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Tips & Tricks

See What Movies Look Like SOOC Vs. What You See In The Final Product

By Kishore Sawh on January 7th 2015


When we go to see a movie, especially a standard life drama, we tend to know very little about what was done to the moving images before they reach the screen, and our eyes. Have you ever wondered what it’s like straight out of camera?

Movie magic, some may call it, is often the work of a film colorist, who adds so much feel, visual interest, and strength to the composition. It’s similar to adding a soundtrack. Entering some dimly lit bar or pool hall may leave you bereft of any emotion, but add in the right soundtrack, and it can be like you’re in a Scorcese movie, and much like adding a soundtrack to a scene can change it entirely, so can the color grading, and this 2 minute clip shows you to what huge extent this is true.

house-pine-street-color-grading-RAW-film-photography-slrlounge-1 house-pine-street-color-grading-RAW-film-photography-slrlounge-2

We are taken through a series of scenes of an independent film called, ‘The House On Pine Street,’ and are shown what the footage looked like SOOC and then through to the finished product which may have multiple color grades added. This psychological drama by E3W Productions, centers around a pregnant woman recovering from a mental breakdown, who happens to move into a haunted house, but the real head-job is the brilliant work of the director of photography, Juan Baron, and Colorist Taylre Jones. They shot this with a Black Magic camera in 2K RAW, and is such a testament to the power of shooting in RAW.

[REWIND: Packing Small & Shooting Big: Professional Results With Speedlights | Joseph W. Carey]

As if any of us needed more incidence to know the value of shooing in that format, this has to be one of the best; the footage SOOC looks so incredibly flat and dull compared to the same footage with different levels of color grading applied. The coloring really takes the oatmeal porridge breakfast SOOC footage, and turns it into a sizzling saucepan of steak and eggs. And it is, of course, much the same with still images – what can be done with stops upon stops of dynamic range to play with versus one without is like night and day – literally.

Check out the video and some more samples of before and after, below, and you can learn more about the film on their Facebook page and website.

house-pine-street-color-grading-RAW-film-photography-slrlounge-4 house-pine-street-color-grading-RAW-film-photography-slrlounge-3

Sources: PetaPixel, The House On Pine Street Facebook, images are screen captures from featured video.

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A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Marcin Lachowicz

    The power of editing…

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  2. fotosiamo

    By the way, this was shot as a 4K LOG on the Sony F55, not in RAW.

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  3. Mike McAdams

    I find it funny how some ppl think that it’s all just shot like that rather than being color graded lol I enjoy color grading alot, gives things a completely different feel

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  4. David Hall

    It really is amazing the difference. I would like to learn more about the process. Literally, the mechanics of how this is done.

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  5. Ben Perrin

    Like Stan said. This is normal for movies to deliberately shoot flat to get the best dynamic range from the scene. They usually have some sort of LUT that will transform their scene back to normal with 1 or 2 clicks. It is a weird concept for those that haven’t shot a movie before but fairly normal within the industry.

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  6. Stan Rogers

    One does need to keep in mind that the camera output (in these cases) is deliberately flat. Just as when we choose to shoot stills in raw, there is an extent to which allowing yourself room to tweak things in post means that you’ve made it necessary to tweak things in post. And it’s possible to set up, say, Lightroom to show you the complete horror story of your unprofiled and curveless (and lifeless) raw file. We stills shooters can get away with not doing that because we rarely have to match 7200 frames taken from three or four positions (one of which may be moving) with 5 different lenses over the course of 4 12-hour days and make it look like one “scene” containing an unbroken 5-minute conversation. But I think all of us sort of vaguely remember that experience of opening a picture that looked kick-butt on the back of the camera in a raw converter for the very first time using the default profile and wondering what we broke. This is only slightly more extreme.

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    • Holger Foysi

      This is always a mixed bag. When my wife shoots her clients in the field, they often want to get a glimpse by looking at the rear lcd. However, I set up the camera to get a reasonably accurate histogram to avoid clipping, resulting in a pretty flat jpg on the back (Nikon D810 and Sony A7ii histogram are strongly dependent on jpg settings). We have the advantage in post, but clients wonder sometimes. Luckily, they booked her because of the pictures they saw on the web and a little explaining helps. When I back her up, I now often take some shots with a vivid color profile and they are happy.

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  7. Stefan Czajkowski

    Very interesting what the after looks like. I haven’t been into shooting yet…

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