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Looking For Advice and Critique on Color Grading

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Tom Ramble
Looking For Advice and Critique on Color Grading
on Dec 20, 2011 at 3:26:45 pm

Hi everyone,

I recently finished editing a Montage film about Colombia as practice, and would like some constructive critique on my color grading and editing (or anything else really, especially the cinematography, framing etc)
I think I really need to work on creating more depth within some shots.

You can view it on Youtube ( 1080p
Or on Vimeo ( 720p (Vimeo Version is embedded)

This is a montage of footage I shot during 2010 and 2011.
It was shot entirely on the canon 60D (with old Zeiss lenses) along the Caribbean Coast of Colombia (including the desert in Cabo de la Vela, the jungle in Tayrona National Park, and the Carnival in Barranquilla). Most of the footage is shot handheld, or using a homemade rig.
I edited and graded in FFC Pro X and removed some noise with Red Giant Denoiser in After Effects. (is there anyway to stop the Denoiser producing errors and putting frames out of order while rendering?)

I learned a lot for the whole process but would like some feed back. After spending quite a bit of time on the editing I started to loose objectivity. Perhaps some shots are over saturated?

Please let me know what you think!!!

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Todd Terry
Re: Looking For Advice and Critique on Color Grading
on Dec 20, 2011 at 5:44:57 pm

Hey Tom that's really nice... quite good work.

I can't really find hardly anything to criticize at all... but since you asked for feedback I'll give you a little.

Really the ONLY thing that even remotely made me take a critical notice were just one or two fast-moving shots where you had a high-shutter speed that made the images look a bit "stuttery." That's one of the problems with DSLR shooting, of course... it's easy to let the camera jack up shutter speeds to compensate for overexposure. But that was just a couple of shots at most.. most of the shutter speeds looked good.

As for just a couple of other observations, the editing pace was just a TAD slow for my taste... I'd have cut it just a smidge faster, but that's just me. I have no attention span. It's probably fine for the rest of the world.

I thought your finishing and grading was just fine. As you pointed out, there might be a few shots that could be desaturated a bit... I remember some early in the piece (beach scenes) that I thought were just a bit too saturated. Then again, there was the street dancing near the end that was SUPER saturated, yet I thought that completely worked there. It's a fine line. Also... keep in mind, I think that your saturation levels are probably fine for any time this is viewed on a computer screen... but if it were ever broadcast anywhere (or just viewed on a real TV monitor, especially a CRT), then you might be over-saturated... just based on my eyeballs, I'm betting that some of the saturation is outside "legal" color levels (especially the reds looks like they might be outside of limits). Then again, if it's just staying on Vimeo, it's not an issue.

While I was watching, I kept thinking "Hmm I hope he's using legal music," and after seeing the music credited at the end I'm sure you are. There's been a huge crackdown of late on lots of folks (especially wedding videographers) getting clobbered by the music labels for illegally using their music.

Great job.


Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.

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Tom Ramble
Re: Looking For Advice and Critique on Color Grading
on Dec 20, 2011 at 6:03:53 pm

Wow. I´m glad I jumped on this forum. Thanks Todd for spending the time giving great feedback that I needed. I also think you are right about the pacing. I will do a re-edit and try to cut out a couple of minutes. The thing I struggle with is keeping some sort progression throughout the short. (its certainly no narrative film, but I was trying to have a kind of ´journey´feel throughout.)

I am very new to the world of color, so I really paid no attention to legal broadcasting levels. Although from here on out I´ll try to, in case someone wants to actually broadcast any of my work (heres hoping). I´m glad you thought the Saturation was fitting for the final Carnival sequence, as that was one of the few conscious decisions I made, the rest were on instinct and gut.

This is my first film and I feel overwhelmed by how much there is to learn and practice. Which is why at times I forgot to quickly set the shutter speed accurately after shooting some photos. It seems simple enough but I found myself forgetting basic things while rushing to get a shot before it was too late. Thanks for the reminder, I´ll add it to my mental checklist of things to do before pressing the red button.

Thanks Again Todd.

P.s. Yes I grabbed a non-commercial music license from the new Vimeo Music store

My Production Website

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