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Vintage Looks – Part 4

For the last of the vintage look series, we’ll work on a moody, rich red look. We’ll start with this base shot:

The balanced base image.

The balanced base image.

Our first step is to crunch the miss – we want a darker, moody look, and the mids are the first place to hit:

Darken the shot.

Darken the shot.

Adjusting the mids/gamma is the way to go.

Adjusting the mids/gamma is the way to go.

Next, we’ll try to pull some shadow detail back in by lifting the blacks:

Reclaim some of that shadow detail. Look specifically at the jacket detail.

Reclaim some of that shadow detail. Look specifically at the jacket detail.

Adjustments for the shadows.

Adjustments for the shadows.

We’re going to be fighting for detail in the shadows the whole time with this look, so keep an eye out for that – you want the shot dark but not completely crushed.

Next we’ll raise the highlights up:

Make the milk and the shirt look white enough.

Make the milk and the shirt look white enough.

Adjustments for the above.

Adjustments for the above.

Now we’ll start pushing some color into the shot. We want a rich red look, and the shadows are the best place to push that red without affecting the skintones too much:

Red in the shadows gets the hue across without making the subject look sunburnt.

Red in the shadows gets the hue across without making the subject look sunburnt.

A little does a lot...

A little does a lot…

We’ll push a warm tone into the highlights to enhance the red but still keep the skintones in acceptable ranges:

Warm the shot up a bit more.

Warm the shot up a bit more.

Just a little...

Just a little…

We’ll use the mids to pull the shot back (standard push-pull technique) a little cooler, primarily focusing on the jacket – we want some color separation from the booth:

Pull a little of the warmth out, but not too much.

Pull a little of the warmth out to get the jacket looking a little cooler for separation.

Some blue/cyan does the trick.

Some blue/cyan does the trick.

We’ve got our separation, but we lost some of the red in the shadows. We’ll push the shadows  a little warmer, but we want a tighter influence without spilling into the mids. So, switch over to the Log color wheels and push the shadows into the warm hues:

Warm the shot up again.

Warm the shadows up again.

A little warmth in the shadows.

A little warmth in the shadows.

Then cool the mids again :)

The Log color wheels affect a narrower tonal range with less overlap.

The Log color wheels affect a narrower tonal range with less overlap.

Adjustments for the above.

Adjustments for the above.

The shot just isn’t quite warm enough, so we’ll push the whole shot warmer in the offset control:

Warm the whole shot.

Warm the whole shot.

The offset affects the image as a whole. It's great for white balancing, but good for this too...

The offset affects the image as a whole. It’s great for white balancing, but good for this too…

No we need to do a major fix for this shot: the milk is yellow. Who wants to drink yellow milk?

We’ll pull a key/qualifier:

The key matte

The key matte

The key settings.

The key settings

And put a window around the glass to restrict any spill (I also tracked it as his hand moved…)

The milk window

The milk window

Settings for the window

Settings for the window

All we need to do to “fix” the milk is push the offset towards the cooler hues:

Yay! White milk!

Yay! White milk!

It took a pretty big adjustment to make it look white.

It took a pretty big adjustment to make it look white.

Our last step in Resolve is going to be a vignette around our subjects:

The window placement. Notice it's not centered in the shot, but placed around our subjects near the top.

The window placement. Notice it’s not centered in the shot, but placed around our subjects near the top.

Settings for the vignette.

Settings for the vignette.

First we’ll crush the blacks a little:

Darken the edges

Darken the edges

Blacks first.

Blacks first.

Then we’ll lower the mids too:

We want it pretty moody, so it's a strong vignette.

We want it pretty moody, so it’s a strong vignette.

Adjustments for the above.

Adjustments for the above.

Last up, we’ll raise the highlights a bit so the table doesn’t get too dark:

The final shot from Resolve

The final shot from Resolve

Raise the whites a bit.

Raise the whites a bit.

Here’s the final node structure in Resolve:

The first node is the primary balancing. The second is the look. the third is the milk fix, and the fourth is the vignette.

The first node is the primary balancing. The second is the look. the third is the milk fix, and the fourth is the vignette.

Like all of the previous looks, I took this shot into After Effects and added some Cinegrain goodness, letterboxed the shot, and ended up with this:

The final image.

The final image.

Attached is the Resolve PowerGrade for this look. Append it after your first node (this PowerGrade does not include the first “balancing” node in the image above), don’t forget to adjust the first node you already had to balance  your specific shot. As usual, feel free to use this look in your projects all you want, but please don’t share or distribute this preset. Instead, send them here to get it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this vintage looks series! Let me know what other types of looks you’d like to see a series on in the comments. It just might happen!


