UP.GRADE – Colouring Tomorrow is a 9-month full-time postgraduate European programme for colour grading


UP.GRADE is organised by the German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB) and started in June 2015 with the first course and successfully finished it in February 2016. Since June 2016 the second course is running which will end in February 2017.

It is the first programme of its kind worldwide. UP.GRADE is designed for participants with professional experience in cinematography, photography, digital imaging, editing or visual effects, and will offer intensive aesthetic, technical and theoretical training, ranging from film history to hands-on colour grading, colour management and digital film workflows. The increasing emphasis on post-production in modern filmmaking gives rise to growing demand for professionals to master post-production techniques in both artistic and technical terms. Furthermore, the market for highly qualified colourists is set to expand, for they are the principal creative collaborators in image post-production.




Cinematographers, junior colourists, VFX artists, digital image technicians, editors, still photographers, directors or applicants from closely related fields with a film school degree or relevant professional experience.


Benefit from top-notch training from high-profile international colourists, cinematographers, directors, scientists and post-production supervisors at the top of their game.


The trans-European dimension of the programme offers scope for fruitful exchanges. By creating a centre of excellence and bringing together some of
the top professionals working in the field, the programme helps participants reach a new level in their career and equips them to work on more ambitious projects.



In analogue film workflows, colour timing was the widespread but very limited process deployed to adjust a film's look technically and creatively. Colour timers were generally film-lab employees. With the rise of electronic imaging, expensive film-to-video transfer equipment (telecine) offered a much wider range of image manipulation options and triggered a new wave of post-production visual design in the film world. Training on this equipment was only possible in large post-production facilities, and involved spending years as an assistant in order to master the telecine process. The transition to computer-based digital colour grading systems offers broader access, but so far there has been no targeted long-term training for professionals in this specific field.



UP.GRADE will combine two central thematic poles throughout the programme, equipping young talents with both the practical skills and the creative mind-set needed to make powerful, innovative cinema. Future colourists must have a solid grasp of their craft and the technical tools; at the same time they must be conversant with colours, images and cinematic languages in narrative, content-based contexts, within the framework of a wide range of cultures and traditions.



The course will offer both the requisite background knowledge and targeted creative and technical skills-training in the technologies and aptitudes needed in the world of digital colour grading. Multiple grading solutions will be taught in detail and are available for hands-on practicing throughout the programme. New technical developments will be featured and explained by specialists. Experienced international directors, cinematographers and colourists will explain how they work together through case studies of their projects. Collaborating with DFFB students on their short film productions will give UP.GRADE participants a chance to be involved in the entire production process, from visual concept to onset grading and final delivery. Throughout the programme, participants will be mentored by experienced colourists and teachers.



After the course, the participants will have greater scope to work in a range of skilled positions in cinema and TV productions. The skills taught on the programme are also transferable to integration of digital imagery into theatrical productions, a growing cross-over market segment, as well as being highly relevant to digital film restoration and archiving. UP.GRADE alumni will be well-placed to develop strong artistic work in conjunction with directors and cinematographers; rather than simply providing technical know-how, the programme will equip participants to make a genuine creative cinematographic contribution to film productions.



DFFB has one of the most advanced post-production facilities to be found in a film school anywhere in the world. We aim to make good use of this incredibly fortunate situation in organising this top-class postgraduate training programme. 

Our partner ARRI is an international player, active around the globe, and plays a major role in independent filmmaking and studio production. Even more importantly, ARRI is involved in both ends of the film production process, providing cinematographers with cameras, lighting solutions and accessories on the set, and running highly efficient, state-of-the-art post-production facilities.


The training is full-time, i.e. app 7-8 hours a day, 5 days a week. There is a break of 3-4 weeks around Christmas/New Year in December/January.

Following are some of the topics that are covered and presented by well established colourists, cinematographers, researchers and consultants. These are some of the lecturers for the first two courses: Adam Inglis, Charles Poynton, Claudia Gittel, Dado Valentic, Laurens Orij, Daniel Stübner, Daniele Siragusano, Harald Brendel, Kevin Shaw, Michelle Carlos, Stefan Ciupek and Peter Doyle.

