Christina Velocci: interning on lifestyle series Decked Out (week 6)

Back in October 2012 our NSI Lifestyle Series Producer students blogged about each day of their bootcamp training. The next step in the course is an eight-week internship on a lifestyle series. We’ve asked our students to write a weekly post about their experiences.

Christina Velocci, Architect Films, interning on Decked Out


Christina is a communications graduate from York University and journalism graduate from Humber College. She has been working in the television industry for over seven years. Her experience includes television news as a production coordinator, videographer / reporter and, most recently, a news writer. Her current position is in lifestyle television as a researcher/coordinator at Architect Films

“During week six I had the opportunity to go with our post production supervisor Amanda Powell to a colour correcting session. This is where a colourist goes over each cut in the show and makes adjustments to brightness, saturation, hue, contrast, etc., to achieve a desired look for the show.

Our colourist Lorraine explained to me that with shows like ours it’s less about changing colour and more about correcting it to look as true to nature as possible.

These color discrepancies happen because we film outside and even though the camera person is always adjusting his lens/filters etc., often the changes in light happen too quickly to fix in the field. So shadowed areas can look blue or sunny areas can look orange. The colourist looks for these types of colour corrections and changes them on his/her editing system.

Making changes to colour: What I found most interesting in her explanation was how they change colour. The colourist uses the colours that are already there on the footage and can pull out more of one colour and lessen others to create a colour adjustment. One example is on an overcast day the green space can look dark and lifeless. This can be changed by pulling out the green hues from an area in the shot that has grass, leaves etc.

In some cases colour can’t be fixed. If, for example, something wasn’t white balanced, and it looks totally blue, a colourist can’t pull out colors that haven’t been captured by the camera. Lorraine said this can also happen on large film sets when the camera person uses a coloured gel and creates an overall color in the filmed area. This really doesn’t happen on reality-based shows like ours, unless it’s by accident.

Lorraine explained that colourist can add certain colours or change colours in post to create a mood to the film. This often happens on dramatic series to differentiate between places, times or scenes. For example, in a police series an interrogation can appear darker by adding blue hues.

With our show, the focus is more on enhancing the reveal shots. So even if the reveal was shot on a grey or overcast day, Lorraine goes through each shot and pulls out bright colours and makes them pop. Enhancing all the bright colours, darkening blacks, brightening whites, helps to contrast the before and after shots. Because our show starts filming in the spring and ends in the fall, grass and tree colours may have to be adjusted to make the show more consistent.

Colour correcting a scene is specific to what is in the scene and what is most important in that scene. For example, if the host is in a shot, he/she takes precedent over anything else. The host is the focal point of the show and when he/she is in a scene, he/she needs to stand out.

For adjusting skin tones and colouring people, the colour editing system has a power window that is used to spot adjust. The colourist can put a window over each person’s face and adjust their colour. This is particularly important because each person has a different hue to their skin tone and if you adjusted everyone at the same time, some people’s colour would be off compared to others.

I have to say, this was a great experience for me. Having previously done some basic editing on Avid I understand a bit about colour correction. But seeing this advanced way of colour correcting was a totally new experience. It really emphasized the importance of colour and how even the slightest change in colour can affect the mood of the show.”

About Decked Out

Decked Out is an outdoor construction show that follows charismatic designer/carpenter Paul Lafrance through the process of creating backyard decks with a ‘creative edge’ for his roster of clients. It is an entertaining, funny, irreverent show for the viewer who is fascinated with, or even mildly interested in, watching (and learning about) the creative process of designing and building impressively intricate outdoor decks and beautiful backyard spaces. Each show follows, from concept to completion, the story of a backyard makeover with a focus on the construction of the unique deck project.

The central character throughout the series is Paul Lafrance, a 38-year-old carpenter and designer who runs his own small, successful boutique construction company. What’s compelling about Paul’s personal story is that he did this without any formal training, he learned carpentry and design all by himself. He’s a good-looking, well-spoken rock-star-like dude with a bit of an edge – while at the same time being very personable and charismatic. Paul’s creative edge and energy is visible in every episode and is an integral element of Decked Out’s identifiable tone.

NSI Lifestyle Series Producer is made possible by Program Partners Shaw MediaCorus Entertainmentand Bell Media; Supporting Sponsors Cineflix MediaPaperny EntertainmentFrantic FilmsRTR Media Inc.Big Coat ProductionsCellar Door ProductionsArchitect Films and Canadian Media Production Association (CMPA).

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