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A Study in Contrasts (No, Literally): What Look is the Right One for Your Project?

“Skillful use of contrast requires both artistic creativity and practical technique. You need to understand both if you want to use contrast effectively in your filmmaking.”

Read the full article here: How to Craft Visual Style Using High- and Low-Contrast Looks

“Contrast can be applied to our images in many ways, goes by many names, and is influenced by a huge variety of tools, from the cameras we shoot with and the monitors we use, to the codecs and delivery platforms we choose,” writes Cullen Kelly in the frame.io tutorial, “How to Craft Visual Style Using High- and Low-Contrast Looks.”

Read more: Understanding the Look of Joker

Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck in Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures and BRON Creative’s “Joker,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Photo by Niko Tavernise.

“With its rich contrast and saturated filmic color palette, Joker’s look plays a huge role in the film’s unique tone,” Kelly explains.

Read more: Understanding the Look of Parasite

Mr. Park (Sun-kyun Lee) and Yeon-kyo Park (Yeo-jeong Jo) in "Parasite" Courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment
Mr. Park (Sun-kyun Lee) and Yeon-kyo Park (Yeo-jeong Jo) in “Parasite” Courtesy of NEON CJ Entertainment

“The look of Parasite diverges from typical Hollywood films,” writes Kelly, “but it beautifully serves the story with its intentionality and consistency.”

Read more: Understanding the Look of Chernobyl

Stellan Skarsgård, Jared Harris in 'Chernobyl.' Photo by Liam Daniel/HBO
Stellan Skarsgård, Jared Harris in ‘Chernobyl.’
Photo by Liam Daniel/HBO

“Beyond these technical details, contrast majorly influences the creative qualities of an image,” Cullen continues. “But does that mean achieving ‘great’ contrast in your image is simply a matter of subjective taste, beyond objective principles or best practices?

First Look: Wes Anderson’s New Film, The French Dispatch

Bill Murray and Pablo Pauly in the film THE FRENCH DISPATCH. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

“Wes Anderson is well known for his use of low-con [low-contrast] looks,” Kelly points out.

“Filmmakers tend to think about contrast like this far too often, but experienced colorists know better. No art form is devoid of meaningful conventions and proven methodologies, and color grading is no exception.

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Read more: Understanding the Look of Jojo Rabbit

Thomasin McKenzie and Roman Griffin Davis in the film JOJO RABBIT. Photo by Kimberley French. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

“That means that skillful use of contrast requires both artistic creativity and practical technique. You need to understand both if you want to use contrast effectively in your filmmaking.” Read the full article here.

Read the full article here: How to Craft Visual Style Using High- and Low-Contrast Looks

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