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Vintage Looks – Part 3

For part 3 of this vintage looks series, we’re going to look at a cross-processed look. A quick Google search of “cross process” gets the general idea across: green shadows, red or yellow midtones/highlights. We’re not going to to quite as extreme as these reference images, but the basis is there. We’ll start with this image:

The balanced base image

The balanced base image

Our first step is to really darken this shot. We’ll start by lowering the mids a good bit:

Start to darken the shot

Start to darken the shot

Gamma first.

Gamma first.

We want to keep a little of the shadow detail though, so we’ll raise the blacks a little:

Get some of that shadow detail back.

Get some of that shadow detail back.

Adjustments for the above.

Adjustments for the above.

Now we’ll finish darkening the shot by lowering the highlights:

The darkness will add some good mood to the shot.

The darkness will add some good mood to the shot.

Lowering the highlights.

Lowering the highlights.

Now we’ll create a new node. With this particular look, it seemed like a good idea to separate contrast and color adjustments into separate nodes. For that cross-process look, we want to start with the green in the shadows:

Lots of green...

Lots of green…

It's more of a cyan-green than a yellow-green.

It’s more of a cyan-green than a yellow-green.

As you can see, our production design helped us a good bit on this particular look.

Now we’ll push some warm tones into the highlights:

This brings the skintones back into acceptable ranges.

This brings the skintones back into acceptable ranges.

We're pushing an orange-red hue.

We’re pushing an orange-red hue.

We’ll finish off the cross-process look by pushing some yellow tones into the mids:

Warm up the skintones a bit more.

Warm up the skintones a bit more.

A fair amount pushed in.

A fair amount pushed in.

Now we’ll add a new node for a vignette. It’s going to be a pretty intense vignette, and we’ll have it centered on our subject instead of centered on the shot. Here are the settings I used:

Centered on the two subjects.

Centered on the two subjects.

Settings for the window.

Settings for the window.

Now that we have our window set, the first ting we’ll do is darken the shadows:

The vignette will amp up the moodiness of the shot.

The vignette will amp up the moodiness of the shot.

Settings for the above.

Settings for the above.

We’ll crunch the mids as well:

Even darker and moodier...

Even darker and moodier…

Lower the mids...

Lower the mids even more than we lowered the highlights.

We will raise the highlights a little, just so we can get a good shine from the candles on the left:

The final shot from Resolve.

The final shot from Resolve.

Raise the highlights

Raise the highlights

Here’s the final node tree:

The first node is the balancing, the second is the contrast adjustments, the third is the cross process look, and the fourth is the vignette.

The first node is the balancing, the second is the contrast adjustments, the third is the cross process look, and the fourth is the vignette.

Worth noting: You can see by the numbering that I made the vignette node before the look. I have a habit of creating a blank vignette node pretty close to the start of the look, but not touching it until the last step. I don’t know why, it’s just a habit :)

Just like the previous two looks, I brought the shot from Resolve into After Effects for letter-boxing and film grain from my Cinegrain package:

The final shot.

The final shot.

Attached is the Resolve PowerGrade for this look. Append it after your first node (this PowerGrade does not include the first “balancing” node in the image above), don’t forget to adjust the first node you already had to balance  your specific shot. As usual, feel free to use this look in your projects all you want, but please don’t share or distribute this preset. Instead, send them here to get it.


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Blue_Banner

Vintage Looks – Part 2

Okay, part 2 of the vintage look series is here! This is going to be a clipped, blue look. No Bigfoot this time, but he’ll be back in the next look.

We’ll start with this image:

The already-balanced starting shot

The already-balanced starting shot

The first thing we need to do for this look is hard-clip the shadows and highlights. There are a couple ways to do this, but adjusting the luminance curve is best since it leaves us free to adjust our other tools without interference. Add a hard stop to the shadows using the curves. It took an extra point to make it a harsher clip:

Clipped shadows

Clipped shadows (most noticeably in the oven and hair).

Hard clipped shadows in the luminance curve.

Hard clipped shadows in the luminance curve.

Now we’ll do the same thing in the highlight range:

Clipped highlights

Clipped highlights (most noticeable in the white shirt).

Again, it took an extra point to make it harsher.

Again, it took an extra point to make it harsher.

Now, we want to really screw with the saturation to give it a faded look, but not all over. Switch to the Hue vs. Saturation curves, and really bring down the blues and surrounding tones, like this;:

It really knocks down the blue scrubs, but you can notice the effects elsewhere too.

It really knocks down the blue scrubs, but you can notice the effects elsewhere too.

It's a harsher transition to the red range, and a smoother transition to the green/yellow range.

It’s a harsher transition to the red range, and a smoother transition to the green/yellow range.

Now we’ll starting pushing some color around. We know we want this to be a blue look, so switch to the Log color wheels and push some blue into the offset:

A little overall blue to get us started.

A little overall blue to get us started.

A little blue in the offset.

A little blue/cyan in the offset.

