Finally getting a little better at color grading for outdoor sunlit shots

I have been struggling with color grading ever since I started, especially for brightly sunlit shots with high dynamic range. I tried Apple Color, Magic Bullet Looks and Colorista II without getting the results I want. I just wanted my t2i videos to look like slide film. I think I am getting closer. I find Apple Color to be the best for my needs, but I hate the export/import function, slowing down the workflow. I personally find that combining Magic Bullet Looks and Colorista II tend to give me the results I am looking for without leaving FCP, after controlling the levels a bit.
Also, I am getting sharper results shooting in ‘super flat’ mode then grading afterwards. I use ‘unsharpen’ to snazz up the footage a bit.

5 comments on “Finally getting a little better at color grading for outdoor sunlit shots

  1. I’ve used Super Flat before. It’s good for certain things, but tends to distort skin tones quite a bit I’ve noticed from my experience. Nowadays, I just stick to Neutral, with saturation, contrast and sharpness turned all they way down.

    Either way, you’re right. Flat filming for post perfection is the way to go.

    • I tired Neutral also before trying superflat, but it still didn’t bring out enough details from the shadows under the harsh sunlight in California. I am still learning though! 🙂

  2. I saw this link posted on no film school blog about color grading. Pretty phenomenal for a t2i, great shots too! The slow motion is amazingly smooth at :50 seconds, what a fantastic shot. What did you use to get the slow motion so smooth?

    • Thanks!
      Slow motion was achieved with Twixtor plugin for After Effects. There are many samples and tutorials on both Vimeo and Youtube. I haven’t seen much on skydiving footage though. Color grading is something I’ve been struggling with for a long time. I am still learning daily though!

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