Posts tagged color grading
Color Leap

Another great partnership with the talented creatives at I Am Mr. Smith, a local Bay Area production company, and we at Sutro are doing all their color grading for upcoming video projects.

Continuing on the successful collaboration for the JFK Graduation video earlier this year, we have now completed another color timing session for a video about the LEAP initiative. We'll refrain from going into specifics about the story yet, but since we're so passionate about creating cinematic images in everything we do, we wanted to show you a quick before and after straight from our grading software.

We're still doing some final tweaks to the grading, but it just goes to show how subtle differences in color and lighting can help tell the story in a much more engaging and powerful way.

If you have any questions about our color timing services, please shoot us a message.

Houghton College

Houghton College and borrego solar have completed a 2.5 megawatt on-site solar energy installation – the largest on a college campus in New York State.

sutro studios was there filming and capturing the story.

 

Day 1

 

The system will generate an estimated 3.15 million kilowatt hours of electricity in its first year of operation—the equivalent amount of energy needed to power 370 homes annually—and will allow the college to realize a 23 percent first-year greenhouse gas reduction and save up to $4.3 million during the 25-year power purchase agreement contract period.
— WXXI News

Atomos Shogun recorder in action at Houghton College, NY.

A screen grab from the shot shown above. We usually quickly apply a simple grade on top of the footage, to just start getting an idea of the feel and mood for the whole video.

Houghton is committed to being carbon neutral by 2050. This new solar array will get us 23 percent of the way there,” he said. “We expect to save $119,000 on electricity during the first year of operation, and $4.3 million during the 25-year power purchase agreement contract period.
— Brian Webb, Houghton College Sustainability Coordinator

The campus of Houghton College is perfect to film.

The FS700 and Atomos Shogun provide a ton of flexibility in capturing great footage if you know the camera well, and understand the power of color grading in post-production. Here we have a very quick and simple grade to test a certain look for the footage. 

The solar project reflects both Houghton College’s commitment to renewable energy and our commitment to form creative partnerships for the greater good of our region,
— Shirley Mullen, Houghton College President

Our creative team filming behind the scenes one of the student interviews. Levi Pike of Redbone Media to the left shooting on his 5Dm3 and SmallHD monitor, and Tommy Sunderland (right) of Borrego Solar conducting the interviews.

The students at Houghton College are extremely well spoken, and these were some of the easiest interviews we have ever filmed. We took advantage of a natural shade structure to be able to capture soft lighting outdoors, during a pretty bright sunny afternoon. Simple color grade applied to start testing skin tones, and overall look of the image and interviews.

The project was created and built by Borrego Solar Systems Inc., a designer, developer and installer of grid-tied solar photovoltaic systems, and financed by WGL Energy, through a power purchase agreement that covered the costs.
— Olean Times Herald

Atomos Shogun quickly became our favorite tool in production. That microphone is pretty incredible too, especially for outdoor environments.

Another screen grab of the students we filmed at Houghton. We love playing with composition for the interviews. Outdoors always provides great flexibility and opportunities for cinematic backgrounds, and for guiding the eye in a subtle way.

With this solar installation, Houghton College has taken a leadership role in sustainability in the education space. You’re going to see a lot more 2.5 to 2.6 megawatt solar arrays being constructed all around the state in the upcoming years,
— Amy McDonough, Sr. Project Developer, Borrego Solar
 

Day 2

With this project, Houghton College has shown itself to be a leader in clean energy investment in New York State.
— John B. Rhodes, NYSERDA President

Indoors filming an interview with Brian Webb from Houghton College. Litepanels LED are great for this kind of setup and give a nice soft light with great control of color temperature and hardness.

Shooting indoor interviews in office settings is always a challenge. You have to think about composition to make it interesting, and lighting that typically is very artificial and lifeless. Since we're going for a more cinematic tone, you can see here how we planned this composition for the interview. With Brian on the right of the frame, lit by a couple of soft LitePanel LEDs, the key from screen right, we can still take advantage of the outdoor campus to capture some contextual and interesting activity.

This is one way that we can do that with reliable and renewable energy that will remove a significant portion of our fossil fuel usage and create energy with a contract that we have now for 25 years with Borrego Solar to essentially lock us into a solid rate that’ll be economic and hopefully save about $2.5 estimated million dollars for the university over the 20-year period.
— Marshall Green, Public Relations Specialist, Houghton College

Levi Pike from Redbone Media was our assistant throughout the shoot. He's helping with sound testing for an indoor shoot with the President of Houghton College. We only had a couple of minutes available to us to film an interview after the luncheon meeting with the people associated with the solar array project, so we had to plan this carefully. With a very clinical and relatively uninteresting room, we found an American flag in the corner, and quickly realized this could be the perfect setting for an interview background. We used gaffers tape to secure the interview spot to save time in the end, and to extend the flag on the background wall.

And here's the result, with a quick small color grade applied. With two LitePanel LEDs and diffusers, we get a pretty even and attractive lighting effect for this interview. The key coming from screen left, and a soft fill is pointing towards the wall on screen right to fill in the shadows a bit, and create a bit of a vignette around her. For such a simple and challenging shot, we can still get a cinematic look if you take care in observing what's around you before filming.

