Color Timer

Analyze and balance a film for brightness and color.
picture of Color Timer

Quick Stats


Salary Range
$26,000 – $112,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Color Timers do?

A Color Timer works in the film industry alongside a Director of Photography, making sure the on-screen color in movies is consistent from start to finish. In a manner of speaking, the Color Timer fits the puzzle pieces together to get a clear picture instead of a muddled mess, which is very important when the puzzle is a movie and there’s an audience to answer to.

Although that sounds easy enough, the truth is it’s no small task. That’s because movies traditionally are made up of thousands of different snippets of film that are spliced together to create a single reel. Because film stock varies from roll to roll, each piece of film typically has its own tone, hue, density, and contrast, which means each scene looks slightly different from the next. Before films are finished, therefore, they’re sent to a film processing lab where, as a Color Timer, you use a machine called a color analyzer to balance each scene’s color and brightness so the movie looks like one continuous image, with each scene matching the next.

“Color Timer” is a term left over from the days of black-and-white cinema, when you had to actually time the exposure of prints to chemicals during the color-correcting process. These days, however, there’s no timing involved; just color. Basically, then, you’re the film industry equivalent of a Beautician, paid to beautify film with the right shades of cinematic make-up.


Should I be a Color Timer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.

  • How to become a Color Timer

    Most Color Timers have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:osc9aa&chl=no+college+%2812%25%29|certificate+%2836%25%29|associate%27s+%282%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2850%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,12,50
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