Now that we’ve got a hue-base to work with, we’ll start tweaking it a little. Back in the 3 Way Color Wheels, we want to cool the shadows before we warm up the highlights. A little blue in the shadows:

Just a little does the trick.

Just a little does the trick.

Adjustments for the above.

Adjustments for the above.

Now we’ll use the highlights to bring the image back to a (somewhat) more natural tone in the walls and shirt:

Warm up the highlights

Warm up the highlights

Adjustments for the above.

Adjustments for the above.

Okay, here things get a little unusual. We’re going to push the image further out of whack in the mids:

Yes, they are purple. I know, I know.

Yes, they are purple. I know, I know.

Some blue in the mids

Some blue in the mids

Now switch back to the Log Color Wheels and we’ll pull some of that back. Why in the Log wheels? They have clearer distinctions between tones, so we can pull it back without affecting the other areas as much:

Better?

Better?

A little warmth in the mids.

A little warmth in the mids.

We’ll add some warmth to the highlights in the Log Color Wheels too:

Warmer.

Warmer.

A little orange.

Some orange in the highlights

Now for a vignette. This one will use a different set of adjustments than I usually use for vignettes. Here are the window settings I used:

Not nearly as soft as I usually do, but this is intentional.

Not nearly as soft as I usually do, but this is intentional.

Settings for the vignette window.

Settings for the vignette window.

Another change besides the softness is that we’ll stay in the Log wheels instead of doing the adjustments in the 3 Way wheels; we want that  that harsher tone separation. We’re going to drop the highlights a bit:

Darken the highlights.

Darken the highlights.

Not again that this uses the Log Color Wheels.

Note again that this uses the Log Color Wheels.

Then we’ll lower the mids:

Last step in Resolve...

Last step in Resolve…

Lower the mids...

Lower the mids…

Here’s what the final node tree ended up looking like:

Node 1: Balance. Node 2: Look. Node 3: Vignette.

Node 1: Balance. Node 2: Look. Node 3: Vignette.

From here, I took the shot to After Effects and added a specific grain from Cinegrain’s “Looks” collection, and ended up with this as the final:

The final image, with a letterbox and film grain.

The final image, with a letterbox and film grain.

It’s worth noting that this look does some weird things with the skintones that you wouldn’t normally do. However, this look is designed to emulate an aged, over-processed, deteriorating film stock, so “correct” skintones would have faded with aging. It’s specific to this project’s “world”, but it works and cuts well with the rest of the piece.

Attached is the Resolve PowerGrade for this look. Append it after your first node (this PowerGrade does not include the first “balancing” node in the image above), don’t forget to adjust the first node you already had to balance  your specific shot. As usual, feel free to use this look in your projects all you want, but please don’t share or distribute this preset. Instead, send them here to get it.


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Quick Tip: ND Your Screen

Okay, here’s a quick tip I was reminded of when Juan Salvo asked on Twitter about finding a GUI monitor that looked half-decent with the brightness turned all the way down.

I saw that and remembered  something pretty awesome I saw during my internship at EFILM: The GUI monitors in the grading theaters had a piece of ND gel over the screen. The idea behind it is this: In a dark grading environment, bright computer monitors can be hard to look at for long lengths of time, they stick out like a sore thumb in the room and can even distract the client depending on your room setup. Most people would tend to just lower the brightness on the monitor, but this causes other issues. Sometimes (Like in Juan’s case) even lowering the brightness all the way down isn’t enough. Also, lowering the brightness all the way down lowers the contrast of the monitor a ton, which makes it harder to look at (remember how contrast affects perceived sharpness? You want your GUI monitor sharp).

Putting ND gel over the monitor works better than lowering the brightness because it leaves the contrast of the monitor as is, and just decreases total light output. You get a dimmer screen that still looks sharp. It worked pretty well for Juan!

Here’s a pic he sent me showing how well it worked:

 

It's kinda hard to tell since the room is so dark, but if you look closely, you can see the reflections on the ND gel in front of the screen. It's pretty cool how dim this display is compared to the rest of the room (look at the bottom of the picture to see a comparison of something not black...).

It’s kinda hard to tell since the room is so dark, but if you look closely, you can see the reflections on the ND gel in front of the screen. It’s pretty cool how dim this display is compared to the rest of the room (look at the bottom of the picture to see a comparison of something not black…).

The only question on this is how to attach. At EFILM, they just cut the gel to fit the size of the monitor (note: not the size of the screen, the size of the monitor – it went all the way to the plastic edge, which made it appear cleaner) and just used scotch tape on the top two corners to attach. This let the gels be flipped over the back of the monitor if you wanted to see the screen at full brightness. Other suggestions have included getting one of those privacy screens and replacing the filter with the ND gel.

I hope that helps those of you that grade in dark colorist caves!