The solar project reflects both Houghton College’s commitment to renewable energy and our commitment to form creative partnerships for the greater good of our region.
— Shirley Mullen, President, Houghton College

Closeup of one of the thousands of solar panels part of this new solar array at Houghton College, by Borrego Solar.

A screen grab of a shot we did of one of the rows of the array at Houghton College. Thanks to Borrego Solar, this solar array will be one of the largest solar arrays in an American college campus. Here, we set the FS700 filming a bit of a long shot on a tripod, so that we can speed it up in editing/post and capture the reflection of the clouds moving across the array. It's one simple way of adding interest to what typically can be a pretty cold mechanical shot, and it works really well for this perspective. We are also playing with lines to add a more dynamic and richer depth to this shot.


About Houghton College 
Houghton College is a liberal arts institution that challenges students to academic excellence in the context of a relevant Christian community and empowers them to enrich the world. The college of 1,000 students is located in Western New York just 65 miles from Buffalo and Rochester. For more information, please visit http://www.houghton.edu.

About Borrego Solar 
Established in 1980, Borrego Solar Systems, Inc. is one of the nation's leading financiers, designers, developers and installers of commercial and utility solar power systems. Borrego Solar's photovoltaic systems are efficient, reliable and cost-effective. With more than three decades of experience and more than 1,000 solar power installations completed—totaling over 150 MW—Borrego Solar offers a complete line of solar system design and installation services throughout North America. Borrego Solar was recently ranked as the #2 commercial EPC in the United States and the #2 commercial contractor in California by Solar Power World. For more information, visit http://www.borregosolar.com.

Bumper Madness

The film festival bumpers we worked on for SXSW that we did the VFX and Color Grading for keep getting great feedback in the blogosphere. Now that the film festival madness is over, some interviews are coming out that share some of the vision and ideas behind these awesome bumpers.

Read out the latest one, thanks to the always insanely talented team of Saschka Unseld and Kyle Ranson-Walsh, who hired us to work with them on finalizing the post-production for these.

Fun times!

http://www.shutterstock.com/blog/the-story-behind-the-awesome-intro-clips-at-the-2015-sxsw-film-festival

SXSW 2015

We will not be attending SXSW this year, but we will be there in spirit. We recently completed work doing VFX and Color Grading for the South by Southwest film festival bumpers, with the creative team behind the beautiful Pixar short film "The Blue Umbrella", and SXSW just published a quick interview about it.

We will have much more press and news about this soon, and eventually we will post a more detailed behind-the-scenes of how we brought everything to life in these bumpers, but for now, we couldn't feel luckier to have collaborated with Saschka Unseld and Kyle Ranson-Walsh in this adventure.

If you go to SXSW, let us know what you thought! Read more here:

http://sxsw.com/film/news/2015/sxsw-2015-film-bumpers-revealed

Nuke and Resolve

We've been working non-stop over the past couple of weeks in some new videos that we cannot wait to share more details on. Depending heavily on Nuke for compositing, and Resolve for color grading, these have been incredibly challenging to complete, but it's some of the most fun we've had.

The power and flexibility of compositing in Nuke using its 3D environment, mixed with the color grading power of DaVinci Resolve is nothing short of outstanding. And this being officially the first big project we complete in our new office space in Oakland, makes it all even more exciting.

Since we can't yet share details of what this is is, here's a little tease that shows a before and after of a single frame. We were given the green screen plate you see on top, and we created what you see in the bottom frame.

Need some green screen keying? Compositing? Grading? Need to learn any of these things? Let us know. We're soon starting small private lessons and workshops in our office space to teach some of these things. Send us a message in our contact page for more information.

Karma Color

We can finally share the two videos we graded for Kyle Ranson-Walsh in New York City. We love everything about these two commercials, and the product itself. They were all filmed and produced in NYC, and the plates were transferred to us for final grading. You can read more about Karma in the following TechCrunch article or their website:

TechCrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2014/09/23/karma-rolls-out-an-lte-version-of-its-pay-as-you-go-mobile-hotspot-pre-order-for-99/

Karma Website: https://yourkarma.com/

We did all the color grading for these using our suite and DaVinci Resolve. If you want us to work on your videos for grading, please don't hesitate to send us a quick hello! We would LOVE to work with you.

Check out the videos below, and THANK YOU to Kyle for hiring us for this. We can't wait to work with him again.

Grading Commercials

We just completed color grading a couple of commercials produced by Kyle Ranson-Walsh (kyleransonwalsh.com) in NYC. Using Dropbox for transferring files, and Google Hangouts for note sessions, this was a perfect little exercise in one of our biggest passions: color.

We won't mention the client quite yet, so stay tuned for an update, but until then have a look at the screenshots below to get a feel for how important color grading is in video/film.

Do you have a project you need to color grade? Let us know!

Before grading the picture is pretty flat, you don't know where to look, and overall looks dull and lifeless.

After grading you know where to look. In this case, the brightest value of skin tones is with our main character working on his laptop to the left. Color values are balanced, highlights and low values as well in tune with the rest of the commercial, and skin tones are appealing.

Haiti. Episode 2.

We are proud to announce the latest episode of our Haiti web series is now online. It chronicles the ongoing efforts of Rise2Shine in saving children's lives in one of the poorest countries of the world. 

Play the video below, or check out the full project on Haiti, an on-going exhibition page with photography and video on our website here.