[NoProVlog] 2018 Jan Shanghai

Watch it on my Youtube Channel & more!

For people who don’t know me, I go back to my hometown Shanghai from Melbourne once a year. And because I only stay for a short time, I find even little things worth being noticed and remembered. And these casual daily events excite me.

I am going to continue with this [NoProVlog] cuz I want to remember these things and feelings. I am gonna say ‘stay tuned’ but I really don’t care if people watch it or read this.

I struggle with ending an article. Please excuse me.

c u around

End of Course Reflection

This is finally the last post for this subject. I have to admit that I enjoyed this course very much except for the writing part. I will start by reflecting back on my goals and desires at the start of this semester first.

At the beginning of the course, I said I wanted to get my head around operating the equipment smoothly. I am really grateful that we have been doing a lot of shooting practices in class. And I have been doing some shooting outside class as well. I did realize during my mini-documentary shooting (which is my last project for this semester), that I can operate the basics very quickly and smoothly, including setting up tripods, white balance, exposure, focus and packing up.

I was overwhelmed with the number of roles one can take in the industry. From the past three months of learning and practicing, I feel like I enjoyed the editing process the most out of all. I would spend many hours editing and not being distracted. However, what I discovered about myself is that, I only enjoy editing with background music. My personal favourite out of all of my projects are the abstract edits and the poetic mini-documentary.  When I edit, I found it hard to determine the duration of each clip without background music. And I prefer hard cuts a lot more than diffusion between clips. But hard cuts would somehow seem unsmooth without the rhythm of the music. I think this is a big limitation of my editing style. But it can also be my specialisation. My plan next is to make some music video style short films and see if I can come up with any interesting projects.

I have been interested in Wes Anderson’s work recently. I am planning to finish watching his major works and make some Anderson inspired shots. I have realized that his style requires a lot of work in props and sets. I will try to find some symmetrical shots in real life for now and focus on color grading.

I have encountered a major issue regarding my time management this semester. Master course is way more demanding than I expected. I think I haven’t spent enough time in the course and I didn’t get as much as possible out of it. This is an issue which I will reflect in my personal blog post.

I said that I wanted to learn about lighting. I met an uber driver who had been working as a gaffer for more than 30 years. I asked him about how he would set up the lighting for a specific condition which I was working on and he said it really depends on a lot of factors such as where you want to position your interviewees, your background etc. I think lighting is a practical work. There is no universal rule.

Color Grading Exercise

The original clip is a bit warm, so I color correct the clip by pushing some cool tone and pink tint to balance it out (using Vectorscope HLS and Vectorscope YUV diagram).

Below is the before and after screenshot.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 11.29.54 AM.png

My later adjustments are made on the corrected clip.

  1. Orange & Blue Color contrast

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 11.45.39 AM

The original clip is a bit warm. And there was a man passed by wearing denim in the shot. It inspired me to make a color contrast between orange/yellow and blue.

The color contrast adds depth to the clip. The man becomes more separated from the background. I also pushed up contrast, highlights, and whites to enhance the effect. The man’s skin tone is more defined in the after clip and his motion becomes more vivid. This color grading gives me a muggy, humid weather feeling.

2. Faded Blue Color Grading

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 12.50.49 PM.png

This color grading introduces a sad emotion to the clip. First of all, I bring the highlights, midtones and shadows all to blue to set the base color tone. To get a faded effect, I bring down the exposure, contrasts, highlights and whites; and also bring up the shadows and blacks.

The skin tone looks quirky with all of the blue and faded effects. So I used Hue Saturation Curve to bring back some yellow and slight red. I also use the Hue Saturation Curve to bring up even more blue to enhance the color of the denim the man is wearing.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 1.03.31 PM.png

3. ‘Her’ inspired Color Grading

This color grading is inspired by the film ‘Her’ and the following shot is used as the benchmark.

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 1.31.45 PM

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 1.45.44 PM.png

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 1.54.42 PM.png

This is the most complicated color grading out of the three. To be honest, I think the result is still not quite matched with ‘Her”s color grading. The tone is super warm. Because I couldn’t tell whether the element I am adjusting is correct after looking at it for a long time, I use the Parade (RGB) diagram to match the wave of my clip to the shot of ‘Her”s wave.

The adjustments I made are as following:

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 2.04.10 PM

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 2.04.30 PM

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 2.04.45 PMScreen Shot 2017-10-28 at 2.04.58 PM

Note that even though both the first and the third color grading are warm tone, they are different. In the first color grading, it is more of an orange and blue contrast. Whereas in the third grading, The tone is more towards yellow rather than orange. And I deliberately avoid the blues (from denim) and turn down the reds (for tint and skin tone) to match up with ‘Her”s color grading.

Below is the contrast of the first and the third color grading:

Screen Shot 2017-10-28 at 1.59.59 PM.png


  1. Original

2. Color Corrected

3. Orange and Blue

4. Faded Blue

5. Her inspired