This week I had a class on colour-grading with the incredible Cathy Vogan (click here to be directed to her exceptional portfolio). She has an impressive show-reel and has trained and worked with some of the biggest companies. She gave us one scene with multiple different angles to edit together and colour-grade. Asking for feedback before I submitted it, she was impressed that I had coincidentally used the same opening shots as she did and that she thoroughly liked the editing and she found my choice of colour-grading interesting. I decided to use a high contrast to enhance the serious tone of the scene, with a bright pink/orange/blue hue over the sequence. This creative choice was inspired by the scene itself.

The scene was two spies who convened in a secret room inside a building, they female spy checked to see if the male spy had gotten the object that the whole project hinged on. To her relief he had retrieved it and she let her guard down explaining why she almost didn’t trust him, a noise from outside interrupted them and they ran away.

Being a spy scene, I thought that ‘normal’ colours would just not do for it. It was EXCITING, it was DANGEROUS, so I thought it was appropriate to saturate it with different colours that could make someone feel uneasy when viewing it. I first thought a green would work seeing as that colour is traditionally used to make people feel uneasy, it sets the audience on edge and communicates danger and mystery.


  • The green light was used in vertigo to show an illusion, that something was not right.  In this scene it was communicating that this woman was not who she seemed.
  • The green lighting used in The Matrix communicates danger also, as the real world is much more important and futile than the fake one he was previously presented with (which has no coloured-tint).

However the green was a safe option, I wanted to go with something different. Mix it up and experiment while I have the opportunity to do so. I’m not sure if my choice of colour worked with the scene, it was a bit ‘light’ and ‘soft’ for what would have been ideal, but I had fun using it anyway. The trickiest part was making all the shots look the same. Because the shots were filmed from different angles, the lighting naturally had to change with each. So the biggest obstacle was making the lighting look smooth between all my shots. I struggled a bit (as it was one of my first times really giving colour-grading a good crack) but I think it went fine.

I have it here below for you to see, feedback on how it went is always welcome 🙂

After practicing at colour-grading on the project above, my partner and I learnt lots especially about Look Up Tables (LUTs) which made our jobs so much easier. A LUT makes it possible to copy some settings that you have set up for a shot and save it as a preset. You can then apply it to other shots on your timeline and saves you ALOT of time. This was edited on Adobe Premier Pro CC 2015.

And with the help of this finely timed tutorial we finished our Short ABC 1 minute film. As I mentioned in a previous blog, the idea was birthed from the concept of ‘blood’. My partner and I were given the letter ‘K’ to include into our film, so we chose the word ‘kitchen’ as two young white females does, and thus came the plot: A young housewife prepares a fruit platter to make it look like flesh and blood through different cinematographic techniques.


Looking back the major mistakes we made was the overexposure of the hands breaking the celery and in the future I’d like to edit on Da Vinci. It’s a free editing site and allows you to separately alter different elements within the one frame. With the Premier colour-grading I had to sacrifice some colour in other parts of the frame to make it look right in another part of the frame. So in the holidays I’ll download and practice on Da Vinci instead.

Overall I’m happy with the entire shoot and outcome. It’s a cute little film with a twist at the end and it’s easy to comprehend and watch.





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