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Activity Forums Adobe After Effects 1970 Color Grade common rules

  • 1970 Color Grade common rules

    Posted by Matteo Ferreccio on April 17, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Hello all. I’m doing color grading process on a short film shot with a Canon 7D.
    It has been accurately shot and composited as it were created in 1975. By now, all compositing is done and it’s time of color grading.

    I’m not looking for plug-ins or grain-dust-scratches adds (i’ll add them later), what I am lookin for are basic rules of the color-look back those days. As an example, film like “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” or “Straw Dogs” or “Once upon a time in the West”.

    I think about playing with Levels, Curves and Hue/Sat. But, by now, I’m not pleased with the result. Footage looks like too modern and only warmed-up.

    So, any hints? Thank you very much

    Kk Akuoku replied 8 years, 6 months ago 4 Members · 7 Replies
  • 7 Replies
  • Darby Edelen

    April 17, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    I’m not going to recommend totally emulating a three strip process, but you can get close without TOO much work.

    Start by splitting your footage into Cyan, Magenta and Yellow components. I like to do this with Shift Channels turning Red, Green and Blue to Full Off (for C, M and Y respectively).

    If you’re working in 32bpc (which I recommend) then apply a Curves effect to each of the component layers and set their blend modes to Add. Your footage will look blown out at this point but you can easily return to its original range by adding an adjustment layer above the CMY layers, applying a Levels effect and reducing the Output White to 0.5.

    If you’re not working in 32bpc then you’ll need to apply this Levels effect to each of the component layers (CMY) individually.

    Now experiment with the RGB curves on each of the CMY layers, this is roughly analogous to changing the response curves of each film strip in a 3 color process.

    There’s no attempt to emulate a dye transfer process here, but I think the results are pretty good without this step.

    On the upper adjustment layer I’d recommend adding a very small blur (less than a pixel radius) as most 1970s films I’ve seen have a slightly soft look. Also the RGB Curves on the CMY layers don’t allow you to adjust saturation very well so I’d recommend either applying a Hue/Saturation effect to the adjustment layer or using a round tripped RGB -> YUV + Curves + YUV -> RGB workflow to adjust saturation.

    Darby Edelen

  • Matteo Ferreccio

    April 17, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Thank you very much Dave, I’ll check it out.

  • Matteo Ferreccio

    April 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Thank you very much Darby, your method looks a bit difficult, but it could very likely be what I need.

    And, yes, I’m working in 32bpc. So, i’ll try to follow your steps, maybe I’ll ask some clarification later, that’s ok?

    Again, thank you very much

  • Chris Wright

    April 17, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    i like that Darby, you don’t really need color finesse to add cyan.

    here’s my attempt at 3 strip. In Dirty Harry 70’s, they added brown to 3 strip film.

  • Matteo Ferreccio

    April 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Well, I duplicated 3 times the footage layer; then, I applied to each layer “Shift Channels” and turned to “full off” Red for layer 1 (let’s call it C layer), Green for layer 2 (let’s call it M layer), Blue for layer 3 (let’s call it Y layer).
    Set blending mode to Add of all 3 layers. Added on top an Adjustement Layer, applied “Levels”, set Output White to 0.5.
    All of this follows your description, and footage is, as you wrote, perfectely unchanged, but “splitted” for a cool color correction;
    So, it’s time to apply “Curves” to each CMY layer:

    could you write me some hints, like, i don’t know, “bring up Red mids on the C layer, bring down Blue mids in the same or maybe another layer…draw an ‘S’ on the Green channel of Y layer…” to help me achieve that particular 1970 look?

    Thank you very much,

  • Darby Edelen

    April 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    Since you’ve separated them into CMY components you should start by just playing with the RGB curves. Throw an S-Curve on the Cyan layer and see what you get. The shadows should darken and take on a red tone while the highlights brighten and become more cyan. I would only move to the individual RGB components in the Curves effect if you can’t get the look you want with the master RGB curve.

    You could theoretically do any of this with only one copy of your footage and one Curves effect, but splitting it into CMY components makes it easier to achieve the kind of color interactions you should expect to see from a subtractive color process like Technicolor.

    Here are a couple of example images. The left side of the image is altered and the right is original.

    With an S-Curve on the cyan layer:

    With an S-Curve on the magenta layer and the range compressed on the yellow layer:

    Darby Edelen

  • Kk Akuoku

    November 5, 2015 at 6:12 am

    I’m honestly dazzled by how you’re able to pull that look off. Did you use a LUT prior to CMY separation or is this just basic corrected footage? Is it even achievable with a LUT?

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