Have you ever notice how a lots of films look sort of orangey? If you have, it’s not a coincidence. Many filmmakers love to use a orange and teal color grading, having earned the name “the blockbuster look” because so many Hollywood films use it. Why do filmmakers use the orange/teal look so much? Because it creates color contrasts between your subjects and the background because orange and teal are complementary colors.

So if you want get the blockbuster look to your videos, check out how Parker Walbeck applies it to his footage:



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The main reason why orange and teal are used is because skin tones usually sit more in the orange spectrum of the color wheel, so by pushing the shadows more into the blue, the color contrast between human subjects and the background goes up. The orange and teal grading also helps create depth in your footage says Walbeck. “… instead of using a shallow depth of field or different exposures of light, you are using color contrast to separate your subject from the background,” says Walbeck.

You can achieve this look by pushing more blues/teals into the shadows and pushing oranges/yellows into the highlights.

But Walbeck says that it can be tricky color grading the look into your footage, so he recommends using a LUT (Look Up Table). LUTs are preset color grading effects that you can apply to your footage. Now, you are still going to have to do some adjustments after you apply a LUT, since not all footage is the same.

And keep in mind that this effect may not be the best grade to apply to every shot. For instance, with landscape shots that have really lush greens, this grading will make your greens much more dull. However, it is great to use whenever you have humans in the shot, since it will contrast them from the background.

Lastly, Walbeck says to get the best results when using LUTS you should shoot in LOG because it will allow you to “retain more dynamic range and overall detail so when you apply your LUT, you have more control over your image.”

Sean Berry is a blogger and Videomaker Associate Editor.


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