. Really, that's all we're doing when we're color correcting or color grading is we're manipulating the lighting. We might have hard lighting, we might have soft lighting, you might have the color of light as well, for example, streetlights, sodium vapor lights, which are very orange or very red. These definitely have influence on the look you're going for. I hope by this point you're getting that it's really a compilation of lens choice, lighting, field of view, depth of field, grain, composition. All of these little different bits that come together that make something look cinematic. One more thing that I want to bring up besides all these other traits that I've already brought up is that things like the art department, wardrobe, makeup, even things like aspect ratio, all affect the look and make something look more movie-like or film-like. Think of widescreen, the aspect ratio, 2.35 aspect ratio, you can take any movie, something you shot on your phone, put bars on top and the bottom to make it look like it's a 2.35 aspect ratio and it'll suddenly look like a movie. Again because that's what we're used to seeing and that's what we're used to associating for a film. Knowing all of these things and how they come together, it will help your color grade so that you can magnify some of these things or take away from some of these things to create the specific cinematic look that you're going for. 9. Two Cinematic Grades: One with Good Footage and One with Bad.: Here we're finally going over a cinematic grade. In the previous lesson, you learned about a lot of the different traits and now we're going to go through here. Before we get started, I just want to talk a little bit about the overall color correction or grading process that you have with clients. Or a lot of times it's also good if you're grading your own film or maybe you're working with friends and you're grading their films. The first thing I typically do when I get a call or an email from a client is I ask to see the film, and then I also ask to see some reference stills, some images, some photos. Anything that can inspire the look or that will show me the look they've be going for, this can even be paintings. Most people send photos or stills from movies that they like or movies that inspired their movie and their look. For example, some people might just send me stills from the movie, "Drive" or "Royal Tenenbaums" or whatever movie they like. I like looking at those, and the reason that I do this is because a lot of times when a client e-mails and they tell me that they want them to look vibrant or happy or saturated a lot like say the movie "Amélie" for example. They typically might have a different idea than I have, and just to get on the same page, I ask them, "Send me the stills from the movies that you like, that you want for your film and that way I know what you mean by vibrant, happy, gritty, sad, moody, dark, cinematic, whatever that might be." Then that helps me get on the same page with them and from there we do what's called a spotting session or a looks session. All that is, is they come in, it's typically the director, the director of photography, and we sit down, we go through the film, we talk about the film. They tell me their ideas, and for each scene, we might set up a base look for that scene or the film. Typically this is for the more larger major scenes, sometimes it's for every scene. It really just depends on how much work we think we need for establishing a look for that film. Then another thing you want to do, typically, you obviously want to check out what the film looks like. This is going back to the previous lesson where I talked about cinematic traits. If a client comes to me and says, "I want my film to look very cinematic or very film-like," I ask to look at it and this for example, if I see something like this, where it's obvious that they picked a long telephoto lens, zoomed in, they have shallow depth of field. I can see the backgrounds and focus. It's a nice composition and I can tell they framed everything, and they working on, say for example here, it was well composed. They thought a little bit about their lens selection for example, good set dressing, wardrobe, the lighting all there. This is what I mean by a film that has that cinematic look already baked in there. You can't really take a movie or anything that was shot, say for example, something like this, very little about this is cinematic. This is the example or like I mentioned before, you can tell they basically turned on their camera, pointed it at a subject and hit record. You can tell there wasn't much thought in lens selection, it's a little bit of a deep depth of field. It's the composition which is just plain and boring in comparison to something like this or like this, for example. Again, what I'm trying to say is part of that cinematic look is baked into the film. That helps dramatically when you're creating that look because rather than fighting against an image that doesn't look good and you're doing a lot of extra adjustments to try to get it there, you have something like this where you have a little bit of a head start and you can make something look really like a movie. All the movies you see that you love, all the movies and looks that you love, it's because something was shot like this. My