“Daniel’s work on Outlaw Posse really enhanced our feature film way more than the LUT that I used on set. He quickly got the creative intent of my cinematography and was able to run with it, creating our filmic experience with our unique, Western-inspired look. The whole color grading process was a pleasure and I won’t do another movie without him, in fact I will invite him into the conversation early.”
Get Your Film Festival-Ready
on Your Own Timeline
Maybe you’re brand new to color grading. Or maybe you’ve been around long enough to suffer through it…
You might have faced rushed projects where you get a set number of hours at a studio and have to cram major decisions into a single block of time.
Or maybe you’ve worked with a colorist who gets your hard drive handed to them on an assembly line and is already thinking about the next one they’ll be given later that day.
You know those colorists… The ones who’re only technically-minded, but don’t also have a solid foundation in narrative storytelling and filmmaking. They ask “so what are we doing?” when you get in the room with them, but have no ideas to offer, only buttons to push.
Of course, you could try to color grade the film yourself, or have your editor do it, but chances are it will look unfinished and unprofessional next to other films. If you just put a LUT on it without understanding why, when, and where to use it, you’re not doing yourself any favors either.
As a studio that specializes in color grading narrative films, I don’t just slap on a “look,” I weave it into your story so it blends in a natural way. You’ll get colors and tonalities that enhance the emotions of your film and convey things that can only be felt visually.
You’ll also get detailed troubleshooting for common issues like:
Shots that don’t match within a scene
Improperly exposed, white-balanced, or lit footage
Confusing color space transforms from various camera manufacturers to various display-referred color spaces, from theatrical to YouTube to Netflix.
Footage that feels too clinical, digital, or generic.
Footage that looks “low production value”
You’ll walk away with a festival-ready film that maximizes the production value of your footage.
When your film is taken seriously by the right people, your motivation as a filmmaker soars.
You could have the confidence you need to promote this film like your own biggest fan—and fundraise for your next one, so you can keep that audience growing.
Award-winning short film director turned storytelling colorist with ridiculously high standards
Hi, this is Daniel, the human manifestation of Horned Melon Productions. I spent almost a decade learning about visual storytelling before ever even thinking about knobs and wheels on a control panel or bit depth and color gamut on a display.
Having studied literature, gotten a certificate in screenwriting from UCLA’s professional program, and directed three award-winning short films, it was only later that I became drawn to the ways that color can become its own language within a film.
While my technical skills are more than sound (I’m a Blackmagic Design-certified colorist and editor in DaVinci Resolve Studio), I’m a storyteller at heart. I understand the needs of narrative film directors because I’ve been in their shoes.
I’ve also gotten to see first-hand some of the pitfalls directors can fall into when getting their film through those final stages of post-production.
Before I even became a colorist, a director I knew told me he looked at his film after a full day at a color grading studio and felt like he must have been high or out of his mind to have thought that what they were doing was a good idea.
A few years later, now “officially” a colorist, I got handed a project that had already been color graded at a larger post-production house that charged by the day. There were a significant number of problematic shots where the cuts didn’t match due to changing sunlight, and the character’s skin was greenish. This was very challenging material that required painstaking attention to detail. The director told me I “saved the day” on his film.
Instances like these made me realize the limitations of booking a studio with a colorist for a condensed block of time. Traditional synchronous review, in which all changes are made in real-time, didn’t allow the colorist or the director to take a step back, sleep on their decisions, and look at the film with fresh eyes. Directors were coming to me because the traditional approach had saddled them with regrets about their own film.
That's when I realized my approach was actually offering real value, and decided to refine it even further....
5-Step Color Grading Blueprint
You get stills from TV shows or films that I think might serve as good visual references to work from.
You send me stills from TV shows or films you'd like to work from.
We compare notes and get on the same page, whether that’s via Zoom, phone call, or email.
You’ll get my guidelines for how to make this go as smoothly as possible, and with little to no quality loss. The best approach depends on the needs of your specific project.
You’ll have peace of mind knowing that nothing was lost in translation if you edited in Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, or Avid. Your final cut is called that for a reason.
You get a “look test” containing a sample of clips from your project (interiors and exteriors, containing all the major set pieces of your film). This gives a rough idea for the overall look of the film, with minimal shot-level adjustments.
You provide feedback on what’s working, and what isn’t, so that your vision is understood. You get as many revisions as needed, and we don’t wrap the project until you feel it’s perfect.
This is where your look gets applied to the full film and shot-level adjustments are made.
You get my honed eye for matching, balancing, and trouble-shooting.
Your film’s edits become more invisible as shot continuity improves.
You get detailed and isolated adjustments within the frame of each shot. (Is that green vase a little distracting? Let’s take it down a notch.)
Some projects get done in one or two drafts, others take longer. There’s no cap on the number of revisions.
You get a final quality version of your film according to as many specifications as your project requires, whether that’s for festivals, broadcast, Netflix, or YouTube.
You’ll get guidance on the best practices for each scenario if you’re unable to find exact specifications from your distributor.