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Does anyone know if there is anything around that shows the techniques that Stefan Sonnenfeld uses? He always seems to get looks that other don't seem to be able create. yes they get close but its never quite the same. I've seen tutorials that show you how to create the 'blockbuster look' etc (teal and orange) but I remember reading a quote from Stefan saying that he sees these tutorials and says that they use too many nodes. He says he keeps it as simple as possible. Has anyone here actually seen him work and have an insight into his techniques?

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Yes I believe that the old color timing ways have a lot to teach us. People think because theres so many features in the software the they must use everything. The most valuable technique I've learnt is to use printer lights.

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In traditional color grading, you don't mess with a fixed gamma that has been determined for the project;   you adapt the images to that gamma. 

Added to this is the logarithmic response of the print stock (which has it's own unique palette) the light valve values, trims of the printer and even the influence of local water supplies used in compounding the developer.

This causes some interesting problems for the timer, who has to establish a uniform methodology of bending the subject matter to the will of the director and DP.

The difference between digital color grading and film timing is both aesthetic and locked in the physical properties of the respective mediums.

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7 hours ago, Frank Wylie said:

This causes some interesting problems for the timer, who has to establish a uniform methodology of bending the subject matter to the will of the director and DP.

At the same time, the unique palette of the print stock and the other parameters were often creative choices made by the production, so you could say that it was a part of the look development and supposed to be a great starting point for the color timers. Having said, (and what you are pointing out) it was not easy to control those elements so you could say it caused some interesting problems sometimes as well.

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Most of the linear primary tools will affect the mid range chroma levels in one way or another anyway. Even moving the luminance levels around will slightly affect the same values, unless you isolate them totally. I can't think about a reason why he doesn't want to touch those values directly, but he probably got his reasons. 

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I'd be interested to know that too. If you take the attached reference clip and look at it on the vector scope, he get a very narrow scope which seems desaturated because the colours seem to compressed but image feels so rich. Is he desaturating the image first then saturating specific narrow Hues? Am I making sense in what I'm trying to say? Also, when you say he keeps it simple with few nodes, is he doing multiple corrections within a node? Eg, log tools, hue vs hue, hue vs sat etc. Has Stefan or any of the other guys at CO3 (like you Tom) considered making a Masterclass on grading?

justice-league-trailer-1-hd-screencaps-68.jpgScreen Shot 2017-06-14 at 11.27.25 am.png

Edited by Peter
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On 6/14/2017 at 8:32 PM, Peter said:

I'd be interested to know that too. If you take the attached reference clip and look at it on the vector scope, he get a very narrow scope which seems desaturated because the colours seem to compressed but image feels so rich. Is he desaturating the image first then saturating specific narrow Hues? Am I making sense in what I'm trying to say? Also, when you say he keeps it simple with few nodes, is he doing multiple corrections within a node? Eg, log tools, hue vs hue, hue vs sat etc. Has Stefan or any of the other guys at CO3 (like you Tom) considered making a Masterclass on grading?

justice-league-trailer-1-hd-screencaps-68.jpgScreen Shot 2017-06-14 at 11.27.25 am.png

Probably, his zoom settings for his scope is different from yours. 

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Compared to focusing on a single scene, it is worth paying attention to the global color change, This is stef most powerful magic.my Immature feeling 😛

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Stefan doesn't give many interviews, but he did chat with Steve Hullfish's book The Art & Technique of Digital Color Correction, and I found a lot of what he said enlightening. My take is that Sonnenfeld works very quickly and uses simpler techniques than a lot of people suspect. He does extraordinarily good work, and there are few other people in Hollywood (and everywhere else) who grasp the importance of client relations, sales, business, and technology and have the ability to balance all of them the way Stefan Sonnenfeld does. 

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As I worked closely with Stefan for nearly 12 years,  what Tom said is correct , he keeps it simple and has great taste,  which any master colorist should possess. 

Edited by Mark Todd Osborne
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BTW, here's an interesting interview I missed a few months ago where Stefan was part of Panasonic's introduction of their new GZ2000 OLED display:

This is the longest I've ever heard Mr. Sonnenfeld speak about anything. 

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