New ways to create the perfect look for preview and dailies 7 min read

Livegrade is an on-set color grading software for the camera department. In order to maintain and communicate the DP’s creative intent on the film set you can create and adjust looks with Livegrade fast and efficiently. The created look metadata can enable benefits downwards in post production, for instance during dailies creation and VFX. 

For graded dailies creation, looks created in Livegrade can easily be transferred to Silverstack Lab. The provided looks act as a starting point for rendering dailies from camera original raw data into multiple formats.

Livegrade and Silverstack Lab just added new color grading nodes and the option to adjust the intensity of grading nodes, so that color grading in Livegrade and Silverstack Lab gets boosts in speed, precision, and flexibility.

Please Note: The new nodes (and the amount slider) are available in the current versions of Livegrade Pro, Livegrade Studio and Silverstack Lab in the following grading modes: CDL Advanced, ACES CDL Advanced, Amira Compatible, ARRI CAP Compatible, Varicam Compatible, Freestyle and Freestyle ACES.

RGB Curves – Flexible curve adjustments on all channels

The new “RGB Curves” come with two different modes to choose from:

The “RGB-Based” mode allows to apply curves on the separate color channels red, green and blue, as well as on a RGB-master curve (all three channels at once). In this mode luma and saturation change in conjunction with the manipulated RGB color values which is not desired in all use cases.

The “Luma-Based” mode offers a more advanced and filmic approach. In this mode the luma channel is fully independent from the color channels. This allows to create popular looks like bleach bypass more easily, as a luma channel curve avoids over-saturation when increasing the contrast as it occurs when using a RGB-master curve. Also curve adjustments on the color channels red, green and blue only affect the associated color and preserve the overall luma and saturation values, which usually creates more naturalistic colors compared to RGB-based curve grades.

Bleach Bypass look created with “Luma” curve

A special new color curve tool is the “Custom Color Curve”, where you can choose a specific target hue to be modified. Instead of applying three conventional curve adjustments on the red, green and blue color channels, the “Custom Color Curve” allows to achieve the same result in one curve, so that creating a color curve effect is much simpler, faster and at the same time even more precise. This way building creative looks like “orange & teal” is super-easy and can be done in seconds.

Orange & Teal look created with “Custom” color curve

HSL Curves – Secondary color correction live on set

The new “HSL Curves” unlock the power of secondary color correction live on set. Five different parameter pairs allow users to modify specific colors depending on the parameters hue, saturation and luma by applying precise bezier curve adjustments:

  • Hue vs. Hue: The DP wants a red-tone to be less blueish, or doesn’t like the color tint on the skin tones? This is where the “Hue vs. Hue” curve can help quickly. By choosing an appropriate range of target hues and creating a bezier curve you can drag a specific color range to any other and get rid of undesired color casts with ease.
Mapping blue to green with “Hue vs. Hue” secondary correction in HSL Curves
  • Hue vs. Sat: The DP wants to increase the blue in the sky, or wants to decrease saturation of a colorful object, so that it doesn’t attract too much attention? This is where a “Hue vs. Sat” correction can help wonders. Create a curve and drag it along the y-axis to increase or decrease saturation of your custom set target hue range. As other hues remain untouched, this is a great way to isolate specific objects in order to emphasize them or to drag attention more towards other objects.
  • Hue vs. Lum: Instead of modifying the saturation, the DP prefers to change the lightness of a specific object? Maybe the face of a talent should pop out a little more? By creating a “Hue vs. Luma” curve this can be done fast and easily. 

Note that the “Hue vs.” corrections work well with colorful objects or areas with a specific hue that does not appear in other parts of the picture. For less saturated and colorful areas it may be better to apply a “Lum vs. Sat” or “Sat vs. Sat” correction.

  • Lum vs. Sat: The DP wants to reduce the color cast in the shadows or highlights, or wants to add more vibrancy to the scene? Decrease saturation in the shadows by creating a curve on the left side of the “Lum vs. Sat” graph, and decrease saturation by applying a curve on the right side. For adding vibrancy create a curve in the middle of graph and drag it up.
Adding vibrancy by increasing the midtones on the “Lum vs. Sat” curve
  • Sat vs. Sat: The DP likes the saturation level in the less saturated areas but wants to decrease saturation for some oversaturated objects? By creating a “Sat vs. Sat” curve on the right side of the graph and dragging it down you are done within just a few clicks.

Depending on the use case a secondary color correction may work better after the output LUT, so it might be beneficial to change the order of the “HSL Curves” node and apply it after the “3D LUT” node, if you can’t achieve your desired result in the default node order.

Amount Slider – Save time by fine tuning the intensity of grades

Having created a lot of aesthetic and complex looks, it makes sense to re-use created grades and presets for other shots in terms of consistency and speed. But as scene, lighting, lens, and camera settings vary from shot to shot, not every look can just be pasted without having to go into the grade controls and fine tune adjustments.

Instead of having to re-draw a curve or spending a lot of time to change certain parameters in the nodes, Livegrade and Silverstack Lab now provide the possibility to adjust the intensity of a grading node quickly by using the “Amount Slider”.

Adjusting the intensity of a grading node with the Amount Slider

Adjusting the intensity of a node with the “Amount Slider” is particularly useful when you add an effect, that is a little too extreme but goes into the right direction. For example, if you have a rather extreme s-curve applied to your shots, you can do the shot-by-shot fine tuning by quickly adjusting the “Amount Slider” to achieve the perfect intensity for each grade.

Communicating Complex Looks With Other Departments

In a future blog post we will discuss how looks that utilize the mentioned grading nodes can easliy be shared with colleagues – no matter if they use Pomfort applications or third party software products.

Summary

The new powerful color grading tools in Livegrade and Silverstack Lab enable DITs and dailies operators to create and maintain the DP’s intended look fast and easily, and at the same time more precisely. The DP’s creativity is no longer limited when it comes to look creation for on-set preview and dailies creation. 

The Reference for Professional Look Creation

Check out how Livegrade is the way to have colors on set and beyond!

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About the Author
Wanja is a product manager for Pomfort's on-set applications. With a longtime background in the film industry, he puts a special focus on the user’s experience and constantly works on evolving the products to ensure integration with recent workflow requirements and new technologies.