9 months intensive training in colour-grading

The DFFB created the world’s first intensive long-form postgraduate training programme dedicated exclusively to colour correction: UP.GRADE – Colouring Tomorrow.

For four years UP.GRADE trained 40 young colorists over 9 intensive months in the technical, theoretical, practical, and aesthetic aspects of colour grading. Through UP.GRADE, the DFFB has been able to satisfy the enormous demand for knowledge that has arisen from the digitalisation of all production processes over the last 15 years.

UP.GRADE combines two central thematic poles througout the programme, equiping 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 tehnical tools. At the same time they must be conversant with colours, images and cinematic languages in narrative, conten-based contexts, withhin the framework of a wide range of cultures and traditions.

Since the funding from CREATIVE EUROPE’s programme MEDIA was discontinued in 2019, UP.GRADE is presently searching for new funding partners. In summer 2019 we distilled the key pillars of UP.GRADE’s acclaimed curriculum into a series of shorter courses – to finally make them more accessible to the wider audience that has been asking for them.

We will continue working on bringing back an intense longer UP.GRADE programme and some more short courses next summer.

“This course is spectacular, unparalleled”

Charles Poynton, Colour Scientist, Physicist


The curriculum of UP.GRADE is based on the idea of combining theory with handson exercises in artistic, communcative and technical fields. From discussions with established colourists, post-production supervisors, post-production facility managers and cinematographers, a curriculum was developed to cover all topics relevant for successful colourists today. These encompass

  • knowledge about film and art history
  • the human visual perception
  • colour reproduction of rechnical systems
  • colour science to mange colours between different media and display technologies
  • managing digital image data for film producers

We also offered ecxercises to immediately apply theory e.g. through an actual short film producion where each participant would be involved from pre-production to conforming and doing the final colour grading. This assignment also provided an opportunity to practise the very challenging aspect of communicating colours and emotions with the directors and cinematographers.


“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


Theory, Skills and Excercises


  • 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
  • film scanning, 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

Colour grading tools


We covered the thre most used colour grading tools on the market:

  • Blackmagic Design Davinci Resolve
  • Filmlight Baselight
  • Digital Vision Nucoda


Our working stations included professional displays and control panels. These tools were avialable for several months in order for the participants to be able to solidify their knowledge and internalize the practice. Aspects of communicating emotions and supporting the narrative were also discussed in lectures and masterclasses with experienced colourists and cinematographers.


We invited professionals from around the world to teach at UP.GRADE:

Adam Inglis / Colourist, Aleksandar Macásev / Visual Artist, Alke Maeria Scherrmann /Cinematographer – DIT, Andrea Krämer / Film  Restorer ARRI, Anke Wilkening / Film Restorer F.W. Murnau Foundation, Axel Bock / Cinematographer, Birgit Gutjonsdottir /Cinematographer, Charles Poynton / Colour Scientist – Mathematician, Chris Rodgers / Colorist, Christiene Hiam / Colourist, Cicek Kahraman / Editor, Daniele Siragusano / Workflow Consultant Filmlight, Daniel Stübner / Colourist, Dirk Meier, Colourist / Edmond Laccon / Colourist, Elfi Mikesch / Cinematograopher – Director, Fabiana Cardalda / Colourist, Felix Hüsken / Colourist – Calibrator, Hagen Schönherr / Project Consultant ARRI Rental, Harald Brendl / Team Lead Image Science ARRI Cine Technik, Isabelle Stever / Director, Jack Jones / Colorist – Managing Director Roundtable Films, Kai-Uwe Scheding / Colour Timer Tilm Technican ANDEC, Kevin Shaw / Educator and Colourist, Laurens Orij / Colourist – Colour Scientist, Louly Seif / Editor – Colourist, Maren Henke / Colourist