Basic Color Science for Cinema

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If you like math and really want to the skinny on it, I give you:  Bruce Linbloom.  In particular, I’d recommend the section on XYZ to RGB to XYZ transformations.

If those really huge square brackets seem scary, it’s all too tempting to cast off the math and fall back on statements such as:

  • It looks digital.
  • It isn’t organic.
  • It’s too clean.
  • It feels dead.  Not alive, like film.
  • Those are candy colors.
  • It looks too much like video.

It’s extremely tempting to speak from behind the opaque veil of divine-artistic-intuition.  But it’s not good to hide from the truth.  If one tries to pierce the veil of divine-artistic-intuition, one is often labeled a heretic and their opinion is cast away by the bourgeois (gab gab gossip gossip gasp glare).  As such, many attempts at straightening the path and getting proper color-science into the mix, tend to fail.  If someone with enough creative credentials steps into the conversation and makes an observation of divine-artistic-intuition, they win (golf clap).  Data, math and science don’t override invalid conclusions in modern Hollywood.

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