Grade Comparison

Despite a change in narrative I have tried to stay close to the sources that inspired my approach to grading the documentary. The main sources of inspiration were Limitless (2011) and The Paedophile Hunter (2014). Each offered its own attributes to the grade, and despite the change in narrative I feel their inspiration still shows.

The Paedophile Hunter

This source was a prime example of stylistic colour used in documentary, normally an unconventional approach. In particular the serious parts of the program would rely on heavy contrast and a darker/desaturated palette. The connotation of the bland and dark colours instantly suggested serious subject matter.


My approach to this style shifted towards the consistent blue palette present throughout the film. The higher contrast causes dramatic variation between the darkness of the jacket with the lightness of the face. Comparisons can be drawn even down to parts of the face pushing into the overexposed bracket of luminance. The overall dark tone is mimicked effectively.




This source acted as an overall approach to colour in the original narrative. The darkness of pre-op replicated not being on the drug in limitless, whilst post-op was like being on the drug in the film. One was a dark, cold, and contrasted world, whilst the other was vibrant, colourful and fully of happy colours.

Before Operation Grade vlcsnap-2015-05-11-00h49m26s36

The continuous disconnected palette is established by pushing all tones towards blue, creating a coldness whilst maintaining naturalness in the skin tones so the film doesn’t become too disillusioned with the real world. When it comes to the brighter outlook I ended up breaking away from the initial inspiration, the main reason due to the change in narrative. Billy still hasn’t reached the happiness following the operation so I felt it was inappropriate to use the vibrant palette. Instead using natural tones with pink/purple inclusions for a dream like connotation, showing how Billy continues to dream of the operation and how he is so close to becoming who he truly is.

After Operation Grade vlcsnap-2015-05-11-00h50m04s159


It’s great to be able to draw comparisons between my grade and the work that inspired it. These two sources were strong influences and I feel I have kept true in my approach to the film despite the change in narrative and situation. The only real change comes in establishing a palette where Billy is yet to have the operation but knows it is almost confirmed.

I’m really happy with my approach to the grade and enjoy the final result. The grade is obviously stylistic, but at the same time it doesn’t pull the audience away from the real world. It really helps to build upon the mindset of the character and provides another avenue for the audience to engage emotionally with Billy.


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