tip to you, if you're shooting your own films, is to really learn the cinematography, learn the lighting, the lens, the composition, everything that I mentioned in the previous lesson and more, because that is honestly probably 50-70 percent of creating a cinematic look. From here, all we're doing is dialing in the contrast, the highlight, the style, the colors, the tones, the grain and then we have other tools that can help accentuate that look too. Here is, for example, the grade that I made for this shot. I'm going to go through all the different steps that I made, what you can see is first here we're going to start off with the primary. This is the original image and the first thing we did, actually, first of all, before we go over the different steps that it took to create that look, I just want to go over how this film was shot a little bit. As you can see, this clip is very washed out, very flat, very desaturated and that's because it was shot in log. For those of you that don't know what log is, basically, when you're shooting a film, you have the option to shoot it in just whatever normal camera profile that camera has. If you're shooting on say, a Canon digital SLR, it might be called vivid, it might be called flat, it might be called standard, something like that. What that basically gives you, it's added dynamic range for that image. Again, what dynamic range means is basically how much information do I have to work with when I'm adjusting something. To use this other shot as an example. That's how this was shot, this look is baked into this image so I have very little to work with. If I want to bring this down a little bit, I can. But you can see it starts to look a little bit fake a little bit, pushed too far. If I, for example, saturate this, you can see very quickly the skin tones, which will start looking a little too saturated. So without getting too deep into that, I'll probably definitely make some course about that later. But without getting too deep into that, it basically means that when you shoot in a log setting, you have more information to work with and color correcting will be easier and a lot of different effects will be easier. If your camera has a log setting, definitely use that, and if it does not, then use the flattest setting that your camera has. Now we're back here and the first step that I did is the primaries. You usually want to start off with the primaries, and what I did is, that was the initial node. Basically what these nodes are, they're different steps that you take in creating your grade. For this initial node, we went from point A to point B. All that I did here was drop the shadows, raised the highlight a little bit, added contrast. I'll go over in detail here in a little bit, but just giving you the quick overview of what was done to this image. I dropped the shadows as well, which is the lower end of the blacks. For example, the shoulder is a shadow, this is a shadow. Any dark areas are usually the shadows and that's basically what I did. I basically shaped this image to look that way. So we went from here and really dropped down the look because for this here, we wanted it to look very, again, cinematic, dark, moody. This is a little bit of a tense scene where this father is making the kids' breakfast and they fear their father and so it should have a dark, creepy, scary look to it. Then the second one, which again this was called a primary look. Primary is typically when you make general adjustments to the image, and I made a second primary adjustment which was just this, bring in a little saturation. To be specific, what I did was added color boost. What color boost does compared to saturation is, saturation basically uniformly increases your saturation across the board so the skin tone saturate the same, the shadows, the highlights, the mid-tones, the entire image. Then color boost is in other programs like Lightroom or Photoshop, things like that. It's something that's typically called by brands or a smart color tool to where this only saturates the least saturated parts of your image. In most cases that's something like the darker areas, the shadowy areas and it helps create a little bit more natural look when you're increasing the saturation. Now that doesn't mean that you never use saturation, honestly, you probably use this more times than not. But again, for this look, because I want this image to not be super saturated like a commercial, I did color boost and brought it from here to here. Then next is when we start getting into the secondary. Secondaries, is basically when we start making fine adjustments. For example, when you start doing things like selecting only the skin tone or selecting only the back wall or only his shirt, or only parts of his hair or part of this shoulder here. Those are typically secondaries when you do keys, mats, and that kind of thing For this, I started with the secondaries, and I basically brought up the greens that were in this wall. Based on how it was shot, you can see before, after. That's basically what I did with the Secondary, just to give that background a little bit more of a green creepy look to it. Make it look a little bit more unhealthy and it also helps to separate his face and his skin tones from the background. Again, here's the original. Then that's with