July 14, 2013

Here's How You Can Give Your Film the Summer Blockbuster Look

If you've seen a big tentpole movie release in the last 5 years, there's a good chance the color grading has skewed heavily towards teal and orange. Countless movies have used this grading scheme for one simple reason: it works. The fact that only a handful of post houses handle final color correction and grading for most of the big Hollywood films probably factors into its popularity, but if you'd like to give your movie a bigger budget feel, check out this tutorial from Juan Melara below:

While Juan is using Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve for the grade here, you could accomplish this look in any grading app that gives control over specific nodes or layers. Some of you probably have some pretty strong opinions about the look, but it does work well for separating skin tones from the rest of the background. The ancillary benefit is that since people subconsciously associate this look with Hollywood films, it can help make your work stand out from the rest of the pack.

He has also posted a few color grading breakdowns, as well as some examples showing what his Kodak film stock LUT can do. The first is footage from Alex Montoya’s film Maquillaje:

For more helpful tips on grading, and to check out the film LUTs, head on over to Juan's website.

Links:

Your Comment

39 Comments

Juan is the boss!

July 14, 2013 at 4:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Kraig

these tutorials are AWESOME.

July 14, 2013 at 4:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Angel

Juan is very good. I hope I can work with him sooner than later.

July 14, 2013 at 4:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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WOW

July 14, 2013 at 6:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ally Mchume

Frak, I'm a DSLR video newbie and it's kind of depressing how complicated it looks :(

July 14, 2013 at 7:42PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Fletch

You want to work with primarily video?

July 14, 2013 at 11:25PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

That's why everyone specializes in this business. Find someone who wants to specialize as a colorist.

July 15, 2013 at 9:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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moebius22

Well what can I say, if you want to be a multi-specialist filmmaker then you're going to have to put in the work.

July 15, 2013 at 2:56PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Roberto

Watch the Davinci Resolve Core Training by Ripple and you'll be ready to understand the above tutorial. Without a basic understanding of Resolve, this may be a bit fast paced.

July 15, 2013 at 3:35PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Clayton Arnall

Now that's a motivating tutorial. I want to go shoot something right now just so I can grade it.

July 14, 2013 at 7:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I think what sets this apart from a lot of tutorials and presets is the whites and blacks aren't mucky with colour correction - for the most part they either stay white or black and not some form of bark blue or crappy yellow tint which you often see in ametur grades.

July 14, 2013 at 8:20PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

It seems there's a lot of amateur grading, like what was done to the Red footage in the documentary, "Zacuto, Revenge of the Great Camera Shoot Out." Post means so much to good video.

July 14, 2013 at 11:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Pretty sure that color correcting was designed as a shameless plug for BM, lol

August 8, 2013 at 9:15PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

There are a bunch of BMCC clips also graded in Resolve on YouTube that look absolutely dreadful. These look OK, if you're into this type of "Hannibal" grading. I just wonder how soon - if it isn't there currently - one can just flood the scene with the overhead lights while keeping everything in focus and then create the depth of field and the shadows in editing. I guess the DoF tinkering is easy and can be done now in most high end editing suits already.

July 14, 2013 at 8:43PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

Speaking of BM, where the heck are some samples of the BM4k that's due out in 2 weeks???

July 14, 2013 at 11:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

4K is old news before it's shipped. NHK and Mitsubishi already have a camcorder sized 8K unit demoed. 25 mm diagonal sensor (7/10th mm larger than BMC 4K's).

July 15, 2013 at 12:46AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

You're kidding. Do you have a link? I know America is behind in tech. For example, Tokyo has access to 2 Gigabit internet. We're still using internet measured in MB's. Even Romania and Lithuania have faster internet than America.

I saw a YouTube video of an 8K tv--from 2011. The image looked somewhat 3D even streamed in low quality YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9U7e_quvkPQ

July 15, 2013 at 12:58AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

The 8K camcorder prototype (not a demo, pardon) was shown at the end of May in Japan. Another correction - the co-manufacturers with NHK is Astrodesign. Mitsubishi provided the H.265 codec conversion only.

