Will This Editing Trend Take the Place of the Cinematic Edit?

The cinematic look is everywhere in photography. But is this trend, rich with orange and teal tones, on its way out? PJ Pantelis thinks so, and he has an idea of what he thinks the next big editing movement will be.

The last few years have seen an increase in popularity of cinematic edits in photography. They mimic the lighting in blockbuster movies, and much of the time focus on the contrast created in a color grade that is centered around complimentary oranges and teals. Many photographers love this style for good reason; it sort of mimics the warmth of the golden hour, it renders warm, beautiful skin tones, and it adds a dramatic pop of contrast with its use of complementary colors.

PJ Pantelis, a Melbourne based music photographer, believes that film emulation in the commercial photography industry is not suited for lots of professional applications, and he sees a need for a cleaner, more natural commercial edit. In this video, he shows us what he believes we’ll soon be seeing more of; a fresh, crisp edit with good dynamic range.

Using Lightroom CC, and changing the process to Version 1, he is able to bring back the old Recovery, Fill Lights, and Blacks sliders, which he prefers to use in this particular editing style. He walks us through a quick edit, making some hue/saturation adjustments for subtle color grading that mimics the old teal and orange style, on a much smaller scale. Using the aforementioned old-school panel, he works some magic on the highlights, shadows, and blacks. The result is a lifted, lighter edit without being overly bright, and with great dynamic range that doesn’t have the rough feel of an HDR treatment.

Finally, he creates a preset from this process, and he demonstrates its application on several different photos, to great effect. You can download his preset for free here. Enjoy!

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29 Comments

Mr Hogwallop's picture

Isn't this more of a "grading" trend than an "editing" trend. Yes it will fade a way just like all trends, once too many people are doing (and not very subtly) then a new trend will take hold.
Remember the "tilt shift anti focus" trend from 5 years ago, thank goodness that went away for a while.

I’m starting to wonder if the YouTube “experts” really know the difference between editing and color grading.

Kirk Darling's picture

With the popularity of DSLR video, there has been a bleed-over of terms between the two worlds of cinema and still. However, many of the people involved have come in as blank slates, so if they first see something done in cine, they may not realize it had already long existed by another name in still.

Mark Holtze's picture

I’m an “offline editor” but I sit in with the online guys during sessions. We grade based on the narrative and tone of the show. Trends don’t really exist in that world as color pallets all have a narrative motif.

I love watching them work; years of doing it has made them super specific into details even I can’t dig into.

A good colourist will still fetch top top dollar, they bring so much to a production.

This is okay entry level stuff but one should really dig deep if you want to full immerse yourself in this color world.

Hartmut Nörenberg's picture

it is always funny if you see these "professionals" just klicking buttons on an iMac Display that is uncalibrated and completely sucks. Trend? This is grading. Stop watching shitty instagram and play with the real guys.

Thanks for the video. Enjoyed it. Just to clarify, crushing blacks and highlights does not "increase dynamic range", it reduces it. It increases perceived contrast. Your link to the preset is giving a 404. Thanks again for posting.

Tomash Masojc's picture

yes, that one was funny :D

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

Who gives a shit about the next trend?

trendy people and those hoping to cash in on that market.

Jonathon Rusnak's picture

Exactly. Who gives a shit. ;)

Chad D's picture

hhahahah crap images so lets try to do something in post and call it grading cause it sounds awesome
and will make my images awesome

man South Park folks should look into the idiocy that is trendy photography would be funny

Dan Marchant's picture

His idea is about better dynamic range so he sets LR to use the oldest possible Process version that does less well at recovering Highlights and Shadows. Yea clearly knows what he's doing.

William Faucher's picture

Wow lot of hate in the comments here. I always enjoy watching how other people grade their images. Sometimes you see something you missed the first time around.

In this case however, I am a little amused that while he didn't do the overblown teal and orange look, I would still consider it a teal and orange style. His statement about DR is, well, wrong. In the end, everything ends up looking a bit flat, almost looks like too much High Pass was used.

To each their own, we all have our favorite looks and styles, but to say this is the next trend? I can hardly tell what sets this look apart. Besides, teal and orange has been used for the longest time for a reason, its more complicated than just "being a trend". There's a lot more to it.

William Howell's picture

Hey, I wouldn’t call it hate, I characterize the comments as truthful and blunt. There are a lot of pros on this site and as such, one is going to get called out for less than professional content.
Man I put, what I think are good photographs, on my profile, and I get tons of 1 star ratings. At first, you know that hurt, but then I was like, “well at least they’re are looking at them!”

William Faucher's picture

Well put sir! And I have my own things to say about this, but I try to put it a little more nicely than "He is an idiot". Constructive criticism is best. :)

Unfortunately, I think most of it is called for. The 18min video delivers nothing it sets out to do. He calls it a new style that is not orange and teal, high dynamic range and natural looking. He takes a horribly light portrait, makes it orange and teal, high contrast and exaggerates the clarity making it unnatural. Not to mention using version 1 of the Lightroom developing module does more than change the sliders you get to interact way, you end up using ancient developing tech.

We all started out at one point but don't act like an authority on the subject.

"Orange and Teal is dead" first thing he does "let's go to the calibration panel and add some light orange and teal".

Edit: also believes "Crushing blacks gives it more dynamic range", errr nah mate, what are you on about?

Kirk Darling's picture

Kind of reminds me of my first major newspaper job in 1970. The printer kept saying he wanted a "contrasty" image. But I knew a contrasty photo wouldn't work well at all in newsprint. A bit of discussion revealed that he meant an image with "lots of contrasts," which mean lots of gray tones...just the opposite of what his term meant to me.

Ansel Spear's picture

Another painful watch.

I shoot film about 90% of the time. I love the cheap consumer Kodak Gold 200 film for precisely this reason. It is warm and shows a great palate of oranges and yellows. This just looks to me like someone trying to emulate Gold.

Grant Schwingle's picture

We're really using the first Process Version Lightroom offered over 10 years ago? Pass.

Timothy Daniel's picture

Do you think Fstoppers posts videos like this because they know it will generate a ton of engagement from everyone commenting on this guy's ... whatever that was?

Jeff McCollough's picture

He needs to learn how to take better photos.

Far too red, far too saturated, and *really* unnatural, contrary to what he says at the end. "If you've nothing positive to say, don't say anything" is something I tend to stick to on stuff like this because it's all subjective, but I can't resist it here..

Tomash Masojc's picture

I think fstoppers readers just gave him some dislikes :D

Felix Wu's picture

This title is so misleading...lol I was expecting a final cut or premier tutorial. ... then i fast forwarded to see a lightroom colour grading one...haha

stir photos's picture

survey says...

Alexandre Moreira's picture

Meio bosta...

Daniel Medley's picture

Edit, grading, whatever. Editing encompasses many things; color grading included.

I think his edit is pretty good, but it's pretty much just a different take on the orange and teal thing. It's stylized to the point where it doesn't look "natural" at all. Don't get me wrong, I personally prefer a bit of stylized look over completely natural. But, let's call it like it is; far from a "natural" look.