a little bit of green added to it, and then added a Secondary here. This is where we again start doing fine tuning and I basically created a little window right here and just gave that a little bit of a boost to again, accentuate the lighting and separate him from the background a little bit. You can see it's starting to take shape. Another Secondary here. I brought up this side of his face, the highlights here and you can see that combining these two helps add a dimension to the shot. All of a sudden now we have a little bit of a highlight in the background here and it just looks that much better. So from here, I was pretty happy with it, but I kept going a little bit more. I went into the FX and basically what I did here was just simply add green. If I zoom in, green's a little bit harder to see. So here's before, no green, green. Usually when you add green, it also gives it a little bit of this micro contrast boost and makes your image look a tiny bit darker. So I created this window here. You can see that I made it super soft and right now it's only affecting the parts of the image that you can see. It's only affecting this area here and this area very lightly. Again, full screen. Basically I made him go a little softer out of focus and also this back corner. This is one of those things that's very subtle. But I really just did this to show you the tools that you have to accentuate the depth of field, the out-of-focus look to something. That's something that's just a small adjustment. Then typically your last node is what someone might call the look, the final adjustment or last looks, the polish, the look adjustment. What I did for this one here was just a matter of, do I like this luminance level or brightness level? Or do I want to go a little bit darker? Typically for these final looks adjustment, it's where I leave it up to the client to decide. Do you like something like this or a little brighter? Very small changes. But if you think of the entire scene looking like this, or the entire scene looking like this, then obviously that'll make a big difference. Sometimes this is where you play with things. You might increase the contrast a little bit more. You might cool down the scene a little bit more. You might warm it up a little bit more. Do things like that. So those are the looks. I'll turn them off again and show you what they look like. Here's the easiest one to notice. Then for these, I'll go into full screen. Saturation or color boost. Then the secondary, to the background I added a little saturation. Really boosted the green, is what I did, and specifically what I used this tool for is if we go here to the Custom curves, I went into this Hue vs Saturation. Basically what Hue Versus Saturation does is you click on a color. For example, I clicked on the green background and it selects that color. If I click on his face, you can see it selects the reds or orange. I could increase saturation of this face or decrease it more if I wanted to. That's how I did the background. Then this one was color boost. This was the background. Which again was simply something as easy as creating a window, which you feather. Almost like putting a light up and that gives a little pop to that highlight in the background. Same thing here, window, it's feathered and then it gives that little bit of a boost. We've seen the green, all of these different steps. Then I'll just add this. There we go. These were all the different steps that I took to create this look or to magnify the cinematic look that's already baked into the image. Those are all the different steps that I took to take this image from here to here. With Primary, Secondary, FX adjustments with green and adding a final polish image to this. So from here I pre-graded these ones to give you an overview, an idea of the steps you would take based off the image. Now we're just going to quickly grade the rest of the scene. This is a pretty easy scene just because it's basically composed of his close up, this wide shot, his close up, and this closeup. So it's basically four shots. What I would do from here is basically copy that look across to the other shots. So something that easy. I basically selected the shot and right-clicked on the Graded Shot, hit "Apply Grade" and it paste that look over, that's basically it. Another thing about that, the reason that that works so well is again, because this was well shot. There's a lot of times where let's say on the day of the shoot, it took you six hours to shoot this scene and for example, maybe this was shot in the morning and by the time it got here it was really late. That's what makes shots not match. That and also not having consistent lighting. A lot of times even within the same shot, what I'll see is that I'll take this look, for example, paste it to the exact same setup and they don't match. The reason that that is because either the lighting was inconsistent. For example, maybe they just used window lighting. Maybe this was shot with natural lighting or maybe they did set up a few lights, but halfway through the shoot, they changed the light, maybe they changed the color temperature, maybe they moved the light forward, maybe back. Maybe they again were using a zoom lens and they zoomed in a little bit. Something as simple as zooming into a shot a little bit, or