One of my favorite cinematographers out there, Camille Marotte, manages to achieve stunning looks every time. No doubt it’s due to many factors but one thing that he consistently does that is quite apparent when viewing his work is his color grading. He has a distinct look that is clearly all his own.
More importantly, he keeps control over his final image (when possible) by being the one who is in charge of the grading process. You can hear Daron Keet speak about this importance here (21:45) and Bruce Logan as well hammers home the same point of being in control of your final image (18:40 in Part 1).
In the 2013 CineSummit Camille walks us through his technique for using After Effects (by layering many adjustment layers together) to get his very sought after look. I decided to put some of this techniques to use and I believe the results were quite terrific. The main takeaways for me was: desaturate to avoid the video look, layer different “looks” one on top of each other with varying opacities and don’t be afraid to let some of the image fall off into blacks. These are the key points to make your image run as far as they can from the video look and take on that film look that we all want. Take a look as I give it a go myself