A behind-the-scenes look at how colorists change raw video into beautiful film

Much of the credit for the filmmaking process understandably goes to the directors, cinematographers, and editors, but many technicians work with film behind the scenes to create the final images that you see on screen. This is especially true for colorists. Notable films such as O Brother, Where Art Thou? use extensive color correction to suggest a different era and aesthetic, but that role has grown now that digital is the default film format. Colorists increasingly deal with raw film to which they add their own lighting and tone, dramatically altering the appearance of the final product.

We rarely get a chance to see raw film from commercial products (it’s not like Marvel is going to release the rough cut of The Avengers), so it’s surprising and exciting to see an independent filmmaker lay their entire coloring process bare. This horror film in this video, The House on Pine Street, provided plenty of opportunities for colorist Taylre Jones to play with dramatic, high-contrast lighting and color levels. You can see how the film’s appearance changes with each step of the process, moving from washed out to crisp and colorful.

Videos like this help you appreciate the less-appreciated work that happens in post-productions that make films pop. This technique has of course seen some backlash, especially in recent blockbusters that overblow their teal and orange levels. But it’s a neat peek into a filmmaking skill that’s often ignored.

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