Baggage Footage and the Wonderful World of Color Grading

It’s no secret that ever since Apple pulled out the rug from us Final Cut Pro users and unleashed the horror that was/is FCP X, I’ve been slowly distancing myself from Apple software.  So, for my latest short, Baggage, I decided from the start that I would complete the entire project in the Adobe Creative Suite. That means cutting in Premiere, audio mixing in Audition, and finally, grading in After Effects.

So far the whole switchover has been really smooth. Over the weekend, I tested the grading portion of the process. Using a Dynamic Link between Premiere and After Effects, things couldn’t have been easier. In fact, I can’t believe I didn’t adopt this sort of workflow sooner–especially because I use After Effects so much for my motion graphics work.  Perhaps most interesting of all, After Effects has a built in color grading suite called Synthetic Aperture. I mention this because, frankly, I don’t feel like enough people even know it exists. Yes, Magic Bullet and Colorista from Red Giant are great. But, they cost money…and Daddy’s got bills to pay. Synthetic Aperture is a full grading application built into After Effects. It has proper scopes, primary and secondary corrections, and a great curve editor. Plus, the price is right.

Okay, enough blathering. Below you can check out my first grading tests. In retrospect, I think my initial grade is too contrasty. But, it’s something to build on as I continue down the long and storied road of post production.


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