One of the last stages in any video production is what is known as Color Grading. In its simplest form, color grading can be defined as “the process of altering and enhancing the color of a motion picture, video or still image”. Think of those easy to use filters in Instagram and how dramatic it can change your photo. Where color grading really shines is its ability to help create a more consistent look and feel for your footage. It also is a creative tool by which one can shape the mood of your story. Warmer colors and grades elicit a much different feeling than cooler tones. Or maybe your want your film to have some grit by decreasing the saturation and increasing the contrast of the footage.
Like with any creative process, there are a plethora of different ways to get at color grading in video. There’s different pieces of software (FCPX, Davinci, AE, Premiere, etc.), there’s different tools within the software (Curves, Levels, Hue/Sat, 3 Way Color Wheels, etc.) and there’s even more third party plugins and LUTs you can use with your footage. At the end of the day it just comes down to what works for you and how it plays out in your workflow.
More than anything, understanding how color works is foundational in the choices you make while grading your footage. This video below does an amazing job in helping unpack the ideas behind color theory and how it can help enhance your story. In the upcoming weeks I’ll be unpacking what software we use to color grade and give you some quick tips that can help your footage look better.