Patrick Inhofer talks to us about his experience as a professional colorist and his latest Home Study Course

By Jeremiah Karpowicz | June 04, 2014

While Patrick Inhofer is no stranger to ProVideo Coalition, much of his energy and output over the past few years has been on his site, the Tao of Color Grading. His focus there is around color grading & finishing, but he admits that is one part technology, one part art, and ten parts client management.

Patrick has just released his newest color correction Home Study Course, "Remastering 'Mother Died', featuring DaVinci Resolve and RED. It's step-by-step, shot-by-shot color correction instruction, led by a professional colorist. You start by learning DaVinci Resolve 9 or 10, then proceed to develop motor skills with productive practice and finish by uploading your project files to get personal video feedback.

We caught up with Patrick to talk about some of the things people don’t realize about color correction, how he’s able to answer the essential question that all colorists will inevitably ask and what people are going to be able to get out of his newest Home Study Course.


What's the biggest misunderstanding people have about color correction?

The biggest misunderstanding is that you have to have some sort of special skill to be good at color correction.  People think you need special magical eyes. And there’s nothing further from the truth.

In my experience, color correction is a few very short, very simple rules. These rules are just difficult to execute. Once you know what the rules are you can become really competent at it.  To get to the highest echelon of the business it helps to be able to see things a little different than other people. And that’s as true for color correction as it is for everything.

Whether you want to add it as a skill set or become a full time colorist, really what you have to do is learn how to bypass your brain, because we don’t see the way we think we do. As a result, if you rely too much on your eyes you’ll never become good at it, especially in the beginning.

The first couple years you really need to learn how to use other parts of the tool set in order to verify what we think we’re seeing.  Our brains aren’t wired to show us the pure retinal data coming from our eyeballs. The brain reinterprets data and relies on our history and our life experience to show us what it thinks it’s seeing.

It’s a completely understandable thing. I do a presentation on this, and one of the stories I tell is about a kid who is taking a train for the first time and every time he sees something he lights up and shouts out that he’s seeing a “cow” or a “tree” or a “car”, because these are all completely new and exciting experiences to him. Of course, there comes a time when your brain has to make assumptions about what it’s seeing because you can’t live your life seeing everything for the first time.  So your brain trains itself to get general outlines and makes assumptions based on what you’ve seen and learned over your lifetime.

Being successful at color correction is about overcoming this training of your brain, and this makes people think color correction is harder than it is. Once you learn to bypass your brain it gets a lot easier.

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