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.


“On my last feature film ‘A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence’ I experienced for the first time the full possibilities in digital colour grading. It became a very creative and important process for me in the post-production of the film. I can absolutely see the need for an in-depth education for this very specialised profession, and I think UP.GRADE is a fantastic opportunity for young professionals.”

Roy Andersson, Director,
Winner Golden Lion Venice Film Festival 2014 for Best Film
Winner European Film Award for Best Comedy 2015



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.


“As the post-production business rapidly changes, I feel that future great colourists will be distinguished by a solid understanding of the medium both technically and creatively. The diverse background of students and teachers at UP.GRADE creates a stimulating and inspiring environment in which the sharing of ideas and experience pushes our craft forward and enables colourists to sharpen their edge.”

Adam Inglis, Colourist, e.g. Mr Turner, Atonement, Sherlock Holmes, Planet Earth II



After the 9 month programme, 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 UP.GRADE programme runs for 9 months, beginning in June and and ending around the end of February the following year. The training is full-time, i.e. app 7-8 hours a day, 5 days a week. There is a break of approximately 2 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

“This course is spectacular, unparalleled.”

Charles Poynton, Colour Scientist, Mathematician, Physicist



A total number of 10 seats are available.

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.

An excellent standard of spoken and written English is essential. All classes are taught in English at UP.GRADE.


The recommended age is 25 to 35 years.


Important information:


The application window for UP.GRADE 2019-2020 is delayed and will not open in January 2019 as planned.


Instead of the full-time programme, it is likely that we will offer short courses in 2019 instead.


Short courses in 2019:

We don't yet have a green light to offer short courses. In the next weeks the situation will become clearer. Any courses we run are likely to last 5 days each. They would start after late May (not before). We have no info on pricing but they are intended to maintain the UP.GRADE facility while we work to reestablish the 9 month programme and make it even better.

Please click here for further information.


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Information about the fee will follow.


1.      What is the scholarship/tuition waiver and who can receive it?

Being granted a tuition waiver simply means you don't have to pay the 5,700 Euros that other participants have to pay. Two tuition waivers are available. One can be granted to an applicant from the EU (and selected other countries*) and one to an applicant from the rest of the world. They are granted to applicants who can demonstrate a clear need of financial support. We decide who receives the waivers after discussing your answers to the tuition waiver section of your application form with you.


* The selected other countries are: Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Republic of Serbia, Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine or Tunisia.


 2.      How do I apply for this programme?

The application period for UP.GRADE 2018-19 has now closed. Please see the admissions section above. After registering online for an application account you will receive a confirmation email. As your request for an account has to be manually authorised it can take a maximum of 3 days to receive your login details. Please be patient and always check your spam folders and the email address you used if you don't find it right away. Once you have your account log in and complete your UP.GRADE application. Registration will close ahead of the application window so allow plenty of time for this process which will also contain a short practical exercise. Once you have submitted your application you will receive a second confirmation email. Again, this email will be manually authorised so please remain patient and vigilant.

 3.      Will I receive a degree at the end of the programme?

No official academic degree can be awarded, since this programme is outside of any bachelor or master course. You will receive a certificate that states the content of the curriculum but no credits will be given. The learning experience itself and the material and examples that you will be able to present to potential clients and employers are among the many benefits of the course.

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

No housing or accommodation will be arranged or paid for you. You will need to find and arrange accommodation for yourself. We may be able to point you to some helpful internet addresses but UP.GRADE alumni are often the best source of advice.

 5.     What are the plans for the programme's future?

The main funding for the programme has been given to offer 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. Our Facebook page also carries a selection of posts from the current programme. You can also revisit the website regularly or send us an email that you want to be notified about UP.GRADE news or just subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of this page.


 6.     Where can I find further information on what it means to do UP.GRADE?

For specific questions you should contact our programme coordinator. However if you want to know more how it is to be a participant of UP.GRADE or whether it is the right programme for you, this unofficial student FAQ page provides some relevant first-hand information.



Graduates of UP.GRADE have gone on to work as freelance colourists all over the world or taken up full-time employment at well respected post-houses. UP.GRADE alumni also maintain a thriving online network where they assist each other, answering questions and sharing experiences on a daily basis. As an UP.GRADE alumni you will have access to this warm and welcoming support network, which will make securing employment after the programme considerably easier.

Meet the Alumni



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



Head of Programme

m +49 173 2784334



Joint Head of Programme

t +49 152 59059887



Programme Coordinator

t +49 30 25759 121



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, Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg GmbH and Technicolor.


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