[Tig] a question about grads.

Kevin Shaw kevs
Thu Dec 30 15:30:29 GMT 2004

Hi Rob,
Good to see the TIG back up! Seasons Greetings to all.

> what is the difference between gradating in camera and gradating in
> telecine 

This is a question I have pondered myself. Here are my conclusions.
Essentially the difference is of course what is recorded on film. Therefore

-if it is an Neutral Density, and/or polarizer and the sky is bright, the
OCN will be better exposed, giving more control in grading. The grain could
still be enhanced by "stretching" the image.

- A color filter will reduce the exposure of other light frequencies
(colors) e.g.. A coral filter will reduce the blueness in the sky. Of course
that is good if you want the coral, but the blue cannot be restored in
grading later. Blue can be added, but the original blue of the sky has been
lost, because it was not exposed.

Not using a filter will often result in the sky being too bright (dense on
the OCN), which can be corrected of course. But the result is likely to be
more "noisy" than "grainy". Same is true of using a coral filter and
correcting back to blue.

Of course the advantage of a grading system is that the grad can be
carefully positioned, tracked and graded to any density and color. With
secondaries or a self key it can even be placed behind the foreground. For
this too work, the sky is best left a little hot, making it easier to

I did some tests last year in Miami with and without a polarizer, and then
adding Grads in grading. The only disadvantage is that the sky will change
dramatically if the camera position relative to the sun is changed. And in
the case you describe pointing at the sun, the polar will have no effect.

My advice- use an ND grad to correctly expose the sky, then add the sky
vignette and grain in grading. Use a polarizer where possible.

I suppose the luxury of testing is out of the question?

All the best

Kevin Shaw                 consultant colorist
kevs at finalcolor.com          www.finalcolor.com

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