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Stylizing a hot location with color grading

From: The Art of Color Correction: Color Grading for Locations and Times of Day

Video: Stylizing a hot location with color grading

Changing the warm colors in a shot can also help us to identify how we feel about that particular location. I'm going to open Looks on this first clip which was shot in Venice. And I can use a 3 Way Color Corrector . Here we go. To move the highlights towards the yellow that the sun typically gives off, or rather the yellow light that's influenced by the sun's position at different times of day.

Stylizing a hot location with color grading

Changing the warm colors in a shot can also help us to identify how we feel about that particular location. I'm going to open Looks on this first clip which was shot in Venice. And I can use a 3 Way Color Corrector . Here we go. To move the highlights towards the yellow that the sun typically gives off, or rather the yellow light that's influenced by the sun's position at different times of day.

And then I can also extend or exaggerate the mood, how I feel about the warmth of this image, by increasing the oranges and mid-tones. The more you do this, the more you begin to stylize the colors in the image and the more you begin to talk to the audience in terms of how you want them to feel about the shot. Just these two corrections have a much warmer feel to them. You can just feel the extra warmth if you were sitting in Venice in these lighting conditions.

But many filmmakers extend this stylizing to actually make a distinct separation between two locations to communicate what characters are doing to the audience. On my next clip, I've got a scene in rural Wiltshire, close to where I live, which was shot on a late spring day and it's very English. And what I want to demonstrate is how you can use these color correction techniques to make it seem as if this was a completely different country. And I'll select this clip and open up Looks. In Steven Soderbergh's Traffic movie, there's a very interesting look that he applies to the scenes set in Mexico, that makes them very distinct from the scenes that are set in the United States. And he does this by stylizing the colors, over exposing the highlights and messing around a lot with the contrast of the image.

So I'm going to replicate this as much as I can inside magic bullet looks. Firstly I'm going to take a curves tool put, it at the beginning of the chain and flatten the contrast slightly by reducing the highlights and increasing the shadows. And then I'll take a colorist, three way tool and increase the warmth in the highlights to simulate the sunshine and then also increase the warmth in the mid-tones to emphasize the warm mood. And at the same time bring down the contrast in the shadows. I'll also overexpose the highlights and some of the mid-tones. So, we've got a really over exposed sky.

Since I'm playing with the highlights, it's always a good thing to get an Auto Shoulder tool from the post section, which rounds down the highlights. So I'm keeping my image legal, by staying under 100% digital. I'll also desaturate, some of these colors, in the mid-tones. Desaturating the mid tone and also the shadows. And then use a curves tool to re-bring alive this look, make it seem much more stylized and Mexican. I'm going to target the red mid-tones, bring those up, increase the contrast. Increase some of the reds in the shadows and then bring down the blues in the shadows and the greens.

This stylized look was very successful, the only in separating the two locations but also echoing the circumstances that were happening on screen in the Mexican scenes. But it's very effective to actually separate this from rural Wiltshire to somewhere much warmer. You can further stylize images like this to make suggestions that you're in a completely different location on another planet. For example, if we grab a Warm, Cool tool, position it towards the end of the tool chain, and then change the reds and the whole dominance of the image to be very stylized to suggest you're on an alien planet.

Perhaps Mars, in this case. Of course Color Corrections like these are contextual with the story you're telling and also what you're actually depicting on screen. So, whether or not we actually have grass in a mashion shot is entirely up to your particular story. But, it's the effect you can apply to different scenes to stylize them, which is the important thing.

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  1. 4m 45s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. Telling a story with color
      2m 10s
    3. Using the exercise files
      48s
  2. 38m 20s
    1. What different colors tell the audience
      1m 6s
    2. How our eyes see color
      5m 12s
    3. Making sure color is consistent across multiple clips in a sequence
      4m 54s
    4. Understanding the correct order to apply color correction adjustments
      7m 43s
    5. Working with Premiere Pro and the Colorista II plugin
      7m 55s
    6. Working with Premiere Pro and Magic Bullet Looks
      7m 21s
    7. Making contrast, lighting, and mood changes: A general rule of thumb
      4m 9s
  3. 25m 13s
    1. Understanding how cool color frames emotion
      7m 39s
    2. Stylizing a cold location with color grading
      3m 18s
    3. Understanding how warm color frames emotion
      3m 16s
    4. Stylizing a hot location with color grading
      4m 40s
    5. Isolating and adjusting skies
      6m 20s
  4. 28m 0s
    1. Changing the times of day with color
      50s
    2. Creating an early morning look
      5m 24s
    3. Creating a midday look
      2m 36s
    4. Creating an afternoon look
      3m 46s
    5. Creating an evening look
      2m 34s
    6. Composing a day-for-night shot
      7m 28s
    7. Creating a flashback look
      5m 22s
  5. 17m 17s
    1. Changing colors to match the mood of the story
      28s
    2. Stylizing an office scene
      2m 31s
    3. Creating a bedroom color style
      2m 20s
    4. Designing a hospital look
      3m 13s
    5. Stylizing a morgue shot
      2m 56s
    6. Coloring an interrogation scene
      5m 49s
  6. 9m 26s
    1. Separating characters from the background
      44s
    2. Creating fake depth of field in Magic Bullet Looks
      2m 51s
    3. Creating fake depth of field in Colorista II
      5m 51s
  7. 3m 6s
    1. Next steps
      3m 6s

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