A Treasure Trove of Professional Color Grading Workflows & Breakdowns Courtesy of Movie Editor Jonny Elwyn

by Karin GottschalkLeave a Comment

With more independent moviemakers and even professional movie editors having to take on more tasks and acquire more skills than ever before, good information sources become worth more than gold.

That is especially the case with color grading. The free version of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, the lower-priced version of DaVinci Resolve 12 Studio available through the App Store and top-class grading plug-ins like Color Finale and Koji Advance, not to forget the Lumetri Deep Color Function in Adobe Premiere Pro CC, means we ned to understand color and grading in a depth never demanded before. 

As with any new field of knowledge, the best way to begin is by watching over the shoulder of those who have mastered it and the Web comes to the fore, as usual, with a plethora of free tips, video tutorials and more.

Movie editor Jonny Elwyn has done a great job of rounding up color grading resources old and new in his recently published article Professional Colour Grading Breakdowns, and it is just the tip of the iceberg. For more on grading itself, type “color grading” into the search box at the top of the article’s web page.

A quick browse through Mr Elwyn’s Top posts list turned up two articles about the hardware side of things that I am currently researching, Film Editing Keyboards, Mouse, Controllers and more, and Affordable Colour Grading Monitors.

With such a treasure trove of invaluable information, I could spend days here reading and watching, and I know you could too.

Editor Jonny Elwyn shares a treasure trove of color grading tips, tutorials and workflows. Click To Tweet

Professional Colour Grading Breakdowns

Via Jonny Elwyn's blog:

Learning from professional colorists is one of the best ways to improve your own colour grading skills, and this round up of breakdowns from a wide variety of projects and professionals will give you a diverse range of teachers, and technical approaches, to absorb.

The last colour grading breakdown post I put together was pretty popular so you might want to check that out here too.

Midnight in Paris – Reverse Engineering the Grade


Colorist Juan Melara produced possibly one of the best colour grading breakdown tutorial videos for the blockbuster look ever, and then didn’t make any more of them for two years. Now he’s back, and in this detailed post, he reverse engineers the grade from Midnight In Paris, and includes a great tip about looking up which film stock the particular film you’re trying to emulate was shot on. His post is well worth a read, and hopefully we won’t have to wait as long till the next one!

“Take note of where I placed my video2log conversion. I did this so late in the node graph so that I could do the majority of the work in the image’s original SRGB gamma. When dealing with 8bit images sometimes I find a video2log conversion too early on in the graph can introduce artifacts as you’re pushing the image’s 8bits too hard and then making corrections on top of that.”

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I found these images breaking down the colour grade on Noah Boambach’s Francis Ha, over on Film Stage and have thrown them together into an animated gif, but you can check out the original stills here. Apparently these stills come from the Criterion release of the film which includes a conversation about the look of the film featuring Pascal Dangin, who did the film’s ‘colour mastering’.

Commercial Colour Grading Breakdown

Colorist David Torcivia has been consistently creating great tutorials for Resolve colorists, and in this 18 minute breakdown he dismantles a single shot from a commercial, shot on RED Epic and grading in an ACES project, and shares plenty of tips to improve your grading along the way.

Read full article at Jonny Elwyn's blog “Professional Colour Grading Breakdowns”

Note: it is our policy to give credit as well as deserved traffic to our news sources – so we don't repost the entire article – sorry, I know you want the juicy bits, but I feel it is only fair that their site get the traffic and besides, you just might make a new friend and find an advertiser that has something you've never seen before

(cover photo credit: snap from source in post)


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