Home Photography WHY Color Grade TEAL And ORANGE?!?!

WHY Color Grade TEAL And ORANGE?!?!

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37 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Matti, I have a question about color that I'm struggling with. I notice every time I export in Premiere, the color and contrast of exported file is super faded and washed out compared to the Premiere preview. In order to get anything close to the preview, I keep having to add an additional adjustment layer with extra contrast and vibrancy. What is happening here? Are my export settings wrong? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  2. the day is going to come when we see all this (only) orange and teal footage and say "dude, I can't believe that was cool back then". I don't believe all this self convincing story about "science of skin tones bla bla". If that was the case you wouldn't find landscape footage with no people in it with tealand orange color grading.

  3. Every technical aspect of this video is correct, and yet I can't help but disagree with the conclusion that you've drawn, because I don't agree with one fundamental, non-scientific storytelling assumption: that contrasting humans with the environment while maintaining natural skintones is necessarily the best way to enhance the storytelling. Sometimes you may WANT to use unnatural colors, to exaggerate locales and peoples (as seen in The Lord of the Rings), or to convey emotions, or put the viewer at unease. Sometimes you may want to actively reduce contrast, to make an action or object less obvious. Sometimes you may just want something even more natural and realistic, as opposed to the "exaggerated realism" brought by orange and teal; the ungraded/barely-corrected romcoms of the '90s scream "ordinary" in a way that orange and teal simply can't, and that may well be exactly what a scene needs, such as the real life scenes in Big Fish, which themselves were meant to contrast the bright and poppy storytelling scenes.

    Great storytelling means understanding the needs of the individual story, of its moods, scenes, themes, and characters. The use of orange and teal as a one-size-fits-all solution to grading as it largely has been for the past decade or so is directly at odds with that, making modern cinema too uniform, and acting as a crutch for filmmakers who use it as a substitute for vision and creativity.

    Is orange and teal going anywhere? No. Nor should it. As I said, the technical side of this video is 100% correct, and the science is sound. It absolutely has its place; I won't even try to argue with that. But as the industry stands, this look is overused. When I think of the movies that stand out to me with some of the best color design out there, whether from modern grading or old-school lighting/sets/costumes, they almost universally do something very different from orange and teal. The Wizard of Oz's use of extreme vivid colors across the spectrum to create a fantastic world well beyond reality, O Brother Where Art Thou's use of dusty oranges and browns to create an almost sepia look reminiscent of an old photo, The Nightmare Before Christmas' use of dim halloween-themed colors for everything but the bright and cheery Christmas Town, 2001's heavy use of neutral blacks and whites both to create an uneasy cleanliness and to better stand out from the bright red alarms and warmer, more natural earth hues, Sin City's use of extreme black and white across the board supplemented with very specific and deliberate color choices, as well as the examples I mentioned earlier in this comment…

    Suffice to say, there's a whole world of storytelling out there well beyond merely contrasting humans from environment in the most scientific way possible. When people like myself criticize orange and teal, we're not saying there isn't scientific merit to it. We're saying that filmmaking is art first and science second, and that "because science" is not a good argument for what should be an artistic decision. We're saying that "formal technical perfection" impedes creativity. We're saying that homogeneity robs films of their individual identities.

    The science of color is very important, but it should be a starting point, not the goalpost. To that end, Hollywood is failing us.

  4. Teal and Orange are really pleasing to my eyes, but I never thought that there is a science behind that. I thought it's just a style or trendy look for the video. Thanks for the explanation Matti. This video might be old but it's really helpful.

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