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Muted Colour Trend


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#1 Stephen Whitehead

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 02:08 PM

It seems to me that a current trend in commercials is a very muted look, as far as colours go. First of all do people know what i'm talking about, second of all how do you achieve this muted almost pastel colour look? I am thinking perhaps that it is some sort of bleach by-pass. anyone care to comment on this?

Cheers,

Steve
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#2 Dan Goulder

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 02:23 PM

Some of the newer film stocks are designed to exhibit these properties, along with lower contrast. Kodak '29 is one such stock. You can see this look in films such as Cinderella Man. I assume it's about offering filmmakers a choice of looks.
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#3 Hal Smith

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 02:33 PM

It seems to me that a current trend in commercials is a very muted look, as far as colours go. First of all do people know what i'm talking about, second of all how do you achieve this muted almost pastel colour look? I am thinking perhaps that it is some sort of bleach by-pass. anyone care to comment on this?

Cheers,

Steve

My opinion? The corporate suits want to look "in", so everything ends up looking the same. This is a guess on my part but I suspect 90% of that look is being done in post, everything, faces, product, props, etc. looks like its gone through the same filter. There doesn't seem to be much creative use of costume and set color, lighting, and on-camera filtration - the approach seems to be to rent a van full of Chimeras, let 'em rip, and fix it in post. Did this trend start before or after the "CSI" look became common in dramatic series?

And of course one of these days someone will stick their neck out in an attempt to look different, produce some commercials that look like 3 strip Technicolor in all its glory - win some awards and get a lot of attention - and the following year every spot on the air will be full of saturated color.
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#4 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 04:31 PM

Hi,

I noticed this last night while watching an episode of something called Surface. Some scenes of a conversation between two women in a lab were practically sepia, almost entirely monochrome.

Phil
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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 02 April 2006 - 05:31 PM

It has definitely been a trend for some time. The low con look has also been seen now for awhile - suppose it's a reaction to all the bleach bypass craziness that went on. I personally think CSI and the high con series look terrible grade-wise, but I'm oversensitive to high con right now.

But I do feel that grading is turning quite tasteful again. The extreme looks are kind of gone and many commercials now have a kind of feature-y, well rounded look that doesn't draw attention to itself. I like it, I'm sick of looks.

BTW, just came back from Inside Man that was quite nicely shot by Matthew Libatique, ASC. There was some 45-degree shutter work randomly dispersed that didn't make any sense and all the flashbacks had this terrible, awful DI high con video look (the quickest way to make 35mm look like DV is to crunch the contrast), but other than that it was nicely lit in an unobtrusive way.
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#6 Michael Nash

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 05:50 PM

For commercials the color correction is typically done in the telecine transfer and/or post, but there are some DP's who prefer to create the look mostly in camera.

The bleach-bypass look did come into vogue within the last ten years, but I still see plenty of commercials that have a variety of looks depending on the message. Advertisers still seem fond of bright, colorful clean images to catch the viewer's eye and make their products look good. That's never gone away.

It's funny that people here are mentioning "CSI" in the same breath with "muted color," because all three CSI shows rely very heavily on strong color! They are indeed high contrast with crushed blacks, but they all use very rich color (the Vegas lab always has a strong yellow kicker, for instance). The NY show started off with muted blue tones, but CBS overhauled the show after the first season and brougth the color back to a more normal palette.
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#7 Hal Smith

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Posted 03 April 2006 - 10:36 PM

It's funny that people here are mentioning "CSI" in the same breath with "muted color," because all three CSI shows rely very heavily on strong color! They are indeed high contrast with crushed blacks, but they all use very rich color (the Vegas lab always has a strong yellow kicker, for instance). The NY show started off with muted blue tones, but CBS overhauled the show after the first season and brougth the color back to a more normal palette.

Aha! My wife watches CSI reruns on Sunday night - that's when I've been watching CSI's. They're probably the original series because they sure look blue.
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#8 Michael Nash

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Posted 04 April 2006 - 03:51 AM

Aha! My wife watches CSI reruns on Sunday night - that's when I've been watching CSI's. They're probably the original series because they sure look blue.


The show has undergone some changes in its look since the first season. If you're catching first season reruns in the UK, that might explain the discrepancy.
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#9 EricUlbrich

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Posted 06 April 2006 - 04:56 AM

hey adam. Inside man's flashbacks were not compressed in post. They were cross-processed. Check AC this month. I kinda liked it. I mean it surley gave the pallete a new taste when it was cut in.
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