In Directing Color, filmmaker, editor and colorist Ollie Kenchington explores how visual language cues, color theory and even color grading techniques can be used throughout the filmmaking process to not just create a “look” but to enhance storytelling. He challenges directors, cinematographers and filmmakers to think of color first rather than the more common approach of leaving color considerations until post-production.
In the first module of the course, Ollie introduces us to the concept of “Directing Color” as he begins to produce a commercial for a boutique catering company. He takes us through the process of how he developed a color palette for their brand which will be woven into the production design for the commercial, and explains how the relationships between colors can create compositional balance in your images.
Here, Ollie gives us a quick primer on how the Human Visual System affects our perception of color and why that means certain colors recede and others advance in our perception.
In this lesson, Ollie takes us through the process of building custom LUTs on set for monitoring. He shows how simple steps before rolling the camera can ensure everyone on set is connected with the image and able to see how the film’s look is developing in every frame.
With everything now set to record, Ollie focuses on how simple colour and contrast management in production can maximise the quality of your digital negative. From using probes to ensure camera monitors are calibrated, to using charts to ensure white balance and contrast are consistent across all cameras; Ollie shows us his top tips for in-camera color management.
With production wrapped on the commercial, Ollie brings us into the grading suite to discuss how contrast can be introduced in post-production to add depth. Ollie also shows us examples from ‘The Crown’ to reinforce this.
As we continue looking at post-production, Ollie shows how hue and saturation can be used to direct the viewer's eye in the frame. Using examples from ‘Blade Runner 2049’, Ollie demonstrates how this technique can be used most effectively in your films.
In the final lesson of the course Ollie delves into the most exciting part of color grading - conveying mood and eliciting emotion with color. He shows us how this is used so effectively in ‘Whiplash’, where color becomes a signifier to the emotional journey of the film’s protagonist.