Color Grading Mindsets

I started color grading mainly due to necessity. As a indie filmmaker you find yourself wearing multiple hats and in order to give my images something a bit more special I had to grade them. After spending some time doing this I’ve noticed several mindsets I put myself into and I would like to share them with you.

Arc of Color

In my film “It Rained on Tuesday” I put myself in the mindset of creating an arc with color. What I did was kept the images warm in the beginning and gradually cooled it down as the story unfolded and more sorrow was introduced. This is what I call arc of color. Just like how the characters have arcs, the color changes from what it initially was.



Mood grading is exactly like how it sounds, grading based on what mood the character is undergoing. Happy moments may be a bit warm where as sad moments may be cool. I’ve seen some take this to the extreme and use things like red for when characters are angry etc. Mood grading can be very useful.

Location grading

The film I’m currently working on, Despondent, I’ve been in the mindset of what I like to call location grading. Each location has a color profile and I simply match the shots to keep the look. I love working like this because it’s very easy to do and gives life to each setting. One film that took this to the ultimate level (by also using wardrobe, and weather) is Hero. I often said it’s one of the most beautiful movies ever made because of the way it used color.

Inside Office 2 Office Train

There is no wrong way in color grading because it’s all subjective, but I hope I was able to help you in some way by offering some ways to think about grading. Remember to follow me on twitter and check out Flopitworks Productions on youtube, twitter, and vimeo.

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