INT. DAY 1950'S LIVING ROOM
We're in someone's living room and a 45 record is playing a 50's swinging rock and roll tune. We see a black male jitterbuggin' with a white female. An Asian female looks on, clapping to the beat. An Asian male walks in.
The music stops. They stop dancing. Tired, they turn to glare at who caused the intrusion. Black male lets go of the Asian female's hand. The three stare each other down, Sergio Leone style, waiting for someone to make a move, to say something....then, someone hands him an open script.
Cut. That was good all around. Let's punch in for the next shot people.
INT. DAY ON THE 1950'S FILMSET
We hear the sounds of a film crew working and a GAFFER in modern clothes walks into the frame with a light meter out, checking her readings.
Better check white balance. I want to make sure I get these skin tones right.
The GAFFER pulls out a different meter (looks like an iPhone). She holds it up to the white female. The meter reads “White. Good.”
She moves to the right and holds it up to the Asian female. Meter reads “Asian, but still Good.” GAFFER looks confused by this.
She moves to the right and holds the meter to the black male. The meter seems to hesitate, then says “Calling 911!”
The GAFFER is surprised and confused. A service man in modern cover-all repairman clothes steps in with a tool bag.
“What’s the emergency?”
Oh?! I don't know. Who are you?
Meter repair man. Got an emergency alert that something was wrong with...
She shows him the meter as he stares at it
...Oh, my. What version of the software are you using?
GAFFER looks at meter, pop up reads "Version 1935"
Whoa stop the presses, that is one old version.
Yeah, crazy old. You don’t want to walk around using this version today I’ll tell yeah. Let's check for updates, shall we?
GAFFER hits Check Updates button. Close up of meter show’s a ton of versions, ending in current one, Version 2017
Yeah, see. The old version interpreted things a bit differently, old tech. Here I’ll show you something.
He walks over to video village where a laptop and a monitor are on a table and starts looking through the GAFFER's previous shots of the day.
Here's our trusty vector scope. The center point represents white, black and all the shades of gray, while the 360degree area around it, all the colors of the rainbow.-
We see the classic vector scope on the screen.
This is red...
We see solid red image, and next to it vector scope line that represents red.
...and this is blue, green, yellow and so on.
Vector scope shows those colors plus their corresponding vector scope line. GAFFER nods with interest.
Now see this line here, between yellow and red, at the 10:30 pm mark? That’s called the skin tone line.
Closeup of the screen with the skin tone line.
But which skin tone?
Good question. Well here's the kicker, it's the same for everyone.
How's that possible?
Well, we think of melanin as the main determiner of skin color. But actually, it's our blood under our skin that affects the hue, while melanin mostly affects brightness and saturation.
We all have the same blood and that's the same hue. Look at our first actress.
We see a video of white actress and her vector scope next to it. The cursor highlights just an area of her skin, and her vector scope is right on the skin tone line.
Now our 2nd actress. She's on the skin tone line as well.
We see Vector scope next to the image of the Asian actress.
And now our male actor. Same thing. On the skin tone line.
We see the vector scope next to his image.
Well, I'll be damned.
The black actor looks at the Policeman out of the corner of his eye.
Now on the waveform monitor, it's a different ballgame, because that monitor is showing us the contrast level in the frame. White is top, gray middle, and black at the bottom.
We see each actor next to their waveform monitor, each slightly different.
Their skin tones reflect a different amount of light. But the hue of the skin tone is the same.
So when you need to check your white balance in post, if it's off the line, you just move it down.
Show video of all three actors whose skin seems blue. He adjusts the blue level and the vector scope, which was above the line, slides down to it.
Then afterward you can do any special color grading effects, knowing you've started from a balanced skin tone.
Show the same video with a sepia toned color grade, the kind that is used to represent a historical period piece.
Yep, sure is. Well, looks like the software is updated. Why don't you check it now?
GAFFER walks over to black male, who is now against the wall, being handcuffed by the policeman. She holds up the meter and it says "Black. Good Now"
Service man gives her a thumbs up and leaves.
Black actor is being taken away by the Policeman
Hey, guys. Some help here.
GAFFER turns and Asian male walks into frame.
Oh, we need him for more shots
Didn't this happen last week too?
Gaffer and Asian male look on, shaking their heads.
Serviceman - Mark Gonzales
Gaffer - Courtney Shaffer
Asian Male/Director - James Aaron Oh
White Dancer - Ellen Huffman
Asian Dancer - Jean Saung
Black Male Dancer - Manu Smith
Policeman - Scott Parkhurst
AD/Script Sup - Roberta MacIntyre
Boom - Christian Pierre
Makeup/Hair - Yuliya Faccini
PA - Ryan Cho
“Right Place, Right Time” (Theme Music) and “Dog Park”
By Silent Partner
“Boogie Woogie Bed” by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
“Good Starts” by Jungle Punks
“Hidden Agenda” by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Vectorscopes and Luma parade monitor from Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Color Correction: Make People Look Normal by Larry Jordan
Half an hour of colour grading on Final Cut Pro X from Larry Jordan