What is a Film Colorist?

Are you artistic? Are you interested in working on the technical side of the film industry? You may want to consider a career as a film colorist!

Film colorists alter the look of the colors used in movies or the appearance of the actors. They do this during a movie’s editing stage — working with the director, the director of photography, and the production crews to color correct certain parts of the film.

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What does a Film Colorist do?

Film colorist is one of the new careers that has emerged from the use of digital technology in movie-making. You’ve most likely experienced the work of a film colorist if you have seen a movie in the past few years. The use of color to create a mood and look in film is as important as the writing and acting to make the audience feel engaged.

A film colorist using a computer to alter the look of the colors used a movie.

Film colorists make sure that all the shots in each movie scene match one another, by balancing color saturation and luminance from shot to shot. Their job is to make sure that no one shot stands out in the sequence. Colorists are also called upon to, for example, add more orange to the sunset in the sky, or to enhance a dingy looking building to appear brand new.

Part of a film colorist's job is to improve the appearance of the actors by evening out skin tones, and covering up dark under eye circles that make-up missed. Some stars are now even having digital touch-ups written into their contracts, meaning this should be a career that will be in high demand for many years to come.

Film colorists ensure consistency throughout the production, and also offer original and creative solutions to any picture related issues. They work closely with their clients (sometimes side-by-side) to interpret their ideas. They have to document and file any information relating to picture-related problems and corrections, and also report any relevant information to producers, directors, or project managers.

One of the toughest aspects of a film colorist’s job is dealing with clients. Clients have to be comfortable sitting in a dark room with the colorist for several hours a day, so it's important that the colorist be easy to talk to and likeable. Clients need to have the confidence that no matter what problems may arise, the film colorist has the skills to provide intelligent solutions and deliver their project to their liking. Gaining the trust and confidence of clients is a skill all unto itself.

Are you suited to be a film colorist?

Film colorists have distinct personalities. They tend to be investigative individuals, which means they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive. They are curious, methodical, rational, analytical, and logical. Some of them are also artistic, meaning they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if film colorist is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Film Colorist like?

Film colorists usually work in studios or offices, often observing long and irregular hours. The work can be demanding especially if they are under pressure to complete a film by a set deadline. Colorists typically work in a dark room, looking at a computer screen for hours at a time, which can cause eye strain.

Film Colorists are also known as:
Digital Colorist Colourist Colorist