Getting into color grading
If you’re moving into video work from the “static” photography or web-design worlds, you might be a little bewildered by the range of color-editing options, and by this mysterious new term known as grading. Here’s a quick introduction.
Time and motion add complexity. Unlike a still photograph, a video scene unfolds over time — as clouds roll overhead, the camera alters its POV, or the sun dips beneath the horizon. These dynamics can dramatically affect the color in your video. You may also want to adjust for color from various sources, like footage shot on different cameras.
The RED blog summarizes some key differences between stills and motion:
The color editing stage with photography is called “grading” with motion. The familiar image editing tools are still applied using a single representative video frame, but with video it’s best to use global editing tools, such as curves, levels, white balance and saturation. Local adjustments like dodging, burning, cloning and healing brushes can break frame-to-frame continuity, so reserve these for advanced edits.
As in photography, you can edit color to be natural or faithful to the scene, or you can use it for quite dramatic creative effects — or some combination of the two. See color pro Cristopher Benitah’s example below:
Michael DeVowe’s excellent tutorial shows you how to get accurate colors in video using Photoshop: Using the color picker, you sample highlights, midtones, and shadows for each channel of a scene, then export your selections as a preset to After Effects or Premiere:
Vashi Nedomansky provides insight into another big question for new editors: in what order should you perform the various tasks?
“Doing color correction on your footage in this order will help you maintain extremely high quality in the interaction of all the effects you use. Not all steps are needed for every shot but in case you have to use them all, here they are:
- Remove artifacts and de-noise.
- Balance your shots by adjusting blacks/mids/whites, saturation and white balance.
- Relight within a shot using power windows or masks.
- Add gradients, diffusion and other lens filters.
- Add vignettes.
- Grade your images.
- Simulate a film stock of your choice.
- Resize and sharpen.
To dig deeper into color correction, check out these resources:
- Color grading on the Adobe Premiere blog or Adobe TV.
- An introduction to Adobe SpeedGrade on Adobe TV.
- Adobe Premiere forum on Creative Cow.
- Red Giant’s plug-ins, including Magic Bullet, have lots of hardcore fans. They’re now part of the Shooter Suite.
- Denver Riddle, creator of Instagram’s video filters, offers a huge resource of tutorials and software (for sale) at Color Grading Central.
- And for the truly hardcore, listen to all the color-grading news and trends on the Coloristos podcast.
People No Longer Need Sound To Consume Video Content
How many times do you look around and everyone is on their phones? The 21st century is full of people consuming content, whether it’s on the subway, at work, or in schools. In this post we explore the topic of sound in media, which people have been choosing to live without. Ditching The Sound […] Read more
Filmmaking: 6 Things You Need to Know Before Filming a Music Video
The sky is the limit when directing and filming a music video. As it happens, there are no direct and strict rules when creating one. However, there is a template. And this template has been found to be very useful in recent times. While the common template has become the most apparent outline that most […] Read more
6 Creative Ways Marketers Can Use Stock Videos
Video is now a critical component that forward-thinking brands use. According to Content Marketing Institute’s annual Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends report, brands have produced more video content than text and image content. This also helped marketers deliver 34% higher conversion rates. But there’s more than just the competition fueling the demand for more video. People […] Read more