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Topic: Fade to Peach and Teal (Read 5591 times) previous topic - next topic
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Fade to Peach and Teal

Seems like that in the movie and TV industry there's an equivalent to what's the loudness war in music production:

Excessive digital color grading. And what's excessive about it is the colors used: orange and greenish blue, or peach and teal. It's freaking everywhere, and once someone points it out to you, you are doomed, you cannot unsee it. It's like in the movie "They Live!", but unfortunately there are no glasses you can put aside.

Here's a blog post explaining the phenomena a bit further:

It's from 2010, but still I see not much discussion about it and no widespread awareness. It's interesting that just like with the loudness war, where producers and artists want to sound louder than another, the teal and orange color grading has a similar motivation. Those complementary colors make one another pop out and by coloring people's faces orange they make the characters pop out in the scenes. That's the whole idea. But unfortunately it's not used when it's appropriate in some, it's usually used for the entire length of the movie or the TV episodes. And the technique of color grading is even technically similar to the compression and limiting of sound. In order to make the picture basically duochrome, because else there's no popping effect, the rest of the colors have to be eliminated almost completely, thus reducing the dynamic range of the color palette. Sounds familiar? Louder colors so to speak.

The struggle to raise awareness of the loudness war and the stubborn reactions from producers may repeat themselves here when movie and TV producers are being confronted with how awful and monotone their "new sepia" looks like. The trend has been going on since around the turn of the millenium when Soderbergh and the Coen brothers first experimented with it and there's no indication that it may fade, quite the opposite actually.

Personally my way of dealing with it is that whenever I watch a teal and orange movie or TV show I just accept it as what it is: a reduction of colors. So I'm thinking I'm not actually watching a "color movie" but something much more similar to a black and white movie, only that it's not monochrome but duochrome. It helps me to get over it after all there's not much else I can do about it.

Even replaygain couldn't repair or bring back the dynamic range of the sound, it can only normalize the volume. Maybe using a dynamic de-saturation filter for video players would be a similar remedy for all too saturated orange and teal colors. Or even a selective filter that only targets those colors which are oversaturated, maybe even creating correction profiles for each video before watching. It won't bring back the contrast of the "natural" colors but it will at least lessen the annoyance inflicted by the oversaturation of only two colors. But I guess in the end the color grading is so aggressive in most cases that there's just no other colors left, it would make the whole picture look weird. There would need to be a selective counter grading of individual parts of each frame, it's simply too complex to implement, when the first color grading was actually adjusted by a human in post-production. Also even the set designers have to comply to the teal and orange color dictation of the directors. You can't possibly want to change the color of the shirts and the walls to something else just because they have been chosen to be orange and teal repestively by the set designer and costume department.

Fade to Peach and Teal

Reply #1
Sorry for nitpicking, but isn't that technically an aggressive dynamic range expansion? Essentially they want the difference between colors to be as big as possible by eliminating the middle ground. I find it more similar to noise-gating.

Thought experiment:
A de-orangeandtealer could possibly work against that: In HSL, it could expand the saturation curve for hues from 15° to 45° and from 195° to 225° (for orange and teal, respectively) and compress/raise the saturation curve for everything else. That would probably result in generally over-saturated pictures, so maybe a saturation curve expansion across the board could help. I have to test this in PS or something similar.

Edit: I just realized there would have to be some sort of discrete Fourier transformation for colors for this to work, which, from my (bad) understanding of physics, is not possible.
Nothing is impossible if you don't need to do it yourself.


Fade to Peach and Teal

Reply #2
Its more like (secondaries) EQ mixed with original + some compression/curved limiting of whites of the master usually. The results are similar to audio, some do it right, most do it wrong. Orange and blue are all over the TV graphics as well for the last 20 years (They are all over exteriors as well, blue sky, brown earth ...).
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