Directing Color MZed Course Review

MZed recently introduced a new short course with filmmaker, editor and colourist Ollie Kechington of Korro Films. We were given a chance to watch the 85-minute short course and share our thoughts with our readers.

Firstly, the course is more of an introduction to colour for productions rather than an intensive course on colour grading. While it is marked as a beginner course, all levels of cinematographers, directors and filmmakers will be able to benefit from the course, whether it’s being reminded of the importance of colour choice or something more technical.

The course is broken up into five main sections which transitions through the basics of colour theory into calibration and using colour charts for accurate colour reproduction and then finally real cinema examples of how the use of colour can affect the whole production.

Understanding the power of colour

In the first two modules, Ollie explains why preparing your colour palette for a project is so important and how everyone naturally has an understanding of different colours. By knowing this, you can incorporate your colour choices to enhance your storytelling.

The first module is available to watch for free.

Accurate colour from start to finish

The middle section of the course goes through some more of the technical aspects of the colour workflow. Making sure that what you are seeing on your screens during production follows through to post-production. Ollie goes through the processes of using probes like the X-rite i1Display to ensure monitors are calibrated and how to properly use a colour chart for a consistent point of reference when it comes time to colour grade. Especially important when using different cameras on the same project.

We’ve all seen the ColorChecker but how does it actually work and how do you use it?

Deconstructing Colour

In the final section, Ollie takes us into the grading room to demonstrate first-hand how the use of colour can be used to direct the viewer and supplement the storytelling.

Using the footage shot from the day before, Ollie demonstrates how a few simple contrast changes can add depth and shape to the image.

In the latter part of the module, a short visual breakdown of ‘The Crown’, ‘Blade Runner 2049’ and ‘Whiplash’ are used to further demonstrate how the deliberate use of colour is used to set the undertones for the films and prepare the viewer for what’s to come.

Afterthoughts

The Directing Color course was not only helpful but an eyeopener to incorporating the choice of colour into the pre-production stage. A lot of the time we hear about the basics of colour theory but in the short amount of time, Ollie is able to go deeper with real examples in the colour grade to add depth. Using colour doesn’t have to always be on the subliminal level of changing the mood of a film, but having an understanding of how people perceive colour will make you change the way you look and change your image.

At only 85-minutes long, it’s worth the watch and we’re looking forward to a full-length course.

Pricing & Availability

Directing Color is available to stream or download for USD $79. Alternatively, you can sign up for an MZed Pro subscription to stream the Directing Color course with access to the complete MZed Pro library.

By joining up you also get access to a number of discounts to popular filmmaking resources like Hedge, FilmConvert & more.

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