Here's the Broadcast Engineering article and photos.

http://broadcastengineering.com/cameras-amp-lenses/nhk-promotes-8k-camer...

July 15, 2013 at 3:20AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

Thank you DLD.

July 15, 2013 at 6:14AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

".... 2.5in, 33-megapixel “single plate” CMOS image sensor.... up to 60fps.... sensor itself can run at 120Hz.... also developed the world’s first HEVC/H.265 real-time encoder for 8K Ultra HD"

Talk about a muscle car!

July 15, 2013 at 6:31AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Gene

Formula grading for formula movies.

July 14, 2013 at 9:33PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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paul

*blockbuster grading for blockbuster movies

July 14, 2013 at 11:30PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Tyler

+1

July 14, 2013 at 11:48PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Shem

This is incredibly helpful for gaining insight into a proper workflow and harnessing the power of resolve that isn't immediately apparent to an untrained/aspiring colorist. Those of us who are just entering into an era where shooting and editing raw footage is a possibility will benefit so much from actually being able to take advantage of this tool and process in general.

It's really exciting to see this if you are looking at it as a jumping off point for where your own experimentations and creative vision can take you with these kinds of techniques. Thanks for posting, Joe!

July 15, 2013 at 1:52AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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George

A W E S O M E!!!!! Thank you!

July 15, 2013 at 2:12AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Sergey

This is very cool stuff. I wish we could see a similar presentation from Stefan Sonnenfeld to find out his take on this subject.

July 15, 2013 at 4:30AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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rob

Stefan would be delighted to give you a presentation on this. If you have $200,000, give Company 3 a call and ask for him!

July 16, 2013 at 5:15AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Joe Gangrene

Nice, thanks for posting. I just finished going through Ripple's Davinci Core Training, so I've been looking for some more advanced techniques like this.

July 15, 2013 at 3:26PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Clayton Arnall

Where exacty is the tutorial? Perhaps I missed it out of excitement.

July 15, 2013 at 6:21PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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starcentral

doh - found it. lol

July 15, 2013 at 6:22PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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starcentral

very cool stuff indeed (pun intended)
mainly the TEAL tint use gets often overboard
as an example: I've watched Welcome to the Punch and the color grading was way over the top, completely unnatural colours that were really distracting, it seemed like the story was taking place in some other world (worked well for the Matrix btw)
(the film overall was pretty bad too, that's maybe why I had the time to notice the colors :-)

I guess my point is, the color correction should remain mainly in service of the story and not fight for viewer's attention too much..

July 15, 2013 at 7:03PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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petekurachka

Exactly... I prefer natural colors, just desaturated. I personally like warm looks all around

July 18, 2013 at 6:53PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Cal

Please take a look at my colorist reel. https://vimeo.com/69525227

July 19, 2013 at 2:28PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Christian

Hello,
this got me really excited since I just got DaVinci Resolve, but I'm a beginner in color grading.
Are there any good tutorials in which I could learn how to use it?

July 19, 2013 at 6:32PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Edward

Thats a whole lot of teal and orange! Isn't there any other colours in hollywood?!

August 11, 2014 at 6:33AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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I have the impression that even B&W movies are graded in teal and orange these days.

But it's a cool article anyway.

August 11, 2014 at 7:38AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Rodrigo Molinsky

Juan is truly a amazing colorist. This is just one of his amazing tutorials, although this happens to be on a very overused highly stylized look. Just check out his other stuff, he's awesome.

August 11, 2014 at 11:59AM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Juan is great. He's graded two of my shorts and he brings a whole new level to the movie. He does what a true colorist should do and brings out colors to motivate the story.

August 11, 2014 at 2:05PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Michael

Could one use different color modification layers in FCPX to achieve a similar result?

August 11, 2014 at 2:09PM, Edited September 4, 11:56AM

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Fernando