Faded Film Look.look

A Faded Film Look

The look for this post is one I worked up for fun a while back when I was working on a freelance piece. I didn’t end up using the look (I cooked it up just for fun; I was only doing the editing), but I saved it, and thought it would be fun to share. I did this look in SpeedGrade to give myself a new challenge. I won’t go into my thoughts on SpeedGrade in this post – I’m going to wait and see what changes they make when the “CC” version comes out in June before posting my thoughts.

Anyway, the purpose of this look is to create a vintage/yellowed/aged/faded 60’s or 70’s film feel. It would go really great with some Cinegrain or GorillaGrain, etc. Here’s the shot that we’ll be starting from:

Here’s the original waveform for reference. We’ll be using the waveform monitor for a few of the changes in this look:

The original image

The original image

The original waveform

The original parade. It’s a pretty good spread.

The first step is to lower the highlights pretty much all the way down, to give the appearance that the footage has faded:

Drop the highlights down.

Drop the highlights down.

Lower them almost all the way down. We really want them faded out.

Lower them almost all the way down. We really want them faded out.

Here's the parade for this step.

Here’s the parade for this step. Pretty squished.

Next, raise the mids to compensate until the majority of the highlights rest at around 70IRE on the waveform:

Raise the mids to make the image around a "normal" brightness.

Raise the mids to make the image around a “normal” brightness.

To get the image to look good, we raised the mids almost all the way up.

To get the image to look good, we raised the mids almost all the way up.

The key isn't to raise the mids to a certain value, but to raise them until the "highlights" hit around 70IRE on the waveform, regardless of where they started.

The key isn’t to raise the mids to a certain value, but to raise them until the “highlights” hit around 70IRE on the waveform, regardless of where they started.

Now, lower the offset to crush the few remaining blacks. We’re looking for a really burnt/crushed shadow look here:

Crush the blacks. We want them a little burnt for this look, since we're simulating film that is deteriorating.

Crush the blacks. We want them a little burnt for this look, since we’re simulating film that is deteriorating.

Lower the blacks just a bit.

Lower the blacks just a bit.

We crush and clip them below 0IRE.

We crush and clip them below 0IRE.

After playing around with it for a bit, I decided that I wanted a little harsher contrast in the blacks, so I upped the contrast slider:

Crush the shadows more! We want a pretty hard diving line where the shadows start.

Crush the shadows more! We want a pretty hard diving line where the shadows start.

A small contrast adjustment.

A small contrast adjustment.

Then I lowered the pivot so that I kept the harsh shadow line, but less of the image was in the shadows:

We want the harsh shadows, but we want less of the image in shadow. This is a "faded" film look, not a "crushed" film look.

We want the harsh shadows, but we want less of the image in shadow. This is a “faded” film look, not a “crushed” film look.

It was a pretty large pivot adjustment.

It was a pretty large pivot adjustment.

Now for the colors! Push a ton of yellow/orange into the whites for that aged/yellowed look:

Yellow those highlights as much as you can.

Yellow those highlights as much as you can.

Yeah, that's all the color I can push in. We'll add more in a bit.

Yeah, that’s all the color I can push in. We’ll add more in a bit.

Push a little of the same hue into the shadows, but go easy. A little goes a long way in the shadows with this look:

Nice and warm.

Nice and warm.

A little goes a long way with the shadows in this look because of the extreme adjustments we've made.

A little goes a long way with the shadows in this look because of the extreme adjustments we’ve made to the image.

Cool the mids a little bit to compensate for all of this warmth we’re pushing in:

Cool it down just a tad.

Cool it down just a tad.

Just a little blue/cyan into the mids.

Just a little blue/cyan into the mids.

Raise the saturation just a bit to bring his skin tones back to a more normal range:

More saturation, mostly for the skintones.

More saturation, mostly for the skintones.

It's a small adjustment until the skintones look more natural and less ashen.

It’s a small adjustment until the skintones look more natural and less ashen.

Last step: go to the “Highlights” tab and push some warmth into the highlights again. This gives our highlights a definite color (yellow/orange) not just a “warm look”. We don’t want any pure white/grey in the brighter parts; this is what gives it a “faded” feel:

Yellow those highlights. A little pure (desaturated) white as possible.

Yellow those highlights. A little pure (desaturated) white as possible.

The temerature slider is the easiest way to do this.

The temerature slider is the easiest way to do this.

I hope you find this look useful. It’s definitely more of a utility/aggressive look than a beauty grade. I’ve attached the SpeedGrade preset export that you can download. It actually include the SG “Look” file as well as several formats of LUTs that I guess can be applied in other grading programs (with unknown success. I only tried this in SpeedGrade…). As usual, feel free to use this look in your projects all you want, but please don’t share or distribute this preset. Instead, send them here to get it.


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