Image by DCStudio on Freepik
Colour grading is one of the last steps in post-production, giving the final product (a film, advert or music video) some more life to it. Through colour grading the colour of the images is enhanced accordingly to the brief and expectations of the director.
Adjusting the colours during this editing process is also used to add a dramatic effect in film and photography. Colour grading can be used for artistic purposes to match the brief defining the emotion, style, and mood of the film.
Colour is used as a tool to help with the storytelling, therefore is a very important step during a project.
If you’re looking to hire a Colour Grader in your company then please fill out the Vacancy Form here.
What is a Colour Grader?
A Colour Grader is the person in charge of giving the final project a specific style through colour. After the footage is filmed, edited and colour corrected, the Colour Grader will work on it.
They work closely with the director and cinematographer, ensuring their vision is being achieved. Colour Graders usually work in colour suites, which tend to be neutral spaces and have good lighting in order to create an accurate grading.
Some of the adjustments a Colour Grader makes to a film include saturation, luminance, colour, white balance, black level, and contrast.
What are the key responsibilities of a Colour Grader?
Here are the Colour Grader’s main responsibilities:
- Manipulating the colours of a film following the director and cinematographer’s directions.
- Working closely with editors.
- Responsible of making scenes look consistent throughout the film.
- Adding effects to give a scene more life.
- Communicating with the director/client in order to achieve their expectations.
What skills and software do Colour Graders need?
Working as a Colour Grader requires a set of technical skills and a good knowledge of the software used to Colour Grade. Here are some:
- DaVinci Resolve, one of the most common software for colour grading.
- Baselight, another great software that is a bit less used depending on the company you work for.
- Understanding the impact of colour on an audience.
- Great communication skills.
- Having a good eye and being able to maintain the consistency.
- Understanding storytelling through colour.
- Collaborate with editors, cinematographers and directors to finalize color correction/transfer.
- Knowledge of color theory and mixing to create different colorways.
How to become a Colour Grader?
You won’t need a degree in film or colour grading to become a Colour Grader. It would help, of course, but don’t feel discouraged because as long as you learn the necessary skills you can become one!
Starting in a post-production house as an assistant can be a way to get into colour garding, many places offer entry-level jobs that allow less experienced people learn and develop their careers. You will also have access to the best software instead of investing in your own, which can be expensive!
However, if you do want to invest then it would also be a good way of mastering these software and gaining experience that will prepare you for the future. Doing courses and learning about colour is also beneficial as you will need to use different techniques when it comes to storytelling.
Most importantly, work on your portfolio. Building a strong portfolio is key in this industry, it is what will showcase how good your work is and what will catch the attention of employers/clients.
Lastly, building relationships will give you a chance to get more work in the future. Connect with everyone you have worked with and keep a good relationship with them, so when they need a Colour Grader they will think of you!
If you’d like help breaking into the industry, contact us here for the latest job openings, advice on becoming a freelancer and CV support.