How do I become a pro-colourist?

Whether you’re just starting out in the industry or looking to try your hand at something else in post-production, with a little help from Filmworkz, becoming a pro-colourist will take no time at all. With that in mind, we’ve some tips on what you can do to break into the world of professional colour-grading. 

Got a question about how Filmworkz DVOs can work for you? Get in touch today

What does a colourist actually do?

“So, basically, you just trace.” 

Chasing Amy, 1997

If you want to earn an easy credit, we hate to break it to you but becoming a colourist ain’t it. 

Far from a free ride, a colourist’s job covers everything designed to make raw camera footage pop from managing the brightness and the colour to maintaining consistency between shots and scenes.

A colourist helps the Director and Director of Photography to define the colour palette of a project and makes sure it shines throughout. They troubleshoot problems with footage – applying corrections to dark and light shots, or balancing out saturation, for instance. 

But ask any professional colourist and they’ll tell you: they’re the editor whose work you’re not meant to spot. Good colour grading brings footage to life, managing transitions between shots irrespective of camera or setting. Great colour grading does all this, but without even the most technical of eyes noticing. 

As professional colourist Reinout De Geest puts it, “If you see colour grading, it’s not a good colour grading. A great colour grade should be unnoticeable.” 

But that’s’ not to say the work doesn’t come with its share of rewards. With an average salary of £60,000 per year, colour grading is a lucrative skill to have. And these days, honing your skills and becoming a professional colourist is easier, and more accessible, than ever. 

So, how do I become a professional colourist?

Simple: get yourself the right kit (and learn how to use it). 

Any professional colourist worth their salt knows that without the right tools, your job will be a lot harder. Senior colourist and trainer at the International Colorist Academy (ICA), Blake Jones agrees.“That’s the key when you’re doing a colour-grading session. No one wants to see you sweat in the grading suite!” 

“Set your tools in a way that you will feel good about because that’s important. Do that and you’ll go on to be self-assured, comfortable and confident and that’s the main thing.”

And with the Filmworkz DVOs, professional colour grading tools are more accessible than ever. Reinout recalls, “It was a joyful moment when the Filmworkz tools came to Mistika and Resolve.”

“The fact that you can do everything using one system makes a lot more sense – it simplifies workflows, is cost-effective, and makes everything so much easier.” 

And that’s not the only draw. Familiarising yourself with the Filmworkz tools will put you in good stead when you enter a real editing suite. Put simply, these are the exact tools the professionals use, and getting to grips with them on your own terms – and in your own environment – will add a very vital skill to your burgeoning CV. 

Three DVO tools no pro-colourist should be without…
Clarity

What does it do?

Gives footage the same look-and-feel between cameras, no matter the quality of equipment, the shot angles or indoor and outdoor locations.  

Why use it?

As Reinout puts it, “What I see most among junior colourists is that they really focus on shot-by-shot basis. Fixing a shot is important but it’s also important to keep consistency scene-by-scene. If an interior scene switches to the outside and the grading doesn’t match up, it will look inconsistent.” 

“With the Filmworkz Clarity tool, you can really upgrade the original footage.”

Learn more about Clarity

Sharpen

What does it do?

Sharpen clears images without adding extra noise, enhancing both the crispness and strength of the detail in your footage. 

Why use it?

Sharpen lets you get right down to the nitty gritty when creating a certain effect or finish. Blake explains, “There’s no degradation to the picture – you can sharpen it without sharpening the noise or anything. Filmworkz really does an exceptional job with that.” 

Learn more about Sharpen

Chroma 

What does it do?

Chroma helps you to improve the footage from low-quality cameras and lenses – so, if you’re jumping from a high-quality video to something captured by a drone, for example, Chroma can help to merge the two, reducing coloured fringes on hard edges. 

Why use it?

As Reinout points out, “The most common challenge is the different camera formats, and trying to match footage from one scene or shot to the next.”

“With these lower bitrate cameras, more often you have to deal with a lot of grain, and that’s where the Filmworkz plugins come into play.”

Learn more about Chroma

We’ve got the tools, you’ve got the spirit and together, we can create wonderful things. Fancy giving any of these DVO tools a whirl? You can sign up for a FREE trial today.

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