Colored by Chris Jacobson



I came to SUITS after the pilot got pickup to series for the USA network. At the time the look of the show was a bit edgy and ground-breaking in comparison to what the network was used to broadcasting. The network's standard look was blue skies, lots of color and not too much contrast, light-hearted. SUITs was dark, extremely contrasty, colorful but muted and stylized and edgy. This was done on purpose and everyone seemed to love it.

I prefer to work in Linear and then use the Log controls to tighten up the image

- Chris Jacobson -

When I came on SUITS, the Pilot had already been colored by another colorist and the basic look of the show was generally set. Through the many episodes, the show's look has evolved into what it is today. Now, I would describe the visual universe of the show as clean, tight, bold and sharp, a lot like the charters of the show. Rich contrast, saturated and crisp, no filters, curves or noise reduction.

Blue steel look

Season 5 that I'm currently working on is shot on the Alexa Amira 2K. Previous years it was shot on the normal Alexa at HD. I introduced more of a, what I like to call, "Blue Steel" look for the office. Teal blue is a big part of this look, but when I have time to create “a look”, I approach the image from several different ways in order to compare which approach will achieve the desired effect.

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I agree, it's a great show and I've always been excited about the look. Lots of students have come in to one of my Resolve classes with the goal of learning the Suits-look. I always joke that, if they can find it, they'll make a fortune grading corporate videos. 

i've just watched a bunch of season 5 episodes and have to say: Once again, great job! Thanks for the article,  it's a great insight in the look of a modern classic. 

i do have a question about your "no noise-reduction" comment. Is the camera deliberately pushed a stop to avoid additional noise? Even the Alexa footage I encounter is rarely this noise-free without me helping it.

Edited by Remco Hekker
Forgot something
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Abby- sorry for the late reply. I rarely check in here. The new direction in season 6 was basically...we went darker and had created a new look for the prison and went back to the Alexa.



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Remco- Thank you for the kind words and its great to know I have inspired some colorist to push the boundaries of their creativity. Its funny how some of the most basic seeming looks are actually the most complicated to build.

The show aesthetic is very clean so adding any noise reduction or softening will infect the viewers sub conscience. We have occasionally introduced filters in camera but ultimately did away with them for the same reasons.

about the no NR---One trick I use is to compress the raw negative before I start my primary base grade, this allows me to still stretch and pop the image without degradation and introduction of noise. You would be surprised at how much the codecs and networks compress the final image, which ultimately help to reduce the inherent grain. There is some trial and error here to see what you can get away with...but i still get surprised as I use the distribution pipeline as one of my tools.

I usually work backwards from where and how will the image be displayed and reverse engineer the workflow and tool set from there.

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On 6/14/2017 at 6:28 PM, chris jacobson said:

One trick I use is to compress the raw negative before I start my primary base grade

Hi @chris jacobson

Thanks a lot for the insight!

Can you elaborate more on this?
I'm really curious about what you mean and how you accomplish it!



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@Tobia Montanari Lughi @Orash Rahnema @Craig Harris

If you go and watch Chris's video run through under Courses he goes through his node tree and you can see how he compresses the image in his first node. Also I think by separated primaries he may just mean color separation in his base grade which is on the second node after the compression. He performs a pretty straight forward color balance on the second node with nothing fancy or out of the ordinary that I could see.

Hope this helps. 

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