Founded by colorists Kevin Shaw and Warren Eagles, the International Colorist Academy has been a place for industry professionals to learn since its inception. With more than 50 years of grading experience between them, and 30 years of training and demo experience, Shaw and Eagles know what they are about. They know that confidence, mentorship, and community are as important as the skills themselves.
“The colorist’s job can be a lonely one, and often largely self-taught,” said Shaw. “We saw incredible professionals spend decades honing their craft, learning these golden nuggets through hard-earned experience, only for all that knowledge to be lost with their retirement. That sets the industry back – imagine each generation in the role starting back from base. So, we feel it is super important that this industry knowledge gets preserved and passed on, to springboard the next evolution of what we do.”
Color grading remains an evolving and disparate discipline. Of course, nowadays it is more than possible to self-train with manuals, YouTube tutorials and time. But by itself, this is a laborious and incomplete way to build knowledge. And it’s a slow way to learn the soft skills of getting work and managing clients and can be very solitary. Books and videos are helpful resources, but they can never replace firsthand knowledge and someone to answer your questions. Those in-the-know – upwards of
According to Shaw and Eagles, nearly 10,000 students have taken an iColorist class when they have felt the need to learn a new skill quickly and in depth. Its trainers, a group of industry veterans with decades of grading knowledge and ongoing working experience as colorists, are based around the world.
“Our classes are always small and personal,” said Eagles. “You can book one-on-one classes and consultations if you have a particularly knotty issue you’d like us to cut through – but most of the time it’s the fellow students that provide that extra something. People form friendships and connections in a three-day class that they keep for years. You meet people from different backgrounds, levels and roles that come together to share their perspective and learn from each other.
“That said, we keep classes small because learning should be interactive and collaborative but also individualized. We guarantee one-on-one time because it’s that direct teacher-student moment that can really clarify and cement the lesson. All our instructors are independent colorists that continue to work as well as teach, so that training draws on up-to-date information and working experience. It’s important that we keep our hand in – because the industry changes so fast.”
“Grading is more than software and hardware,” said Shaw. “It’s an art, a science and a business. We cover all three, because ultimately people want to understand why they do what they do as well as how – and how to make it a livelihood. That’s why what we have built goes beyond the classroom. We also host the International Colorist Society’s not-for-profit Colorist Mixer events. These used to be held wherever in the world we travelled, including IBC and NAB tradeshows, but during COVID we also started holding them online because people need to connect, network, and learn the latest more than ever. Plus, we encourage mentoring wherever possible – something we constantly hear is desperately wanted in the industry. Alumni contact us for support and advice years afterwards – they know if they are coming up against a problem, it’s probably something we’ve seen and figured out many times before.”
iColorist teaches students, universities, film schools, broadcasters, studios, national archives as well as customized classes on-site for post facilities, manufacturers, and industry organizations. They’ve trained people to start out, to change career, to refresh advanced skills, to grasp the newest technology, to reach a new understanding of color theory, and to unlock new wells of creativity.
Students receive a well-respected certificate in their chosen course, are added to a public database of certified colorists, and are eligible to become an iColorist member – giving them access to industry discounts from leading manufacturers.
Classes range from $200 for three-four-hour deep dives to $2,000 for three-four-day seminars, depending on the topic and instructor. There are classes suitable for everyone from beginners to advanced professionals, and students commonly include film students, colorists, audio engineers, cinematographers and cameramen, directors, producers, DITs, editors, restoration or VFX artists, vloggers and other content creators.
“The iColorist Academy will continue to advance the art, science and business of grading and share the innovations of today and tomorrow with everyone that wants to learn them – from first timers to film pros,” said Eagles. “People are hungrier than ever to learn about the magic behind color – and we’re here to teach them.”