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  • ollietristram

Colour Grading for EMR

I was recently offered a project by Untold Films colour grading a TVC (Television Commercial) for regional train service, East Midlands Railway (EMR). The purpose of the ad was to showcase how EMR are Covid-19 safe, aiming to encourage travelers back to using their service.

My role was to colour grade the film, as the production and edit had already been signed off by the client. The brief was to create, "A quite subtle dreamy look...rather than anything resembling high contrast" with references to a "super subtle orange/teal low contrast look" and aiming to pull out key colours in the scenes, such as the purple branding on the smart card.

Let's breakdown how I worked on the first shot in the commercial.

You can see from the image of the node tree above, from within Davinci Resolve, I started with exposure adjustments and a general colour balance before breaking down the shot to create the look I was after. The separate teal and orange nodes took my image in the direction I wanted for the overall feel and then I picked out some key elements to improve how they popped within the scene; eg. saturating and adjusting the sky to be more blue and summery, something my client was keen to do. Next, I adjusted the luminance/saturation curves to make sure black is black and white is white in the scene; followed by a vignette and outside node to draw the eye toward the train. Lastly, the global adjustment reduces the overall contrast; adds warmth to the midtones and a bit of sharpening.

Here's that process as a video, so you can clearly see the different stages of the grade:

Overall, I'm really pleased with how the video turned out. Not only was my client happy, but EMR themselves were really chuffed. Plus, I've already seen it being shown on All4. It's always nice to see your work in the public eye!

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