Escaping the Color Crutch - Black and White

May 31, 2017

There has been a trend in Hollywood film making that, for the last decade or so, has steadily changed the look of our blockbusters. It’s a pervasive change, but one that has happened gradually enough that many people aren’t even aware that it has been happening, quite literally in front of their eyes. So then, a warning: If you haven’t noticed, and don’t want the way you look at movies to be changed forever, skip the next paragraph.

The change I’m thinking of is the move to digital color grading, and in particular the Hollywood penchant for grading movies — especially those big-budget blockbusters — so that their colors are concentrated within an orange-and-blue palette (think of it like a giant Instagram filter for movies). The reasoning makes sense on paper: contrasting and complementary colors pop onscreen, creating vivid images that make our fast-cutting films go down like simple syrup. Look at a color wheel, and you’ll see that orange and blue lie directly across from each other, and for most movies — but especially anything that might have, oh, say, lots of explosions against a blue sky — the orange and blue scheme can be easily applied across a range of subjects. It’s a way to help give a film a cohesive visual look, but like so many good things in Hollywood it has been pushed to absurd degree (see — if you can bear it — any five minutes from Michael Bay’s series of Transformers pictures). When director George Miller’s post-apocalyptic Mad Max: Fury Road arrived in 2015, it too was draped in oranges, teals, and cool blues — although in this case, the scheme actually felt fresh. We were so used to imagining the end of the world as bleached out and lifeless (a look that harkens back to Miller’s own 1979 Mad Max film) that such vibrant colors gave this dying world a hint of throbbing life. But now that film is undergoing a major change in its appearance.

This week, Mad Max: Fury Road ditches its rich colors in a special show of a “Black & Chrome” edition of the action favorite. Screening at the Amherst Cinema this Friday at 9:45 p.m., this return to the post-apocalyptic world of Mad Max — the shattered ex-cop whose life as a family man was destroyed in the original series — finds Max (Tom Hardy) getting swept up in the escape of warrior guard Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) and the Five Wives, who are on the run from the tyrant Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne, who played a different villain in the original Mad Max film over 30 years ago).

LookLabs has always loved the look of Black and White film. Many colorists simply turn down the saturation to achieve the effect. Sadly, that gives you a flat image without the personality of actual Black and White film. Our SpeedLooks Artistic collection contains a set of 7 Noir LUTs that were derived from multiple Black and White negative film stocks. If you own SpeedLooks, and haven't used Noir yet for a project, be sure to try-out any or all of the seven Noir variants to see what you can easily achieve…you won’t be disappointed!!!

To read the full article from Valley Advocate by Jack Brown entitled Cinemadope: Escaping the Color Crutch, click on this link:

To view the Mad Max: Fury Road "Black & Chrome" trailer, check it out below.

Check out to learn more about SpeedLooks and how you can easily achieve a great color finish on your next project.

The Davinci Resolve Mini Panel Review

May 31, 2017

Why bother with a control surface? There are lots of good reasons to use a physical controller to do things with a computer that in theory can easily be done with a mouse and keyboard. For colour grading and sound mixing there is one overriding reason that control surfaces make such a big difference and that is simply that you often need to be adjusting multiple parameters while looking at the pictures rather than the controls.

The DaVinci Resolve Mini Panel takes this to a whole new level with its convenient size, intuitive design and deep integration with Resolve. The first thing you notice when taking it out of the box is the build quality. It’s a solid piece of professional gear and while it is small compared to the full sized Advanced Panel, it still has a decent sized footprint on a desktop and enough space between the controls so that you’re not constantly bumping one when adjusting another.

Unlike the smaller Micro Panel, the Mini requires its own power connection but this can be either AC or DC. The other side of this though, is that a USB-C powered laptop like the new MacBook Pro can actually be powered from the Mini Panel using the same cable as for control, making for a very clean and simple portable setup.

To read the entire review from News Shooter, click on the link:

Check out to learn more about SpeedLooks and how you can easily achieve a great color finish on your next project.

Tangent Panels and Sony's Capture One Pro 10

May 31, 2017

Color grading is one of the most powerful tools you have when it comes to elevating your images and video. One of the most frustrating and intimidating things about working with color is that it can often feel tedious and un-intuitive. Video editors often employ physical editing panels when color grading their work and now Tangent, one of the leading makings of video editing hardware, have brought support for Capture One Pro 10 to their system. The Element and the Ripple are not fundamentally all that different. The Ripple is fairly small, not quite as wide as a standard 10-key keyboard. It's made entirely of plastic so it's fairly light and, while it does feel well made, you do definitely notice that you are working with a piece of plastic hardware and not something more robust.

The Element is made up of four separate panels that can be used independently, as a single unit, or in whatever configuration you like. Each segment has different functionality to fit your precise needs. It also comes in this customized Pelican hard-case so you can haul it wherever your editing takes you. Oh and the build quality on the Element is absolutely outstanding. Every inch of it feels precise and futuristic and each panel has a solid heft to it that is, dare I say it, luxurious.

To read the entire review from F-Stoppers, click on this link: it's well worth the read.

Check out to learn more about SpeedLooks and how you can easily achieve a great color finish on your next project.

LookLabs Staff Pick - John Wick 2

May 31, 2017

"Let me start by saying this movie is one of my favorite sequels of all time - even better than the original" states chief LookLabs colorist Jeff August. In this next chapter following the 2014 hit, legendary hit-man John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is forced to back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins' guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome where he squares off against some of the world's deadliest killers. This simple premise allows the movie to show off its action and cinematic style.

John Wick 2 is simply gorgeous and chock full of crisp images with amazing color. Our new product, Digital Film Stock (soon to be released), would be a perfect place to start to easily achieve the look and feel of this movie - any of our Kodak DFS LUT's would do the job perfectly. Once applied, DFS will immediately give skin tones a filmic result. DFS will be shipping mid next month.

Check out the John Wick 2 official trailer:

Check out to learn more about SpeedLooks and how you can easily achieve a great color finish on your next project.

LookLabs Staff Pick - Anthropoid

May 25, 2017

ANTHROPOID is based on the extraordinary true story of "Operation Anthropoid," the code name for the Czechoslovakian operatives' mission to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich. Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution, was the Reich's third in command behind Hitler and Himmler and the leader of Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia. The film follows two soldiers from the Czechoslovakian army-in-exile, Josef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubis (Jamie Dornan), who are parachuted into their occupied homeland in December 1941. With limited intelligence and little equipment in a city under lock down, they must find a way to assassinate Heydrich, an operation that would change the face of Europe forever.

Visually this movie stunningly captures the look and feel of war torn Europe 1941. The movie has a very distinct and authentic look - we can't say enough about the emotional realism. Gold tones and desaturated colors creates a tense and dramatic feel throughout. SpeedLooks Gold Tobacco will give you this look immediately. Gold Tobacco will give you that very soft vintage look you are going for while at the same time separating the skin tones to create a very natural look.

To gain a better sense of the look of Anthropoid, check out the official trailer.

Check out to learn more about SpeedLooks and how you can easily achieve a great color finish on your next project.