Washed out Adverts


Distinguished Member
Why do do many adverts look washed out?

What I mean by that is that there is a lack of
contrast and the darkest blacks are a not so
dark grey.

Is it a stylistic high-key lighting effect? Is it
the result of a different choice of encoding

I'm mystified by this choice that makes the
adverts look bland.

The ITV drama lives ad is an example.
Last edited:


Moderator/Games Reviewer
Its a creative decision. Colour correction, Colour grading, Digital Colour Processing (DCP) all mean the same thing. Its the process of sitting in an expensive suite (or occasionally a cheap one) and giving a finished commercial or program or film a "look".
At the moment a very in-vogue look is the Michael Bay Transformers "everything shot at sunset look". This means pushing the blacks and shadows towards blue/teale and all the mid tones towards yellowy orange. The theory behind this is that they are the most complimentary colours on the colour wheel. This has become the defacto grade for the last couple of years and even shows up in TV Shows such as Game of Thrones.
Colour Grading is a seriously important stage in the creative process and gives directors and producers the chance to really deliver their vision. In this case, its lifted washed out blacks and shadows.


Moderator/Games Reviewer
Ads can be and are often amazing. Strip away the product and the ******** and many can be judge as short films in their own right. Sometimes funny, shocking or even moving. Ads are powerful things and there are some bloody talented people behind certain campaigns. Just my opinion of course but I defo don't think its fair to dismiss them despite the majority being completely throwaway.

brian s

Distinguished Member
As I say I do my best to avoid them but even I watch a bit of live TV every now and again. I haven't seen an enjoyable ad in many years.



Moderator/Games Reviewer
I used to freelance at a company in Soho called Finish. They literally do the finishing on a ton of top commercials. Besides being a lovely place to work the content they were churning out was some of the best I have ever seen. The production values are excepetional. Couple of examples below:



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