zooming out or changing the aperture or any camera setting can make shots not match. So that's why when you're shooting, you want to make sure that you're consistent across the board, your camera settings stay consistent, your lighting stays consistent that makes the post-production phase be as easy as this. Here's another shot. Again, I'm just right-clicking, "Apply Grade". Here's the one where you can tell needs to be adjusted a little bit simply because he's taking over the frame. We only see a little bit of him so this is a good example of what I was just saying. It makes this look a little too dark but we'll get to that in a little bit. I'll go here. I'm just going through is to show you how I'm doing it. You can also select multiple shots and do the same thing like this which is obviously the faster way. Also, a lot of times in DaVinci resolve, if you have shots that are of the same clip or of the same take. Lets say all these shots were, take three on that day, you basically will grade one-shot and it'll automatically ripple to the other shots, which is pretty cool. In this situation, this is not the case, but just so you know, a lot of times, grading can be even that easy. I think again, here we can go up to light box up here in the top right. This is a great way to get an overview of the entire scene. One, it helps you look for shots, like if I want to find more shots of this guy, which I don't see any. But it also helps you see the color palette and if the look is staying consistent across the board, like here, I noticed that it's a very contrasting, dark, moody, green look to everything which is good. I can see that I've created all of his shots so now I'm actually going to maybe jump to his shot next and I'm going to try again. If the lighting is somewhat consistent on the day of the shoot, you should just be able to right-click and look at that. Now I understand this is looking extremely easy, and I understand that a lot of your projects will not be this easy but the point that I'm stressing is how important cinematography is, preparation is, set dressing is, lighting. You do not necessarily create a cinematic look in the grading suite. You create a cinematic look from the first day of production, preparation, all the way through to color correction. Color correction really just shows and accentuates what's already been done. I'll just toggle between the two, can see it's working. I honestly did not expect it to work that well. I'll just select these two, right-click and we are going to make other adjustments, as we're going, but I just want to show you how easy things can be when things are shot well and that's actually why I brought these guys in because in a little bit, I'm going to show you how hard it is and what can or can't be done when you have something shot like this. I'll just select that one. Great. I'll go back into the Lightroom and you can see the look that's developing, dark, deep shadows. Looks great. You can also, by the way, apply things here. I'm just going to select this guy and works. In a little bit we're going to go through and fine tune this thing. This is not a close up, I'm just curious. Well, there you go. Here's what great cinematography can do for you. This actually is not bad. I'm actually going to undo that. Now I am just going to see what's left. Here's what I'm going to do. I'm actually going to select all the wide shots. Now I've selected all the wide shots and then we're just going to apply this to all of them even though it won't be perfect but you're starting to see what this film looks like. There we go. Oh, I missed this one. Then we're just going to toggle through all of the different shots and make small adjustments. Here I'm just going to scroll through. One thing that I don't like about this shot here is how I think the shadows are maybe a little bit too dark. I'm just going to raise them a tiny bit. By the way, I'm hitting Command F to go into full screen and I think that looks better. We can see a little. We definitely want again to be a dark, gritty scene. Full screen, for, after, and now we're just getting into personal taste a little bit. I'm going to, you may think different, I'm going to just go with the brighter one. Again, here we go. I'll maybe pick all these and then apply grade and we shall see them all get a little bit brighter. What I did here basically is this before was at a negative seven and run up to a four. Now I'm jumping through to make sure. Apply grade and impact in the light box. Here's the grade. Here we are again in the light box and now we will just simply go through here and jump through the different clips just to make sure everything is matching and so far so good. I'm pretty sure a lot of you right now are probably saying that this is probably shot on very expensive cameras and this and that. This scene was actually pretty cheap to shoot, but again, they just prepared a lot for it, and that's this shot that was maybe a little dark and again in the primaries, and the reason I'm sticking and making this adjustment in these primaries is because that's where those overall adjustments to the entire image are. If I was adjusting just the green background, that's where this guy is, so I'm going to go here, and I'm just going to raise the shadows a little bit because this shadows look