Wood Test Sequence Grades

I managed to grab a copy of the test footage shot last week in the woods. It was shot on a Sony FS700 and provided as a ProRes sequence for me to grade in DaVinci Resolve. I immediately noticed the change in colour space, I know Mike mentioned it hadn’t been shot on a log curve so this may make a difference in future.

I referenced the mood sheets for the grade and just played around in the suite. At this stage nothing is really set in stone so I had plenty of opportunity to experiment.

Version 1

Darkened shadows, pulling them towards blue. Slight desaturation. Removed green from mid tones/pushed skin tones back. Added black elliptical vignette and film grain.

Version 2

Pulled shadows towards green and pushed red luminance curve. Added contrast (1.0 to 1.37), added another contrast node (1.0 to 1.5). Pulled the red gain and lowered the mids on the luminance curve.

Version 3

Blown out highlights, blue in gamma, reduced blue channel curve colour space and added even more blue to the gamma.

Version 4

Felt contrast, blue tones, desaturation and vignette was working so focused on these elements for next few versions. Added contrast (1.0 to 1.5), gain towards blue, gamma towards blue/purple. Lift decreased, desaturation (50 to 29) and soft black vignette.

Version 5

Qualifier – replace green hues with yellow/brown. Blue shadows, contrast (1.0 to 1.35) and lift (0.0 to 0.02).

Version 6

Applied previous ‘version 1’ grade and made amendments. Add qualifier – green leaves pushed towards blue and desaturated. Gain towards blue and rectangular vignette. Added film grain.

Version 7

Applied previous ‘version 6’ grade. Removed film grain effect – removes some blue and clears image. Tried removing vignette but preferred keeping it.


Nathan, Dan and I all met in the grading suite this afternoon to discuss all the grades I made earlier this week. We broke down all the grades and came to the general consensus that the test grades were slightly too stylised. A lot of the grades have detached from the real world too much and make it appear too alien, this could be good for some shots where the creatures presence is more prominent.

The first version had too much magenta, the second was too stylised, the third continued with the theme of surrealism, by the fourth and fifth green needed to be more prominent, the final grade was probably the closest. We spoke about the style of the film together and I personally feel this has to be better established. I grabbed a fresh clip and sat down to do a quick grade that is more to the style they are after, the next step will to await on style sheets from Dan and Nathan for each location.

I think we can all agree it the grade has to be toned down due to the length of the narrative. In a short piece extreme stylisation would work, but after watching it for a while it would wear thin. The vignette is a really nice look to the frame but has to be figured out; for example in shots where the camera pans it comes across cheap. If we opt for film grain this will be done through Adobe After Effects as there is more option for control. I think I am definitely along the right lines but really have to dial down the extent of the grade, bring the concept into a realistic world, not take the narrative to an alien place.


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