Sintel Movie Color-grading

Inspired by another similar post a while back, I started playing around with color grading the latest batch of test renders from Sintel. What do you guys think?


color grading

that’s exactly what is missing from sintel’s renders.
i hope they’ll have a nice color grading in the end giving it a filmic look.

First pic:
The original has a kind of BBC feel to it. Brownish and low on contrast. Your color grading reminds me of the orange-teal color grading of nowadays, but just about the right amount to separate the skin tones from the background.

Second pic:
The main concern with this shot is that Sintel looks out of place, as if she standing in front of a matte painting. That said the original is better because my eyes are drawn to Sintel/ the action, whereas in your version everything is evenly bright (which is not bad per se because it looks like a accurate a sunset) and find myself starring at the end of the street.

3rd pic
I like the original version more because it looks sad, misty, desolate and hollow. Your version is a happy Happy Feet-sunshine after the snowstorm - version which I think is not appropriate for Sintel.

The one who said on the last color-grading thread about blizzard conditions being grey and dull is absolutely right, around 2 years ago December we had a heavy snowstorm in the middle of the day and everything outside looked greyish and low-contrast, there wasn’t a higher contrast outside until the snow stopped.

This also happens whenever we have a decent snow, which can happen up to several times every Winter.

Very interesting tests! One comment I have is that in your grade for the first shot I think you lose the red color of Sintel’s hair too much. IMO, Sintel’s hair color is a “character color” that cannot be color graded too much as it exemplifies her character traits. Just my 2 cents. Cool stuff, though. :slight_smile:

Wow, can you please make a tutorial on how to do that

I’m beginning to despise color-grading, especially after watching a movie like Amadeus (1984) which is rich, sumptuous and masterful without the use of computers…

Maybe I’m too old-school, but it seems to me that color-grading is the “poor-man’s” cinematography and perhaps a “back-lash” is in order. :slight_smile:

Oh well.

Sweeeeet. i think the color grading should match the mood of the shot, as I talked about a long long time ago here. So, blue for the snow scene is a great fit. For just her looking sulky, green would be good if she was envious and those deep blue tones really make it depressing, like if she was depressed right now. I would go with amber/red if she was mad. Not sure what she is doing in the alley, but if she is searching, then a high-contrast like you have matches very well, indicating a sort of binary - found it or not emotion.

For me overly use of too visible colorgrading works the same way as overly use of score music. It may add a singular style to various shots with an uneven style, but it also limits the emotional output. It kind of tells you the one emotion you’re supposed to feel in big capital letters and as a viewer you do not have to spend more than a second to figure out where the scene is going and the result is the viewer will not be involved in the story at all.

the 2nd doesn’t fit the mood , it’s just before the chase scene ontop of the pyramid. I think. Their render gives me the feeling of early morning, and there’s a bit of humidity in the air that the sun rays hit.

whilest the graded one feels more like a rainy , after noon in england. :smiley:

I don’t know, they say that the grading is left to be done.

btw I live in a snowy country and the only time the snow is blueish , is right before the sun goes down in the night time. if there’s sunshine , it’s totally white washed , if there’s a blizzard it is gray / dull because there’s so many clowds covering the sky …

but a blueish hue, does’ give the feeling of cold.

Color grading is definitely an important part of a film’s visual design, but it really should start from pre-production with the environment, sets, props, costume and lighting palette. In pre-production you can create a color board (like a story board, just with color swatches), showing the progression of colors through the film. There’s a trend these days towards overdoing it and going for the obvious choices, but it shouldn’t be all about slapping a cool or warm color filter over the image as an afterthought in post.

Maybe you missed this:

Teal and Orange - Hollywood, Please Stop the Madness

that Teal and Orange - Hollywood, Please Stop the Madness Blogpost was a brilliant read! Something very similar happened to the world of marketed music called “The Loudness War”, which resulted in a complete lack of dynamic range in a lot of popular music. just loud. equating loud to good.

Nope, didn’t miss that. In fact i loved that article :slight_smile:

Now that I know what Teal and Orange color-grading is the suggestions in these scenes really are pretty much the same as nearly every major hollywood movie of the past 10 years.

Such color-grading on some scenes may be okay if the effect isn’t really strong, like in the shots posted here (the 2nd one is graded a bit too strong). Others don’t really need that because you lose color like the 1st shot.

The first one is nice, the second one certainly brings a lot more life and energy to the shot, love it.
The third one I think the blue should be a lot more subtle. The shots of the snow scenes so far have been good, just lacking that little subtle amount of blue which everyone seems to be craving.

It will be good to see how the Durian team approach this.

Its winter here in Southern Africa and just this morning I saw some emailed photos of the now snow capped Ceres mountains close to Capetown and I will be damned the look color wise like what the team have done; grey and dull so they are spot on.

The hint of blue in blizzard scene must be a lighting cheat like the way night scenes get cheated in movies. Dull and grey is closer to reality

Sometimes, reality is boring.

I agree with Toontje : For the second image, I prefer the original. For the snow landscape, Though I had gotten used to that dull gray, the blue tinted one allows some of the clouds over the faraway mountains to show off better.

Reality can be boring, (ie: Reality TV) however, what we have to ask ourselves is, “How does this serve the story?”. Does the blue snow tell us about the emotions of that scene? Or, does it look cool because it reminds us of the cool refreshing taste of our favorite soft drink? Does the blue snow help us to empathize with the characters? Or, does it make us crave for the clean fresh taste of Peppermint Dentyne?

Does it serve the story or is it pretty packaging?


Stuff “real”, it should serve the story and be “pretty” packaging too!

I quote “pretty” because even “horrific” content like an earthquake or a warzone can be "pretty"as long as it has an aesthetic quality…

even “Brookside” (now canned English soap about a bunch of people living on a housing estate) cottoned on and went cinematic in it’s last year of broadcast… beautiful lighting, colour palettes and filmic cinematography/ colour grading…

and it doesn’t get more “kitchen sink” than Brookside