During the course we do trips to the Camerimage Film Festival in Poland, the IBC trade show in Amsterdam and to visit manufacturers and post-production companies in London.




+ art and film history

+ human visual perception and psychological effects

+ scientific modelling of colour perception and reproduction

+ the math of grading

+ gamma encoding

+ colour spaces, look-up tables, CDL, ACES, HDR

+ grading strategies and client management

+ postproduction and VFX workflows

+ visual storytelling presented in case studies


+ basic and advanced operation of various grading systems (esp. Davinci Resolve, FilmLight's Baselight and Digital Vision's Nucoda)

+ advanced techniques in colour grading (e.g. skin fixing, sky replacement, day for night, de- and re-graining, VFX integration etc.)

+ collaborative look design

+ digital camera testing, data management, onset previewing, dailies grading

+ colour management and display calibration

+ creating TV and digital cinema deliverables

+ filmscanning, archiving and restoration





+ collaboration on a short film production of DFFB students from visual concept through to dailies grading and final grading

+ grading of a music video, commercial, short documentary and 90 min. TV feature within a professional environment and guided by professionals

+ every participant will prepare a personal project that she or he will present at a one day event during Berlinale for invited visitors from European posthouses, broadcasters, film institutions and production companies to start off their career after the training programme



A total number of 10 seats are available.
8 selected applicants must be from the European Union, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Ukraine.

2 participants can be from anywhere in the world.

Applicants should have at least a few years of professional experience in cinematography, photography, digital imaging, editing or visual effects or a filmschool degree in one of these fields.

A high standard of spoken and written English is essential. All classes will be taught in English.

The recommended age is 25 to 35 years.


Online Application for UP.GRADE 2017/2018 is closed now.

We are currently in the process of selecting the participants.






The programme fee in 2017/2018 will be 5,700 EUR. 


This includes a 3,800 EUR tuition fee and 1,900 EUR to cover travel/accommodation within the programme. A monthly public transport ticket for Berlin will be provided for all participants.

Two tuition waivers are available.


1.      What is this scholarship/tuition waiver and who can get it?

The tuition waiver simply means you don't have to pay the 5,700 Euro that all the other participants have to pay.

We provide the tuition waiver for those who can give us some plausible reasons for their neediness. We don't need your bank account information or whatsoever, just tell us your true reasons why you need this tuition waiver.

 2.      How do I apply for this programme?

When the application period for the programme 2018/2019 starts we will post the link here.

Once you created an account you will get a confirmation by mail. After you have finished all the steps and completed your application you will get a confirmation by mail, too. Please check your SPAM-folders and email-addresses you used for the application when you don't find it right away.

 3.      Do I get a degree at the end of the programme?

There will be no official degree awarded, since this programme is outside of any bachelor or master course. You will be handed a certificate that states the content of the curriculum but no credits will be given. We believe the learning experience you make and material that you will be able to present to potential clients and employers are the main benefits of the course.

 4.      Will there be any on- or off-campus-housings for the participants?

No housing or accommodations will be arranged nor paid for you. You have to find and arrange accommodation for yourself. We might be able to point you to some helpful internet addresses and ask for help and information within the community of dffb students.

 5.     What are the plans for the future and will there be a programme next year?

The main funding for the programme has been given for the next two years. So there will be a fourth run of the programme starting in June 2018.

Furthermore we have a newsletter for everyone who is interested in updates on the programme and additional workshops and events for external people around the programme. So please revisit the website regularly, send us an email that you want to be notified about UP.GRADE news or subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of this page.


If you want to know how it is to be one of our participants visit this website where you will find a detailed report and more answers to your questions from one of our alumni, Edmond Laccon.



Potsdamer Str. 2 · 10785 Berlin t +49 30 25759 0 f +49 30 25759 162



Head of Programme

m +49 173 2784334




Programme Coordinator

t +49 30 25759 121




Joint Head of Programme

t +49 152 59059887




Technical Director

t +49 179 6923695


Partners & Support

UP.GRADE is a German Film and Television Academy Berlin (DFFB) programme in conjunction with 
ARRI Germany, with support from Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg GmbH.


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