We have now entered one of the final steps of our movie, Color Timing (a.k.a. Color Grading, Color Correction). For this phase, Chuck must alter and enhance the color of every frame of the movie, adjusting hue, saturation, and brightness to create the best possible visual quality for every scene. Here is Chuck hard at work on reel four...
Color Timing a One Take Movie
Color is extremely important to our movie, because we have no cuts. The way we differentiate mood between scenes is largely by color and sound design. We assign different color palettes for each scene location, particularly in the nighttime shots where we have better control of the lighting design.
The Importance of Color Timing
Prior to color timing, movies don't look like movies. To give a sense of the importance of color timing, below is a deleted scene from The Italian Job. Look how flat and overexposed the non-color timed footage is:
Pretty amazing, right? Now keep in mind The Italian Job had a $60 million budget, closing off downtown Los Angeles to shoot these scenes. Nevertheless, non-color timed footage looks like it was shot at a backyard barbecue.
Here's another neat video I found that demonstrates the before/after effect of color timing:
The Last Hurrah was shot in late afternoon, magic hour, and night. So much of our original footage is grainy, low-contrast, and flat. It is exhilarating to watch our footage come to life and blossom with color as we complete Color Timing.