a little dark, and that's probably good. We can see that's matching here, and again, there's the consistency there where I can make similar adjustments across the entire scene because of how consistent this was shot. From here now we are going to go to the other clips because obviously, I took my time creating this image, and I'm going to go through the other ones and just make adjustments, because obviously this will not translate 100 percent. I think overall, for example, this is where we started, that was the first node, and happy with that, and then this is the second node, which is just again the color, and then the third node, which is the green background. I see that's happening up here as well, so that looks good and then this guy here is when we start getting into these windows, that mean nothing, and I don't see any use for this, so I'm actually going to delete that, maybe we'll add something else. This is the other window, don't need that. This is the grain Command F, do need that, we have the off, on, off, on, there we go, and don't need that. This is the slight diffusing blur effect. Then I do need this, it's a little bit darker, That looks good. Here's where we are now. You could consider that initial look with the extra things removed. As I'm looking at this frame and he's just putting the plate down here, again, at this point it's all just a matter of your taste, whatever you want to do to the image. I feel like we've already established a look for this scene, and now it's a matter of adding additional secondaries because this was the primary or we took it from here to here. The largest adjustment, I'd say probably 78 percent of the adjustment is typically in the primaries because that's a global adjustment to the entire image. Then this is the polish when you start getting into the secondaries, like the green background, the highlights we did on him, the highlight here, the highlight in the background, for example. Let's bring him back out, and really this is where we just get creative. I like the green and like this, so now I'm going to add a window clicking here, and then I'm going to place this window over his head. I want to see a little bit more of him. Shift H is the keyboard shortcut to show us what the window is affecting. Shift H to turn it off or if you like, clicking can do this up here, but I like keyboard shortcuts. I'm just going to go to the gain or the highlights, really, this is the highlights here, but what I'm going to do now is just raise him a little bit. He's going to eventually sit down, but I just want to add a little something there, and again, it's such a saw window. He's really just landing into the window. If you want to get very picky with it, you could track that window, but for this situation, I don't think that's necessary. Again, that's all I am doing, just adding a little something there, and honestly, I'm pretty happy with this image overall. Yeah, I think it looks pretty good. Yeah, if we wanted to play with the look though, I might go over to the polish node here and just play around with it, so let's maybe do that really quick. Also, typically I do work on a control panel, but for this obviously I click around with the mouse just to show you what's being done and so for this, we will just do something like maybe we'll go to color temperature and I am just going to take the look and cool it down a little bit. I'm not going to change the whole scene is just simply to show you where you might go and make that change. Again, everyone has a different opinion. You might like this better, you might like this better. That's actually part of color correction that can drive you crazy, and it's why you do need to take breaks, it's because as you're going through making all these adjustments, playing with it, it can all start to look the same, and that's why you do want to walk away every now and then come back so you can get fresh eyes and decide if you actually do like this better, or this better, and do that. Another thing I can maybe do is say, I'm going to sharpen the image a little bit. I went here. This is the blur window where I can blur the whole image if I wanted to, and then if you go down in the opposite direction, it sharpens it a little bit. I'm just going to do a very soft sharpening and see a little more detail here, and again, I'm just playing around with the tools just to show you when you're working in creating and grade how you'd just really, it's not a set formula, is just a matter of how things were shot, what the look is, what you're going for, being creative, playing with the tools a little bit and seeing what you like and don't like, and after a while you'll develop a taste or a style for things that you like in different tools to try out. For example, in this situation, I do like the sharpness. We could go in and say, "Oh, I only want to sharpen this table area or anything but, because it's a wide shot and it's soft light coming in through this window here, I think in this situation, that extra sharpness adds a little something." We can see the detail in his face and the detail in his face, which I also know this is the main character of the film, so we definitely want to add a little extra something to that. Back to the light box here and I'm just going to select all of these shots again. Then