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Color Grading Lesson: How To Achieve a Timeless Film Look

I recently released a Color Grading Masterclass, comprised of 12 in-depth lessons that cover the creative aspects of color correction.

Countless filmmakers have now taken the course, and after a tremendous amount of feedback I’ve decided to release a sample lesson here for those who would like a taste.

The lesson I’m sharing today is all about the “Timeless Film Look”, and outlines my process for correcting digital footage to look more filmic, without overly stylizing it.

I’ve never been interested in degrading the quality of my footage to make it look aged. Film scratches and burns were never quite my thing… But I have always loved the look of high quality motion picture film.

And that’s what this lesson is all about. We look at some of the unique characteristics – like highlight rolloff, contrast ratios, and color balance – that make classic motion pictures look so good, and explore methods for replicating them digitally.

For a little context, here is the full course outline for my Color Grading Masterclass.

The video below is taken from Lesson #7 –

SET UP & PREP

1. Critical Tools– The most essential color grading tools, their primary functions, and where to find them in DaVinci Resolve, FCP X, and Premiere Pro.

2. Order of operations– A bulletproof workflow for RAW and compressed formats, designed to optimize footage for maximum creative potential.

3. Shot matching & base grades– The first critical steps of any creative grade.

COLOR FIXES

4. Exposure Adjustments– Techniques for handling over/underexposed footage to deliver optimal luminance levels with minimal noise.

5. Balancing Colors– Best practices for executing the primary grade, geared toward a natural/organic starting point.

6. Perfecting Skin Tones– Assessing and fixing common technical issues that affect skin tones for a more flattering look.

POPULAR CREATIVE LOOKS

7. Timeless Film Looks– A step by step tutorial, showcasing proper execution for several popular looks associated with classic motion picture film.

8. The Big Budget Look – From sci-fi to action and everything in between, this lesson teaches core grading skills for several popular big screen looks.

9. Ultra Stylized– Creative techniques for grading music videos, commercials, art films, and other projects that call for a more aggressive palette.

POLISHING

10. Black/White Levels– Finding the right shadow/highlight balance, and achieving consistent luminance throughout long form projects.

11. Grain & Film Emulation– Best practices for applying film grain and emulation in post, giving digital footage a more analog look.

12. Color Uniformity– The final phase, exploring how global settings, LUTs, and other tools should be used in unison to create a cohesive aesthetic.

To learn more about the full Masterclass be sure to click here!

And without further ado, here is the sample lesson on achieving a Timeless Film Look –

Don’t forget to also check out my Cinematic Color Grading LUTs at www.CINECOLOR.io


About Author

Noam Kroll is an award-winning Los Angeles based filmmaker, and the founder of the boutique production house, Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television, and in various publications across the globe. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!

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