Based on different scene and story, color grading is a good way to enhance the storytelling and create different feelings.
The first scene is about Lenny is checking Mr. Sergeant’s position. I wanted to emphasize Lenny’s cautiousness on his face because his emotions are the key point in this scene. I increased the lights, saturation and contrasts to make the image look more contrast. Lenny’s facial expression is also more clear and obvious on screen.
In order to turn the scene into a suspense and thriller mood, blue is one of the most suitable colors for these genres. Here’s an example from 2014 American action thriller film John Wick. The scene looks blue and green to make viewers feel a bit scared and anxious.
I lowered the temperature, decreased the highlights and shadows, increased the whites, and enhanced blue color on the shadow and highlight tint. After the color grading, this scene looks like Lenny is chasing by someone. Viewers are also worried about Lenny’s safety.
Films from the same genre do not mean that they have to be in the same color. Here’s an example from 2014 American historical thriller film The Imitation Game. The scene looks a bit orange because of its historical background.
In order to give the Lenny scene a historical feeling, I increased the temperature, decreased the tint and slightly enhanced the color between yellow and green on the shadow and highlight tint. It seems like the scene is in a memory.
The second scene is about Lenny is looking at his watch on the corridor. I did the basic correction show Lenny’s facial expression more clear. I increased the shadows and decreased both whites and blacks. The color looks brighter in this scene.
I wanted to give the suspense feeling to this scene too. However, as there’s a white wall behind Lenny here, I couldn’t just adapted the previous grading into this scene. I enhanced blue color on the shadow tint and decreased the tint, highlights and lights. It make viewers think that there’s someone standing behind him.
I also did a tiny adjustment to give a historical feel to this scene. I enhanced the orange color on the shadow tint and decreased the highlights and saturation. The color is brown and orange than the previous one. It makes viewers think that it happened long time ago. The brown and orange color also add a sad feeling to the scene.
The last scene is about Lenny (Pooya) looks back after hearing Mr. Sergeant (Amy) calling him on the staircase. As I want the two characters be more obvious in this scene, I decreased the highlights an increased the saturation and contrast. After the color grading, Lenny’s outline is more stand out obviously. Viewers will look at him first.
In order to present ‘old memory’ in a different way, I increased the contrast and decreased the saturation for this scene. Comparing the black and white image to the previous brown and orange image, the color contrast is much larger. It gives viewers a stronger impression. Also, the sadness created in this color grading do help to pass the feeling to viewers.
Finally, I increased the temperature and decreased all blacks, whites, contrast and highlights to make it look like a farewell scene. It wasn’t related to the original plot but I just wanted to know how powerful color grading is. In this image, the two characters look like a couple who are going to leave each other.
From those experiments I did in color grading, I realized that color really affect the message we want to express from the scene. Also, different color grades can lead to the same feelings, we can be more creative in editing.