Today I’ve been working on the fine colour grade for The Brother Code, as some of the feedback in the test screenings online was that the scenes looked too uncoordinated, which was fair as the rough cut was yet to be graded.
I feel that the colour grading process has been the most laborious of the whole film, even worse than the audio grading (which was actually enjoyable) as every little aspect had to be rendered in order to watch, and the rendering for the whole film in the end took over 15 hours. I don’t think I’d want to be a colour grader as a professional job as I don’t have the eye for colours, judging what I feel looks best but then changing two minutes later as scenes don’t correlate or look slightly out in colour temperature.
What’ve i’ve essentially done to the whole film is gone through and white balanced each scene properly, as some were terribly yellow or green. Then lightened each to coincide with the ‘cheerful’ tone of the black comedy, however leaving some scenes darker to match the tone in the conversations such as the aggressive scenes 24 and 6, and then i’ve saturated the exterior locations quite a lot to pull out the colours in order to get the best from them possible.
It’s been hard doing this as I’ve had to use roughly 5-10 separate colorisation filters for each clip, and graded each clip individually through the whole film, adjusting each filter to match properly. This wasn’t hard overall as some scenes utilised the same shots, so it was a matter of getting one set of filters done then applying it to multiple shots of the same lighting/angle, however some scenes took a long time such as exteriors which were too overexposed and blown out in detail so I had to overcompensate for that with sharpening filters and saturation/contrast. The colourisation has also taught me more as a filmmaker, that we could have played with the camera settings more to bring out those colours during production, or some scenes should have been shot with/without lights or weren’t colour balanced properly, which has caused problems in the edit and spurred me to ensure it is done properly in the future to save this hassle for future productions, which has benefitted not only my knowledge as an editor but also that as a filmmaker.
I feel that reflecting back on it, I could have done more in the production process to ensure that colour grading was easier, as I didn’t constantly white balance the camera or even forgot in some places. I also feel that some scenes were also overexposed and this is mine and the DoP’s fault, so there are some definite details I need to be aware of in the future when shooting. Despite this, I feel that my abilities as a colour grader have grown more throughout this process as I’ve gotten the knack for spotting slight off tones in the edges or shots that don’t perfectly match, such as yellows around the corners or too much blue in the skin tones. I also feel that my abilities as a grader are only so good, as I have basic Final Cut Pro filters to work with, and don’t have a clear or professional knowledge of how to create a cinematic look or shots of professional quality, so I’m just grading scenes that look good by my own eye, which couldn’t be good at all. I feel this could be a downfall for the production in the end, so I am going to focus more on the grading for the next two weeks, however I feel confident that the current fine grade is of a submission standard.