I'm just going to reapply that grade. Quick way to make that adjustment to all of the different shots. Now all these shots have that new adjustment that I made. Command F that has that additional sharpness. Just adding these small details one at a time is what takes you from something like this to this. Actually, what I'm going to do again just to keep showing you different things, is I like this crack here so I'm going to bring it out. See if I can bring it out without it seeming a little too fake. What I'm going to do now is talk a little bit technical. The way these different nodes work, it's sequential. I created my primary and then the second, this node number two, makes the adjustments on top of whatever these were, and then the third node makes the adjustments to this and we go down. If you know Photoshop, it's like the layer system where every new node makes adjustments to the previous node. The reason I bring that up is because right now you can see that this is very black. You cannot see that crack at all. if I were to say just add a node at the very end, and just to show you very quickly, and try to brighten that up. What I'm doing here, I can see it, but you can see it will probably bring out noise and different things like that. What I want to do is I want to make adjustments to the cleanest most original part of the image. What I mean by that is rather than let's say even if I tried to make this work and feathered this which you probably can. Which by the way, at the beginning, I mentioned dynamic range in the fact that this was shot log so I have more dynamic range. That's exactly what I'm showing you right now. The benefits of dynamic range. Dynamic range is what's letting me grab that crack right there. That up from the shadows. If this was not shot in log, this look would be baked in as in this is the look of the image and everything in that shadow would be completely gone, you would not be able to recover it. But because this was shot in log, and they captured all of this data, I can go in and create a window and pull that up. Again what I'm seeing it's a little bit messy, grainy. It'll be noticeable as a window, so I'm actually going to delete this, go here to the first one and I'm going to create something called a parallel node. I'm going to hit Option P, or you can go into add parallel node. Again, Option P is easier. Let me clean this up a little bit. What a parallel node does as it's called? Think of this little dot here, this little square as the original camera image. This is not the original first adjustment. This is what's on the camera memory card, what's on your hard drive, and then this is the first adjustment that's done to it, and then this is the next generation of adjustment, the next-generation, etc until I'm done to generation five or you're just stacking these different adjustments one on top of the other which is fine, but when you're trying to pull things from the shadows for example, you typically want to go to the original source image which is this. Which is why I created a parallel node, and it's called parallel because it is making adjustments at the same level as this primary, and then this last node that I added these two are on the same level and they're adjusting the source image at the same exact time on the same generation. You could say versus this one which is actually going through one, two, three, four, five different levels or generations of quality if you want to put it that way. By doing this, I'm getting a cleaner window. I'm going to try this, and again this is very dark, so we're just again playing with this. Option D turns everything off. Here we go. I'm just going to position this. I only want to see there the crack so I'm going to start here and let's see what this does. I'm just going to gently raise the shadows here, two points. This obviously see it's already showing probably too much so I'm going to drop this back. I just wanted to be very subtle, almost subconscious. See it's there we go. Now we're getting somewhere. You can see it there, and then I'm going to do the mids maybe one point here. Honestly, it may not go any further than that. Also for the record, I would usually maybe do more of like a shape or something but I'm showing you here one of the quicker ways to do this. I think you'll get the idea. You could go in there and draw a nice little shape to grab all of this, maybe some of this, or another way to do this which I actually might do instead is I'm going to actually do this whole wall and feather this and bring it back. Now I'm going to go fullscreen. Command F add. Anyway, I honestly think I probably like no crack. I'm just going to actually leave it off. But again, that's what we're doing. We're just messing around with the image. This is what you do as a colorist. You play with the image, you bring out this, you might bring out this arm chair, all these little details before you know it, help you craft an image that looks beyond simply doing a primary grade because what most people do, is they do what's the equivalent of a primary? Where they just make one universal adjustment to the image and then they're done. That's all they did to the image, and then it doesn't look that great. Again, I'm going to go quickly through this guy here. Again, option D, we went from here, looks