Mixing Light Review – Colorist Subscription Site
How do you maintain visual interest over the length of a feature film as a colorist?
How do you handle a client who insists the grade looks wrong on their iPhone?
How do you use the LAB grading tools in DaVinci Resolve 11?
All these questions have thoroughly satisfying answers over on Mixing Light.com, the monthly subscription site for anyone interested in developing their colour grading skills for both what’s seen on screen and for what happens inside the grading suite.
Mixing Light was founded and is maintained by Patrick Inhofer (sign up for his sister site; Tao Of Color’s excellent and free newsletter here) Robbie Carman (check out some of Robbie’s previous training here) and Dan Moran (run your eyeballs over Dan’s excellent showreel site here). All three are professional colorists, who between them, have a long legacy of excellent online training, authoring technical books and generous involvement in the global colorist community. So, who better to learn from?
What’s included in a Mixing Light.com subscription?
For $24 a month (or $249 a year) you get full access to an ever increasing library of colour grading and correction insights which currently stands at close to 200 video tutorials and several handfuls of extensive written articles on a wide range of topics covering everything from how to really make the most of the new features in the latest software releases, to the diplomatic intricacies of working with clients, managing grading sessions and building a creative career, as well as the hard graft involved in ‘colourist circuit training’, of learning to develop wildly different looks for the same camera-original image.
Fresh content is delivered monthly so you’re always guaranteed to have something new to learn. Plus you also get instant access to the combined wisdom and experience of the rest of the Mixing Light.com community, which features colorists working all around the world, as there is always a healthy and active discussion of each post to engage in. Last, but not least, you get access to Patrick, Robbie and Dan via the ‘mail-bag’ in which you can request help or insight into a particular topic.
Try before you buy – Free Trial and more…
If you want to have a rummage on the site for yourself you can get behind the paywall for free with a 24 hour test drive providing full access to the entire Insights Library, although with so much content to digest, it’s worth noting that paying members get to download all of the videos for offline enjoyment.
You can also check out the Mixing Light.com Blog for a selection of extra tips and tasters, or scroll through the Insights Library to find several free articles like this one from Patrick on using elements like sparks, flares and film scratches in your project.
Is a Mixing Light.com subscription worth it?
To be honest I think it has to be a flat out yes, as I can’t think of another place online (or otherwise) where you can find the kind and calibre of information that you can inside Mixing Light.com. That’s because the training doesn’t focus simply on how to use the software (which you can find online in plenty of other places too) but it also provides a wealth of insider tips and tricks on grading and developing your skills as a colorist. That you can’t find anywhere else.
Cash-wise it is great value for money at a low monthly fee, with new content, community interaction and access to professional colorists at the drop of an email. What’s more the site has been running for a over a year now and so you’re getting even more bang for your buck because of the extensive archive of material that has built up.
Because the content is produced monthly you’ll often get insights into the latest features of recent software releases before other training sites have had a chance to completely re-work and re-release their extensive training series. So you can get up to speed, faster.
UPDATE – Somehow in my original review I failed to mention one of the best things about Mixing Light, and that is the bite size nature of the content. Each video is on average around 5-10 minutes, making it a perfect way to grab a tip and go. That and the fact that you have three different trainers offering their personal insights, means that there’s always a fresh perspective to be had and the opportunity to learn a different way of achieving the same results.
In trying to keep this review balanced, I’ve wracked my brain for a few potential cons to a Mixing Light subscription. Sure you could scrape by with freebie content you can find online (some of which is very good) but then again if you’re building your career as a colorist is ‘free’ the only investment you want to make in it?
If you’re a seasoned pro using software other than DaVinci Resolve, Mixing Light might not be for you, as that’s where the tutorials tend to focus, but then again it will be relatively easy to translate the concepts and tips to other software applications if you know what you are doing.
Lastly, if you’re not a working colourist (or have no desire to be one) then obviously some of the material might not be that useful to you, but then that’s because Mixing Light is a site aimed at professionals. So an interested outsider might want to give the 24 hour free trial a whirl, to help make the decision.
To sum up, if you are a colorist looking to improve your craft and client services, or a junior seeking to expand your skill base, or even just an editor trying to add another string to your bow, then even just a month on Mixing Light.com will be well worth it.