Tag Archives: interview

Grading Insights From Pro Colorist Patrick Inhofer

This article was originally published on PremiumBeat’s blog.

We sat down with pro colorist Patrick Inhofer to discuss his color grading process and how new colorists can jump into the color industry.

Top image: Sun Belt Express via IMDb

Last month we interviewed prolific author and colorist Alexis van Hurkman about his vantage point of the industry. We’ve got another exclusive, this time with colorist Patrick Inhofer, a 25-year veteran of the post community. His long list of clients include HBO, NBC, ABC, Showtime, and ESPN. His foray into teaching began in 2005, and Inhofer has since has made coaching a key part of his business with his sites Tao of Color, Colorist Flight School, and Mixing Light.

 

From Editing to Coloring

Inhofer went to school for television and film, working as an editor for about a decade in large Manhattan edit houses before making the switch to freelance. That’s how he found color grading.

When it came time for me to go freelance and start selling my services, I realized super quick that many of my competitors didn’t know what a good-looking picture looked like. They didn’t even know how to read a scope, which I learned in college. I decided to establish myself as someone who had this additional skillset. As software became more capable of digital color correction, I realized I loved it, and I made a conscious transition towards full-time color correction.

Having a color grading subspecialty benefitted Inhofer, and today continues to differentiate many of the editors he coaches.

I teach a lot of editors who are well served by not only being good at editing and putting a story together, but by having a subspecialty they can sell their clients on. Color correction is a great skill to have. It has a visual impact on the image. You can do a before and after and really see the difference. For a lot of the people I coach, color correction won’t be their primary job, but it allows them to differentiate themselves from their competition. I’m a big proponent for that.

Grading Insights from Pro Colorist Patrick Inhofer: Rivers Wash Over Me
Screencap from Rivers Wash Over Me

Five years ago, Inhofer started Tao of Color, a weekly colorist-focused newsletter, which in itself was a part-time job, taking up 20-25 hours a week.

Tao was designed as a community-building exercise when there was very little cohesive communication going on about color grading. That was a way of pulling together everything that was happening in the community.

With this split revenue system, I wondered about the balance of business intraditional coloring versus coaching.

It’s about 50-50 right now. I’d like for a bit more to come out of training. When you’re selling product, if you’re not constantly generating new product, any good will you’ve built up starts to evaporate. To go down that route, there’s a certain amount you have to commit to, and I haven’t found the right amount that allows me to run Mixing Light and Tao of Color.

For many of us that wear multiple hats, finding the right mix to devote time to each aspect of our business can clearly be challenging.

My goal is to cut back on grading about 15 percent, maintaining a smaller base of regular clients. That’ll free up time to revitalize Colorist Flight School, where I’ll be offering certifications. I need to keep the client base to keep me relevant on software, workflows, and changes in the industry, and the training allows me to live a more independent lifestyle that isn’t tied to any particular region.

Read the full article on PremiumBeat’s blog and don’t forget to follow Tristan on Twitter.

Tips for Coloring Talking Head Interviews in DaVinci Resolve

This article was originally published in PremiumBeat’s blog.

Talking head interviews are a great place to sharpen color grading skills. Let’s take a look at some ways we can push and improve upon this common setup in DaVinci Resolve.

Any working colorist will likely encounter their fair share of talking head interviews. It’s a great idea to use these projects as opportunities to up your skills. Here are a few quick and easy tips to consider when applying your magic to interview footage.

Pick an Identifying Frame

Choose a frame where the subject’s eyes are open and acknowledging the camera or the interviewer off-camera. This will help us engage with the speaker, allowing us to judge exposure and color tints with better acuity. Picking a moment when the talent doesn’t look their best will hinder our ability to color them in the best possible way.

It’ll be easier to engage the subject if they’re engaging you.

Tips for Coloring Talking Head Interviews in DaVinci Resolve: engage-subject

Initially, Focus on a Single Correction

Rather than creating multiple nodes to grab skin tones and other features in the shot right away, try to accomplish as much as possible in a single correction. This will enable us to correct for exposure and color shifts with the simplest, cleanest method before working on other aspects of the shot.

Matching Two Angles

Matching close and wide shots is easier if both cameras are identical models and are calibrated with similar settings, but this will be the exception rather than the rule. Many filmmakers will choose their best camera for the wide and a comparatively inferior one for the closeup due to various shooting constraints. This means matching shots may be more difficult since the cameras are not only shot differently but inherently contain different sensors and characteristics.

First, perform the best possible grade on the wide shot. When switching to the closeup, grab a still of the wide and put it next to the closeup shot by selecting Play Still. Often, the two angles will frame the interviewee in the same quadrant, so don’t be afraid to move the closeup over using the Sizing tab so you can clearly see the subject in both frames.

Here, the close and wide are framed similarly, which isn’t optimal since part of the talent is covered.

Tips for Coloring Talking Head Interviews in DaVinci Resolve: match-angles-squish

The Sizing tab allows us to move one angle aside to reveal the pertinent parts of both shots.

Read the full article on PremiumBeat’s blog.