good. This is the color boost, looks good. Background, looks good, this we don't need, delete. This is actually the highlight of the face, so I'm actually just going to rotate it for him and shift it again to do that, I'm going to reshape it for him. Shift it to turn it on full screen. I like that. What I want to do too, I really want to see his eyes, so now, I'm actually going to sharpen. Well, looks like already did sharpen it, but I'm going to sharpen it more. I sharpen it on the other guy. Here, I want to see a little bit. Actually, that's better. That's how the image originally was. It helps see the beads of sweat and everything too. Scrape, the grain, looks great. This is the blur effect. I'm going to remove that. Then again, this is the final polish, and want to keep him on the brighter side, so I'm going to delete that, and again, just to wrap up, soon, you can see how we go into building a look. It starts off with how the image was shot, and then we'd go from the primaries, to the secondaries and make these small adjustments, which as they say, small things make a huge difference. This is a good example of one. A lot of people would probably stop here on this image. Also on top of that, maybe an image is not shot this well, and just by creating these additional effects, it helps take your film to a different level that looks more systematic and more polished. Now I'm going to take something like this before we wrap up. Completely different look. This probably was not meant to be cinematic at all, like this. Completely different look, I'm going to attempt to make this look cinematic. Again, I've never touched, this is actually just raw footage. This is a raw read file that's stock footage that they have and I'm going to try to do that. The first thing I see about this image is that it's too bright. Most images that you want to look more like a movie, they're not this bright, and it's also a very wide unfocused shot where obviously this is a focus, that's a focus. But we're going to help make this look a little bit more cinematic. What I'm going to do in my primary adjustment is the first thing we'll do is darken this touch. Overall, this image looks pretty good and it was obviously well shot. That darkness level again, this all comes to taste. I'm going to then make this look a little darker here at the mid tones here, and then the lift or shadows, want to bring it down and touch. Again if you're not familiar with these terms here, I would say, not to do a plug here, but my other course intro to an introduction with a pro colorist, I actually go over all of the different terms in the interface that can gain, gamma, lift, contrast, highlights shadows. If you want to check that out, maybe this will make a little bit more sense if you're not familiar with Lift, gamma, gain, or you could call them shadows, mid tones, highlights but I think you get the point that I'm just making this a little bit darker and moodier. See, already you're seeing the original image, and now I'm going to increase the contrast. Again, this is all just playing with it, so I'm going to do this. What I'm looking at by the way, is the shadows in the highlights all at once. Then I'm going to use this tool here called Pivot, which what it pivots is the contrast level. For example, as I started adjusting, it's a way of fine tuning the contrast, where the contrast is you could say, a more rough adjustment of the contrast. Pivot is where you fine tune the contrast. I'm going to do this. This is just the primary, I'm going from this to this. Next thing I'm going to do is I'm going to reframe this shot because this is too wide, I'm going to create a second node. Go here to our sizing palette, and I'm going to zoom in, especially on the reds, so I know I have the latitude. Actually I want that out and I really zoom in. In a typical film you would be surprised how much things are re-framed and re-cropped for a lot of different reasons. It may just be that it was intentional that you shot a little extra wide and you meant to re-frame it and pose or sometimes it's just an issue of like, once you see your shot after it's cut, you realize it. For story purposes or for edit purposes, you may need something a little bit tighter. For here, I'm just re-framing her a little bit there. I'll just do that. Again I could play with it forever. We'll just call this the primary adjustment that we did this and then we cropped it. We re-frame the shot a little bit. I have an issue with her face it's again not sharp enough. I'm just going to create a window right here. Shift H to see what I'm adjusting and I can do two things too. That's too much. This is a very strong tool by the way, just a little bit goes a long way. You see because her eyes are a little soft. I'm just going to do that there. Actually, I'm going back to the primary. I'm going to actually cool this off a little bit. Somewhere going into color temperature. Again, typically something that looks cinematic is not so warm and vibrant. Right now that image looks very much like a typical video image and I'm trying to take that away, some cooling this off. We started here, we're going here and I'm really going to create a look. I'm going to really push this like that. You can see is turned to look like something and we have them going to maybe push the contrast