Experimenting with new post-processing inspired by film.

As you may have noticed, I’ve been focusing on video just as much as photography in the past year. Until recently, I’ve been coloring and processing video the same way I’ve always processed my photos. I’ve always adopted a very “punchy” feel when processing images, bumping saturation, contrast, clarity, and even adding a slight vignette. ALX-0985

Having never studied film formally combined with producing for web and advertising rather than feature films and cinematographic purposes, the color grading in my videos clearly comes from my time spent in Lightroom. In addition to that, when I capture video in the air, I’m inclined to “punchify” the video as well to further accentuate the new perspectives and angles. ALX-29

Now that I’ve spent more time watching and studying other film styles, I’ve started experimenting with alternative processing styles. Although I haven’t moved these experiments into Premiere CC yet, I’d like to share my progress thus far.

One picture stood out in my mind as a perfect example to play with as it can be processed for so many different ways. The original goal was to use it as a full-page spread in a publication, but the more I stare at it, the more it could look like a still taken from video.


This shot was taken in Falmouth MA on the Falmouth Road Race. Although this wasn’t during the actual race, Marc LeBlanc and I swung through to get some images to use for marketing the race. At first I really enjoyed this image, but looking at it 4 months later I’ve come up with some new ideas.


At first it’s very similar, and probably hard to see the difference. When I was working on this image, I was working towards an image that I could look at and expect it to be part of a video. To do that, I was trying to develop a more cinematographic look. ALX-3436-Edit-2ALX-3436-Edit-2-2

I liked where this was going so I tacked another one. After applying the same effects to this image (edited on right) I found myself preferring the new one over the old due to the increased Blue Channel Saturation and definition in the foreground. It’s a little “greener” but I think I’m okay with that.

In the end, I’m far from coming to a conclusion on what’s “better”. Every image is different and how I process it will depend on the purpose of the image. For editorial images like these, I’m more likely to use this new look to make things blend better with video, but for portraits and I’m inclined to stick with the “punchy” feel I’ve been using. Reasoning being that an editorial piece is likely to have a video accompaniment so I try to maintain uniformity in the various media.

I’m sure I’ll play with these more, and I’m excited to get more into cinematographic color grading in Premiere CC.

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