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omar robles

Euro commercial color grade look:

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Hello Members:

I am a novice when it comes to color grading so I apologize if my inquiry seems dumb, but I am obssesed with finding this out.  I noticed that a lot of commercials and music videos from Spain, Mexico city and some european countries have this similar type of look which I describe as the "euro" look.  It has a very organic film like look to it.   I have spoken to a few DPS and colorists from some of those videos which I admire and they downplay their work a little.  For a while I believed they used special filtration on the lenses but one of my favorite videos the DP told me they shot it clean.  Besides the obvious answers that it is lighting,  production design what is that element that i am missing.

https://vimeo.com/371955754

https://vimeo.com/200411652

 

 

Thanks in advance

 

O.R

 

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It's a more subtle take - but the first clip is pretty close to the look. 

The clips all exhibit mixed colour temperatures with warmer and blue/green on screen at the same time

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I think there is a more classical, late 90’s - early 00’s narrative film aesthetic to the lighting and framing that you don’t see as much of right now in US commercials. Here, either high-key, super-slick, or rougher faux doc-style is currently more popular. 

The first commercial is really a short film. Has a gorgeous ‘color negative film’ look with film grain, controlled mixed color temps, soft low-key lighting with carefully selected practicals and blue moonlight, single-camera style. It could be 35mm, though I’m not seeing much red halation on the highlights so it could also be Alexa. Looks to be spherical, with some interesting imperfect optics (maybe Cookes?). Tasteful handheld and artful frames like shooting thru rainy windows that took some time to set up. You can tell it likely had a decent budget and shooting schedule.

The second commercial is quite a bit simpler, and doesn’t have the rich ‘film look’ applied. You can see the practicals are clipping a bit, probably an older Red or Sony camera. Desaturated overall, with haze and some big lights for ‘sunlight’ thru the windows. Some nice framing but no special ‘film look,’ to my eyes at least. 

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I think what you mean is more about lighting than grading. When I work for American & some Chinese Clients, they tend to be more afraid of darkness and mood. But every Client is a bit different. But it is true that some of these Clients ask for more "fill" on Set. And of course the same Guys will ask to get even more pop in the Grading as well. 

Well and Americans tend to be a little less reserved in their advertising and like it more loud?

 

Edited by Philip Reinhold
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Also, almost every US commercial I see these days is shot anamorphic and super shallow depth of field. But often not lit with much contrast or strong color design. I saw one recently for a jewelry brand where you could see the hard anamorphic vignette all the way around the frame as part of the look.The rest was center-framed, super shallow, desaturated mush.

The European ones seem to be a bit less in-your-face, I guess. What I like most is that they embrace shadows. Too often these days, I see projects lighting to high ISOs that don’t have deep shadows and are just flat looking. 

I’ve had some clients send me references that look cinematic with dramatic contrast. But then they say, ‘I want this feel, but not this look.’ They are afraid of not pleasing their bosses. It’s unfortunate because many of them have good instincts for beautiful images. When you get one who really wants to go for it, it’s a rare pleasure.

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On 12/1/2019 at 10:21 AM, omar robles said:

I have spoken to a few DPS and colorists from some of those videos which I admire and they downplay their work a little.

It's because the orange and teal thing has become a color grading trope at this point. Artists are always looking for the new new thing.

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