again. It's all a matter of taste. Make it very contrast and I'm actually going to desaturate a little bit. I'm really just making this book up as I go because typically when you have Story and everything else to go with it, that helps. But I'm just making something that looks good. Then these highlights up here are bothering me a little bit. Now I am going to do that as a secondary option S to create an additional node or again, the slower way to go up here and click on that and highlights HL right here, is when you want to just adjust the brighter parts of the image like light bulbs and reflections and that thing. I'm going take that and that's too much obviously. You can see that because this image was not meant to look cinematic, It wasn't a shot that way intentionally, it takes more work to get there, which again goes back to preparing ahead of time and shooting things a certain way to make it seem this easy. This will never look like this because it wasn't shot with that mindset. This again, a situation where they probably turned on the camera, picked certain aperture because there were during a grammar test and that's what this is. We're trying to make a camera test look cinematic and we're going to see how far we can go with it. But again, by knowing those cinematic traits and knowing that a movie that might be typically a low key darker, how certain contrast levels look, a certain shadows levels look and really knowing different things that you can fine tun, like the depth of field, refracting, the lighting levels, the color temperatures, all these things you can know to push you in a direction to make it look a little bit better. I'm going to try something now because I really want to focus on. I'm now going to make a vignette, add softness here. Again, I am only darkening the outside, so I'm going to make it a little bit of a vignette. I think we're getting somewhere. As you can see already, calling this a cinematic image is much more accurate than this, which is where we started. It's bright, it's soft, it's very orange, it almost looks over lit in comparison, compared to something a little bit more like this. I sharpen that now I want to bring it up just a touch. Her face pops a little with highlights. We go and then here, because this is a stationary shot but it isn't moving, I'm going to maybe draw a little window here. Again, I don't want to make this super, I want to say, accurate because that's not how a lens does background blur, so I'm going to do this rough window here. Shift H, softness and then click here to do the outside. I'm going to now go to blur that a little bit. I've suddenly changed the depth of field a little bit. This was distracting, now it's not as distracting. Let's see how far we can push it. Maybe much anyway, that's just a matter of taste. I'll just say leave it here. Then I will as last thing, again, we could stay on forever. I'm going to do a little bit of grain and I'm just going to add just 50 percent and see what that looks like. Full screen. I can go with little more. I'm just going to go to 100 so you can see it because I know that if you're viewing this online, sometimes it takes a lot of grain to be able to see it. Maybe a little too much but it may be fine. Anyway, I think you get the general idea. Again, let me undo all this. We started here, we re-framed the shot because also remember we were here. Wide shot doesn't really have a focus. We re-framed and then we did primary adjustment, additional primaries with the highlights, window vignette, sharp interface and brought it up depth of field. I really go in depth of field adjustment and grain. There you go. You've see that we have done a lot of stuff. 10. Outro: Okay, so that's our course. I want to thank you so much for taking it. I hope you learned a ton in this course, and I just want to say a few more things before we wrap up. Remember that whenever you're trying to grade a film, whenever you're trying to make it look more polished, whether this is going for the cinematic look or anything else, remember that it always about a collaborative effort. It's about the colors, it's about the DP, it's about the director. The best way to get the best look that you want for your film is to communicate with the creative forces, the DP, the director, anyone else that you can think of that can bring something to the table. Any of the projects that have always come out the best that I've ever graded, that I've always been, the projects where I sit in a room with a director of photography, with the director. We try different things. We experiment. We might start off at point B and end up with something very different. It's really about remembering that it's about the story, what can I do to make the story better, not necessarily what's the coolest look, or the hippest look, or something that's popular at the time. If you want it be the type of colorist that creates original looks that maybe sets certain trends or that have people walk up to you and say, oh, how did you do this, how did you create this, how did you create that. That typically comes from experimenting, trying different things, knowing your lenses, knowing the history of film, knowing why certain looks are popular and why they're not. This will help you become a much more successful colorist in your career.