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Why does my project look different on every screen? and just as we cannot change the colour of lamps and sunlight, neither can we accurately control the colour of the screen or the viewing conditions of the millions of people watching our work. If you visit any gallery in the world, which has natural light as a source, when you visit at 9am and photograph a painting, and return again at 4pm and photograph the same painting with the same settings, the brightness and colour cast could be warmer, or cooler, based on the natural light.  This in itself will have changed the way we see the painting, the colours will have changed to our eye, but one key thing to remember is that our brain interprets the information that our eyes transmit to it.  If someone is wearing a white t-shirt in an image our brain balances the other colours based on that and other known objects and what colour they are.  When someone owns a TV, a laptop and an iPhone, the colour is neutralised by our brain it appears normal (unless you put them next to each other) and it’s only if we have a reference (a logo with strong colours) that we might spot an issue, otherwise, everything seems fine.  If your TV is set up a bit wacky, that wacky to you is normal. However, with the gallery example, we don’t see this as devaluing or ruining a painting or piece of art, it is how the colours are used in the painting (or image) that complement each other perfectly, how the light in the original scene is rendered and controlled, in essence, creating an image that is visually pleasing in whatever environment you watch it in and on.  As the image above shows, the scene that I photographed in Austria is equally beautiful on both screens, and if you were to look at one phone, and then turn it off, and turn the other one on, if you did this with even a few seconds gap, the chances are you’d think they were identical – that is how bad our colour memory is. There is no excuse for anyone who offers grading services, individual or company, not to understand the complexities of display calibration, it is a known standard that manufacturers do work too, and it allows screens that the work is seen on later to be off in a particular direction without major detriment to the viewer’s experience of the image, particularly if you have set your black and white levels properly. So if you are panicking about how your project is looking different on YouTube, your Quicktime on your laptop (oh the joy of Quicktime gamma issues), YouTube on your iPhone and then when its broadcast, don’t lose too much sleep – it’s never going to change, it’s not as bad as it seems – you just need to make sure you work with people who know why it looks different and how we can counter the issues as much as we can within the controls and knowledge at our disposal. I leave you with one final thought; years ago I worked on a Channel 4/E4 series here in the UK called ‘Dead Set’.  It was directed by Yann Demange, DP was Tat Radcliffe and it was written by Charlie Brooker.  I can remember all of us discussing the issues described in this article, and how dark we could realistically go with the colour grade without causing issues for anyone watching this zombie horror during bright daylight hours (it was in places graded and lit in a very moody way), and in an unheard of moment of genius Charlie managed to get the announcer to state before the programme: “Now on E4, ‘Dead Set’, which contains graphic scenes and which is best viewed in a darkened environment”. I had a wonderful vision of millions of people all reaching up to their light switch and turning off their ‘big light’, and thereby increasing their enjoyment of the work we had done, and actually seeing some more of the gory detail! There you have it, problem solved. Thomas Urbye MD & Senior Colourist, The Look, London 62 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE TV-BA073JAN13.indd 62 11/01/2013 14:17