Going back to Basics!

Today is the first day of going through colour grading basics with the famous colorist, Warren Eagles. Born British grew up in Australia and he has been doing color grading for all genres in film, like documentaries, films (both long and short forms), tvs, etc.

Anyway, learning back to basics gives me a fresh idea what Davinci Resolve can do  and how far you can push your skills in this software, now that is patch 12.5 which is amazing!

So far there are a few things that I want to remind myself and maybe its a good lesson to whomever is reading this for colorgrading skills. There are so many ways/methods to do you colour balanced.

Don’t just stick to one way, try them all and find which one suits you best. Always create several Nodes to begin your Primary (white balance) before getting a head start of mood grading. Despite whatever cool, stylish and expensive control panel hardwares you have got/bought, knowing your basics can save you loads of time.

Now, before you start always check you Project Settings, make sure you got the right technical specs like grading 1080p, 4k, camera formats, etc. Make sure you collect all the raw footages and look through the whole cut of the video. Understand whats happening in the video because as a colourist your not always fixing things, your telling a story too, through enhancing the visual moods. Like is this story romantic or horror or comedy, you have to deliver the right mood to tell the story and by doing so you need to know the video that your working on.

After watching all the footages, pay attention to all the footage clips and ask yourself,
“Is the image too green?”
“Is that sky too red?
“Is the the girl skin tone looks weird?”
“Are you sure the road looks black or grey?”

All these questions helps you to begin your color balance.

If lets say you try really hard to balance and your not sure if the skin tones are right, look at the surroundings of the image,

Is there a white wall?
Is it even white?

Once you focus on making that wall white or grey, you will get very accurate skin tones on your subjects. Make sure you are able to see the subjects facing towards you.

Play with the Gains, Lifts and Offset. If the image is too Red scroll the colour ball to the opposite which is the Blue or Cyan. If its too Green shift the ball to Purple. Keep playing until you get it right. Create separate Nodes for contrast and others.

Once your done with the white balance Grab Still the image into your Gallery and copy it to your images.

The other technical stuff which I still need time to get use to and digest is the matching frame from reference videos. I will update that soon once I have a clear idea how to write it simply and understanding how it works.

I’m enjoying so far for first day and looking forward to get to Master level skills. Here is the link about my mentor and his works:



Guillermo Del Toro Colour Moods

Pacific Rim.jpg

After watching this link video I’m sharing down below, I’m fascinated of looking back at Guillermo Del Toro’s films. I don’t really know much about his works until I’ve watched Pacific Rim, one of the totally most awesome giant robots fighting against classic Kaiju monsters inspired by Japanese monster movies.

After watching that movie I realised I have been watching some of his previous works such as Hell Boy, Pan’s Labyrinth and Blade 2. I also didn’t realise the colour mood he has been using repeatedly in each of his films to represent similar scenes and emotions. Not only that just by looking at the grade, check out the costumes and props that compliments the images to be so striking and contrast.

Example the RED shows different moods of what he wants you (the audience) to feel on what is about to happen, like ALARM, HORROR, ROMANCE, BLOOD, ANGER, PASSION, WELCOMING, PRIDE…. PREGNANT?

Holy crap so much information yet using the same colour.

Still not convince?

Let’s check out BLUE…


These mood mostly represents the danger too which most films keep using red or dark green to give that ghostly death approaches feel. But Del Toro mostly used this depth ocean blue which terrifies me just like my fear of swimming into the sea without able to see whats underneath me.


Interestingly, he also used a different kind of mood to present warmth which is YELLOW with a heavy contrast look for more emotional, personal and romantic scenes compared to RED.

Lastly in the video by combining all these elements made a beautiful contrast images in all his films. I mostly like the Yellow LED been used repeatedly from torch light to cool looking futuristic helmet. After watching this video link, we (filmmakers) have to start to pay more attention to our local films if we truly understand how to use these elements to boost in our storytelling both props, costumes and grading. Rather than just another enhance beautiful shots, fixed up images that had small pixel problems (like smudges, dead pixels, costume/prop that wasn’t suppose to be there) or colouring it to look like blockbuster film using simple Magic Lantern plug-ins. Its just lazy.

Anyway heres the link to the video and feel free to chat/comment what you guys think: