Waqas Qazi – The Freelance Colorist Masterclass Review

Waqas Qazi – The Freelance Colorist Masterclass Review

Waqas Qazi Freelance Colorist Masterclass

Waqas Qazi is a professional colorist who runs a virtual post studio called The Post Village, based in L.A. whilst sharing his tips, tricks and colour grading techniques on his popular YouTube channel, with a whopping 398K+ subscribers!

His YouTube channel is only four years old, but it has seemingly become a focal point of the online colour grading community, featuring some popular colour grading look breakdowns and valuable information on becoming a freelance colorist.

It’s a potent mix of business and creative content.

So when Qazi asked me to take a look at his 30+ hour Freelance Colorist Masterclass (FCM), I was intrigued to see what he had to offer and how it compared to some of the colour grading training I’ve reviewed in the past.

(If you don’t like what Qazi has to offer, check out this list for other options!)

For a one-line summary; I was seriously impressed by his enthusiasm, expertise and exhaustive approach to delivering a training course that will not only teach you how to colour grade, empower you to become an employable freelancer but also provide you with the professionally shot footage you need to practice your craft to get there.

This article was originally published in April 2020 and now updated in January 2024.

Save $400 with the coupon code: NEW YEAR!

The official site for his Freelance Colorist Masterclass has a full rundown of everything that’s included – and it’s a lot! – so be sure to check that out for more details, but I’ll also give you a quick overview of everything that’s included, some of the highlights and share my thoughts on whether the course is worth it.

Is Waqas Qazi’s Freelance Colorist Masterclass Good?

My goal for you from taking FCM is to be profitable.

I want to take you all the way from not knowing much about Resolve to landing a job and working as professional.

The reason that I’m so confident is that I’m literally just sharing what I know and what I’ve done in the last decade and the success that came from it.

Waqas Qazi, Colorist

This quote comes from one of the first videos within the Freelance Colorist Masterclass (02 What to expect from FCM) and it sets the tone and scope of what lies ahead.

One of the most striking things about FCM and Qazi’s YouTube videos is his enthusiastic confidence and more youthful and personality-driven approach to delivering colour grading training.

Compared to a lot of the training I’ve seen over the years there’s a lot more zest in the mix than compared to other more ‘just the facts’ instructors.

Depending on your tastes and preferences, this will either be a breath of fresh air and an injection of inspiring energy or something that might initially catch you off guard – as it did for me.

If it weren’t for Qazi’s abilities as a colorist and his supporting commercial colour grading reel, at first blush you might think he’s just another YouTuber trying his hand, but that would be a real mistake.

If you watch this video from Qazi’s YouTube channel you’ll see what I mean.

It has all of the bravado* as well as the compelling mix of both business and colour grading skills that Qazi has to offer. It’s a pretty good picture of what to expect from his 30+ hour colour grading training course.

Yes, 30+ hours of training!

*Like a stereotypical British man, I’m steeped in self-depreciation, but I’m also married to an American who regularly informs me there’s nothing wrong with showing a little self-confidence, so depending on your temperament, nationality and world-view you’ll have to make of this what you will. I’ve already made too much of this. I’m terribly sorry.

The more time I’ve spent watching Qazi’s training and YouTube channel the more I’ve come to appreciate his relentless energy for what he does.



The Freelance Colorist Masterclass consists of 10 modules plus bonus material, totalling 30+ hours of content across 258 individual lessons.

These range from 15 seconds to over an hour in length, although most are around 2-5 minutes. The course is structured into the following sections:

  • Introduction (8 lessons)
  • DaVinci Resolve Crash Course (37 minutes)
  • Resolve Overview for Colorists (4 lessons)
  • 01 – Conform (14 lessons)
  • 02 – Cameras (18 lessons)
  • 03 – Colour Correction (18 lessons)
  • 04 – Shot Matching (21 lessons)
  • 05 – Colour Grading (25 lessons)
  • 06 – Studio Set Up (16 lessons)
  • 07 – Freelance (37 lessons)
  • 08 – Bonus (9 lessons)
  • 09 – Youtube Lessons (6 lessons)
  • 10 – Professional Work (6 lessons)

The bonus module includes some content that’s available in his free hour-long training course, that’s effectively a primer for this full training series, but it’s well worth watching, especially for his craft ‘Gamma shift fix’ and training on how to get a clean white commercial look, among other things.

Course Updates – I originally wrote this review as part of his much, much longer article back in 2020. I’ve split it out and updated it into the post you’re reading now. In the past four years, Qazi has updated his Masterclass, but it may no longer be as current as some users might like.

In the past four years, he has added whole new sections to the FCM course and added specific training to a couple of other modules.

There are now four whole new multi-lesson sections added to the course, including:

  • 10 Tips to Grade 10x faster in DaVinci Resolve
  • Advanced Film Emulation (3 lessons)
  • Intro to HDR Ready Workflow (9 lessons)
  • ACES for Beginners (9 lessons plus practice footage)

These free additions do add extra value to the course content, above and beyond what was already there, but it’s not as if he’s re-recorded the course every time a new version of Resolve is released. Which is understandbly impractical.

Download Waqas Qazi’s Freelance Colorist Masterclass

Waqas Qazi freelance colorist masterclass

Another huge addition to the value of the course is the many, many, many GBs of footage, project files, LUTs and sample clips to use as follow along course materials.

For example, in just the second module (02 – Cameras) focused on working with a variety of footage from popular cameras, there are 40GBs of footage to download alone!

Understandably, you can’t use this footage for anything other than practising as you follow along, and you can’t use it in your showreel.

If you’re starting from scratch, having access to these kinds of resources will give you a massive leg up when it comes to having professional-grade footage to hone your skills on. It’s also great that Qazi regularly provides tips on how to work with more technically limited 8-bit DSLR footage to get the best results, so you’ll know what to do even if you’re not grading an 8K RED project.

I really appreciated that the course is structured in such a way as to build up your knowledge from the ground up, which makes it highly accessible to anyone who isn’t already at the level of a semi-professional or competent editor/colorist – which is a lot of people who are none the less hungry to learn!

For example, the opening 36-minute crash course will give you a breezy 30,000 ft view of working in DaVinci Resolve before you even embark on the first ‘proper’ module.

You’ll want to watch through each module in order as the training builds upon knowledge established in earlier modules. But given the training is broken up into 258 discrete lessons, you’ll still be able to jump to the section you’re most interested in quickly.

One nice addition to the longer videos would have been some chapter markers to help you navigate inside the extended lessons, such as the 40 minutes on the Alexa Mini (M2 L7) or the 54 minutes on crafting skin tones (M3, L12).

But thankfully, the podia platform lets you resume a lesson where you left off or re-start at the beginning again if you prefer.

While I’m on the subject of the podia delivery platform, it’s really easy to use and navigate through. Helpfully, each lesson is ‘crossed’ out in the sidebar as you move through the course, so it’s easy to keep track of your progress.

I thought the picture quality of the training videos was excellent, even at full-screen on my 4K monitor. This makes a real difference to your learning experience when discerning the difference between a before and after moment on the impact of grain, sharpening or noise reduction on an image.

After all, this is a course all about colour and visual aesthetics!

What is Waqas Qazi’s Freelance Colorist Masterclass like?

I’m not going to pretend I’ve watched all 30+ hours of Qazi’s course. But I have dipped into all of the modules and watched numerous hours of his training for this review.

To some degree, there is an assumed level of knowledge, especially with regard to industry terminology, so if you’ve never touched DaVinci Resolve before, some things might move a little quickly for you.

But, if you’re taking this course, I’m assuming you’re much more likely to be someone who is already working frequently with DaVinci Resolve or another colour grading application and now wants to get a strong education on what a colorist actually does and how to become one.

There’s a lot to recommend in this course – not just how exhaustive it is but that it starts with best practices on conforming a project, understanding the merits of various kinds of footage, a deep focus on colour correction and shot matching before it gets into the ‘juicy’ training on creating specific looks – actual colour grading – in module 5.

This also highlights how much foundational knowledge there is to acquire as a colorist, so that when it comes to creating compelling-looking images, this is built on a framework of both technical and artistic rigour.

Qazi does a great job of narrating what he’s doing as he grades and shares many great tips and tricks that can otherwise only be acquired from dedicated time in the chair.

What Clients Often Ask Colorists To Do

I’ve included some of his YouTube videos in this review to illustrate this point and, although tutorials on ‘recreate the look of XYZ film’ might seem slightly superfluous, they are actually a really valuable way to learn and a valuable skill to master.

This is because Qazi is teaching you how to replicate a specific look from a reference, which is important for two reasons:

  1. You have to be able to break down an image, reverse engineer it, and then build that same look back into your footage.
  2. It’s what you’re going to get asked to do a lot.

Clients will have references that they’d like to draw inspiration from/emulate/rip-off and you’ll need to be able to do that effectively, albeit given the limitations of the footage you’re actually working with.

A big part of module 5 inside FCM focuses on emulating the look of various popular films and colour-grading aesthetics, so you’ll get a good dose of this in the course, too.

From a learning point of view, I would highly recommend you listen to Qazi’s advice and methodology in a subtly named lesson Introduction, 08 – Take Notes, for wisdom on how to best consume the training content, actually take priceless notes and create your own archive of screen grabs.

If you get into the habit of doing this, you will be able to make the most of the FCM (and any other) training by ingesting it and re-interpreting it for yourself.

Minor niggles

At times, some of the training felt a little bit like someone at work talking you through how to do things, rather than walking methodically through a slowly paced tutorial that moves at the speed of the new learner (like, say, from Ripple Training). But this is more of an issue of pace than competence.

In places, I felt like the course could have done with a little more polish (jump cuts in his presentation etc.), but this is absolutely not a deal breaker at all. If you’ve ever tried to put together a short tutorial yourself, you’ll understand how much work goes into it.

Now remember that Qazi has created 30+ hours (1,800 minutes!) of solid training.

That’s still a huge achievement.

A few other niggles I had include things like I would have preferred if he’d left the sound effects off the animations and call-outs or mixed them down a bit in some lessons.

Some lessons are so short that it would be helpful if the podia player had an autoplay function to keep you moving through them.

The pacing was a little breathless at times, so even though there’s already 30 hours of content I wouldn’t have minded if it had taken a little longer to get through it, to aid the student’s learning!

All that said, Qazi is a professional colorist, showing you how to do all the things a professional colorist would do, and he makes it all comprehensible.

What more could you ask for?

Freelancer Focus – How to Make Money Colour Grading

Skills are just one part of the equation, you do not understand how to hunt for a freakin’ job. How to land that job, how to hold that client and how to keep that client.

I’m gonna talk about all of that and then some in this module…

Waqas Qazi, Colorist

As a freelancer myself, I appreciated that Qazi’s goal was not just to share how to colour grade but also how to get work.

I felt he delivered a comprehensive and realistic overview of what it takes to become a freelancer – from the personal guts, hustle and passion required to the nitty gritty details of building an employable reel and tons of advice on getting work as well as using social media to your advantage.

I think he’s also realistic in communicating how much work is really involved in building a freelance career from scratch, such that students taking the course can replicate his techniques without assuming they’ll deliver instantaneous results.

The module covers topics such as becoming a freelancer, building a client base, using social media to get work, exposure and developing opportunities to collaborate.

Qazi also answers tough questions like:

  • How do I get clients?
  • How much should I charge for a project?
  • Should I work with an agency?
  • How do I deal with difficult clients?

He also shares some great curated resources that you could mine for places to get work, regardless of where you’re living, when you’re starting from zero.

It really doesn’t feel like Qazi has held anything back in sharing the client-facing tips, tricks and negotiation strategies that he uses to get and keep happy clients.

In terms of return on investment for the price of the course, this module alone would help you turn the price of admission into your next day-rate, so it’s worth considering that when you weigh up whether to invest in the course.

Is Waqas Qazi’s Freelance Colorist Masterclass Worth the Money?

The Freelance Colorist Masterclass can be yours for one payment of $997 (saving $200 vs…) or three payments of $399 ($1197 total).

The course delivers a HUGE amount of training and resources for the money and if you want someone who will inject you with a massive amount of positivity, confidence and excitement about colour grading, then Waqas Qazi’s Freelance Coloirst Masterclass is for you.

And what price can you put on that?

I’ve not seen another colour grading training course out there that provides such a comprehensive education on both the technical skills and the modern business abilities an emerging colorist would need to succeed.

You’ll obviously need to mine the course several times over to get the best out of it, but you’ll have lifetime access to both the training and a private Facebook group of FCM alumni as well.

It’s worth mentioning that this private group will give you closer access to Qazi and direct feedback from him and the opportunity to win prizes like a Blackmagic Design Micro Panel.

Check out the Freelance Colorist Masterclass in more detail here, including an eight-minute video overview of what’s included.

Watch Qazi’s YouTube tutorials to get a sense of his colour-grading aesthetic and teaching style. If you like what you see, you’ll love the course!

1 Comment

  • I took it several years ago when I started doing more color in Resolve, and it really helped me get a handle on Resolve’s Color page. That said, I find that his personality can be a bit much. Every time he says “This is the secret sauce” it makes me cringe. I no longer follow him as I have considerably more experience now and find there are better Colorists on YouTube to follow like Darren Mostyn.

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