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  • Writer's pictureMarcelo Lewin

UCLA DIT Class Final Color Grading Project

On June 8th I turned in my final project for my DIT class at UCLA Extension. The project was to grade 8 different images based on particular looks the DP wanted. Below is what I turned in.


Image 01

Type: Red Raw


Assigned Look: This scene focuses on the main character’s angst against his parents. It should feel like an overcast day.


Look Explanation: Since the cinematographer wanted to focus on the guy and his thoughts (and anxiety), I wanted to cool down the entire image by introducing more blue, using lift-gamma-gain. Once I did that, I wanted to reintroduce some warmth into their skin to maintain the skin color. I also used power windows to both darken the guy’s right side (our left side) and added a vignette to place more focus on him and less on his friend. I also lowered the exposure over the entire image, but keeping his face exposed properly.


Original


Final Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree



Image 02

Type: Red Raw


Assigned Look: The action is about to happen, it needs to feel dark and mysterious, the character doesn’t know if he will survive this encounter.


Look Explanation: Because the DP wanted the entire scene to be mysterious and dangerous, I darkened it using the primary wheels tonal controls. I also added a green tint to it using the Primary Wheels. The flashlight plays a very important part in this scene so I emphasized it using a power window to distract the viewer of the impending danger ahead. I also added a “God Ray” to highlight his shoulder a bit more.


Original


Final Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree



Image 03

Type: DPX (Input transform set to Cineon Film Log)


Assigned Look: The sun is beginning to set on the beach (almost a “magic hour” look) and the girl is looking deeply into her mother’s eyes. There is a bit of a green spike in the image which needs to be removed.


Look Explanation: I started by adjusting the exposure of the entire image using Offset and a bit of Lift. After that, I removed the green tint and balanced the entire image. I then worked on the water color, as I knew since it’s close to magic hour, the water had to be a bit bluer (less green). On the sky side, I created a matte for the sky using multiple windows and a Luma qualifier. I then re-created a sunset sky (using an sunset image I liked in Shot Deck) by first creating a matte for the sky, then creating 3 nodes (that used that matte) to add blue, red and some white to the sky. I finalized the look with a Sky Glow and a vignette to bring attention to the people (away from the sky).


Original


Final Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree



Image 04

Type: Red RAW


Assigned Look: The guys are playing a competitive game, so the scene should feel bold, colorful and vibrant, but not too bright.


Look Explanation: After the standard exposure and contrast settings, I then lowered the exposure of the blinds using a qualifier (LUM) and a window around it to adjust it. Because they are competitive players, I added in the TV a slight “red light”, since most gamers usually have RGB lighting on their TVs. I also warmed them up quiet a bit using both “color boost” for the lowered saturated areas and then “saturation” to bring SAT up overall.


Original


Final Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree



Image 05

Type: Red RAW


Assigned Look: This is the closing shot of the movie, it should be memorable and beautiful. Enhance the warm, soft feeling of the room.


Look Explanation: I wanted to use the light coming through the curtains behind him in our favor to “enhance” the image with God “light rays”. I started with the traditional exposure, curves and contrast nodes (using LGG and Curves). I also brought up the exposure on his face a bit to get more detail. On the parallel nodes, I focused on the sun rays (using Light Rays OFX), Saturation and balance (using temp, Gamma and Gain to warm up the image by introducing a bit more of the reds). I ended the node tree with a power window that focused the light on him (an a countering power window to remove the light from underneath him) and a vignette.


Original


Final Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree



Image 06

Type: Red RAW


Assigned Look: It’s a comedic fantasy scene, so it should feel vibrant and energetic.


Look Explanation: After “speaking” with the DP, we decided that the inspiration for this movie would be Barbie. I used exposure to give it a “bright” airy look to it. After color balancing the image, there was a slight blue tint on her hair and his shoulder that the DP wanted to remove as it was a bit “harsh”. After we did that, though, the DP asked for some blue highly on her hair, which I added using a power Window. I finally used Dehancer Pro to give it a bit of film look (adding halation, bloom and some grain).


Original


Final Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree



Image 07

Type: Blackmagic RAW


Assigned Look: Take an image you have shot, or a frame from your favorite movie (note: image must contain skin tone), and create two different looks – one warm and one cool, while maintaining natural skin tones.


Look Explanation: For both looks, I fixed the exposure using the Offset tone. Then I adjusted the contrast using lift and gain, with minor adjustments of the gamma. Finally, I created a power window for the sky to bring down the exposure of the sky, which creating a “subtractive” window on her face to make sure none of her exposure was touched by that power window. For the warm look, I adjusted the overall temperature of the image to be warmer in the Primary wheels. To correct some of that warmth creeping into the darker areas, I used the HDR color wheels (dark) to adjust it back to black (no red in it). Finally, I used the color warper to target the skin areas and bring them back to normal. For the cool look, I used the color warper and combine all the points into a straight line to unify the overall look of the image. Then I rotated the hue towards the skin tone line. I then duplicated that node and went the opposite way and combined them(using a layer mixer) using the “softlight” composite mode.


Original


Warm Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree


Cool Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree




Image 08

Type: Blackmagic RAW


Assigned Look: You get to call the shots here! You are the cinematographer and must create your own desired look using post-production and/or image manipulation tools. The new look should be appropriate for the original image, and you should state why you decided on that look in the explanation paragraph.


Look Explanation: We need to denoise the image. It’s a bit noisy. I want a greenish tint on the cable car as it approaches the station, since in the next scene there is a green light we’ll cut to.


Original


Final Look


DaVinci Resolve Node Tree


What do you think about these looks?

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