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Hello all,


I am in my final year of studying film production and I am currently doing research about cinematography and color grading.

I am trying to find out more about the collaboration/ workflow between the DP and the Colorist and the issues regarding the authority over the look. I am also looking into whether new, aspiring cinematographers should be their own colorists.


I was wondering if you could please share your opinions about this from your experiences so far.

As a Cinematographer, how were your collaborations with Colorists ? (and vice-versa).

What can DPs/Colorists do to ensure they can work together successfully?

If you are working both as a Cinematographer and a Colorist, why did you choose to have both roles and how difficult was the transition from cinematography to color grading?


Your help would be much appreciated!

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As a cinematographer working on mainly low budget narrative and medium budget commercial/corporate work, I don't often have the luxury of working with a talented colorist. Especially on the narrative end, which I mostly do because I am passionate about the material and because of the opportunity to do more ambitious work, I take on the responsibility of protecting the look all the way to the end. Otherwise, what's the point of taking on a passion project in the first place? Therefore, I find myself doing much of the final color work by necessity. On the rare occasion that I do get to work with a talented colorist, I like to either supervise the session and collaborate, or if I'm not available I will send detailed notes and stills to communicate intent.


One terrible experience I had was shooting a bigger budget commercial where I was not invited to the color session with the director and client, then getting all kinds of notes after the fact about diffusion filter artifacts that they apparently ended up compositing around. None of this was communicated in prep or on the day. They pretty much did whatever they wanted with the raw material and that was that. You definitely feel like you were hired to just push a button in those situations. So I think communication is key.

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