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WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO COLOUR GRADE COMPANY FILMS?

One of the many qualities that make a true professional production stand out from the rest is colour control; in particular light and colour grading. Lighting and colour grading has now become as important in high-end Corporate Films as it is within the epic films industry. Doing so introduces the appropriate intonation and atmosphere for viewers to better understand the company or product.

Its absence is particularly noticeable where filmed in non-studio filming environments. Unfortunately it's not as simple as just lightening or tinting. With video, the image is constantly moving. That introduces added complications because variations and position of subject(s) between frames need to be catered for.

So what is colour grading?
Colour grading adjusts small areas of light over part(s) of the image during postproduction. Scenes from many films and TV dramas such as Harry Potter and CSI are all heavily colour graded to create the atmosphere that producers want.

Its importance in 'higher end' corporate film production has become significantly more widespread within recent years and is particularly crucial when modifying footage that, for practical reasons, had to be filmed under difficult or restricted conditions, as examples we'll see below.

Those 'higher end' producers therefore recognise this is now an essential part of interpreting the overall perception and feel that prospects should experience from watching the film about the company or product they are promoting.

Examples of what we mean
 
Colour grading before : Spin class
Colour grading after : Spin class
This fitness spin class is conducted in low level lighting. The room couldn't be lit and the camera couldn't have its aperture or exposure adjusted without compromising the level of graining (speckles or trails appearing in the image). Adding different tones to different parts of the frame highlighted the brighter and darker areas, brought out more of the natural colours, giving the whole scene added vibrancy and depth.

Colour grading before : Office
Colour grading before : Office
In this example we wanted to portray an atmosphere of thoughtful creative design process. In reality the company offices are brightly and evenly lit. We therefore added multiple lighting effects to highlight the main subject, darker shadow areas and blurs for background and then finally colour graded to give a cinematic feel.

Colour grading before : Factory
Colour grading after : Factory
Whilst lighting levels in factories are often good, the subtle tones emitted are more noticeable on film than in real life. Here, both fluorescent lighting and cold temperature emphasised green levels. Due to the constant movement of forklift trucks, we weren't able to set up studio lights. Colour grading brought the ambient colour closer to white. The presenter's face and hair was also given a warm glow with shadows to prevent it appearing flat.

Colour grading before : Event speaker
Colour grading: Predicted trend for 2014
This example again shows a situation where studio-type lighting could not be imposed upon the scene. Several different colour grading effects overlaid each other, adding richer tones, facial flesh tone with shadow and hair highlights all to give depth.

Colour grading before : Medieval Castle
Colour grading after : Medieval Castle
We wanted to preserve the low level candle-lit medieval character inside this castle so real lighting had to be minimal. Colour grading maintained the dim lighting effect in the furthest background and added a warm temperature, whilst raising it in the foreground. It was particularly important to give the presenter's face a warm flesh tone and hair backlight.

Colour grading before : Premises tour
Colour grading after : Premises tour
The layout of this premises tour meant that it could only be lit by a fixed single diffuser from behind the travelling steadycam. This offered only limited ambient intensity, the effectiveness of which reduced as the distance increased. Colour grading introduced a warmer tone to the background whilst the facial features were again highlighted and shadowed.

Conclusion
Of course, in our opinion, content is always the most important element of any production but camerawork and postproduction are required to give technical polish. When you next look at a company video, check out whether the image appears entirely flat, over/under exposed in certain areas or whether the tones represent the situation or place being featured in the way that the company being promoted would want you to perceive it.

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If you're planning a production that requires on location filming the issues are not always apparent from the outset. A 'high-end' Production Company will have the resources to cope with whatever may arise. Why not give CorpFilms [UK] a call first?
"It's what we're known for. It's what we do well".

CorpFilms [UK] specialises in 'high-end' corporate film production. * Company Promotions * Web and Point of Sale adverts * Training, Employee Inductions and e-Learning * Product 'How to' User Guides & Demonstrations * Live Events and Award Ceremonies * Interactive Interviews
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