Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Anatomy of a Grade - Episode 09 - The "Bleachy Western Look"

Well, it's been a crazy 5 months since my last post here on the blog, lots of work and a bit of travel to boot have made my web updates a bit infrequent alas. BUT, I've got plenty of content to post and hopefully will be adding a number of new entries over the next two weeks here in between projects. So without further adieu, I give you the latest of the Anatomy of a Grade series:

I often get asked to do the "Beach Bypass" or "Bleach Reduction" effect in the color suite (and by often, I mean, every other day, by practically every other person). The problem is that these terms mean a million different things to a million different people and no two are ever the same. Someone may reference "Saving Private Ryan" as their idea of bleach bypass while another may reference "Three Kings", both use varitions of the "bleach bypass" technique but both look very different and used different methods (both photochemical and digital) to achieve their looks. I'm always wary when someone says they want this look as its never as easy as pulling in a "preset grade" and slapping it on. So I ALWAYS make sure to ask, "What does bleach bypass meant to you? Can you give me a film or reference image that conveys the "look" you're thinking of." Once we start to narrow down the specifics, then we can start designing "our vesion" of the bleach bypass effect for the particular project at hand. Beacause of this I have about 20 different variations on the "bleach bypass look" that I've used and probably about 20 more spinoffs from a handful of those as well.

For this particular shot, DP Andrew Russo want a more aggressive look, and I immediately thought that a "beachy, contrasty" look for the scene might play well with the subject matter and the overall mood as well. What we came up with was a hybrid "bleach/sepia spinoff" that I really fell in love. You don't often see a western done in this particular style and its always great to come  up with something fresh in the grading suite.


  1. Superb! Generally I never read whole articles but the way you wrote this information is simply amazing and this kept swtor credits, aion kinah, diablo 3 paragon leveling my interest in reading and I enjoyed it.

  2. Hi Chris,

    I really like this. Can I ask what software that is you're using? Im strictly an Adobe man due to the high costs of investing in different packages


    - Louie

  3. Louie, I use DaVinci Resolve exclusively to Color Correct. You can get a free version of Resolve Lite at Blackmagic Design's website. Adobe's speedgrade could definitely still do any of the concepts that you saw in any of the grade demos though.

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