Color Grading: From Just OK to Stunning

Color Grading.

Is it really necessary?

Colorgrade differenceHeck yea! Have you ever watched a short film where the production crew boasted that the it was shot on the RED or Alexa. Maybe you’ve watched corporate, talking head industrials where they were shot on DSLRs or Canon 100 or 300. Often times when the budget is low, post production suffers. The sound design and a color treatment are the first to go, not to mention proper lighting(a whole different blog). You might notice the color is off, skin tone is flat, the lighting is jarring, the blacks are gray, there is too much noise in the shadows to say the least. Or they shot it in raw and did absolutely nothing to it. That made me cry. The content is there but the picture’s quality doesn’t move you.

  • A good colorist can make your footage match perfectly  from shot to shot.
  • They can bring your project to life and make it look it’s best (imagine a brand new fitted suit)
  • Can add effects like denoising and color corrections on skin tone
  • Bring images to life

Still confused? Watch this film by icolorist

What does a color treatment even cost in a project? That depends. We usually budget $350 a day, as it can take up to 3 days for a 3-5 minute video. Even if you can’t afford a professional color grading artist (which we recommend you should anyway) there are more LUT and color filter plug-ins nowadays than you can shake a stick at.


“If your customer or audience matters and you want to increase the quality of your work, you’ll grade it regardless of the budget.”


Our Director of Photography and Colorist work closely together before things even get shot. They collaborate with the Producer on the lighting based on the color palette they want to see for the final piece. We usually shot in raw or Slog to give us the most information we can possibly get for color-manipulation later.  Our Colorist typically works with the Director and Producer to find out what color treatment they want by using color palette’s for film.

Take for instance our latest project ‘No Hiding Place’. The color scheme is a cross between Fight Club and 12 Years a Slave. True Grit was an option but the Director thought the palette lacked strong golds and greens.

12 years a slave color grade

It matters. If your customer or audience matters and you want to incrfight club color gradeease the quality of your work, you’ll grade it regardless of the budget. No one will hire you for stunning colorful work if all you have in your reel is untreated industrials. Get to it.