Does your footage look a little dull? Or is your footage a little bit overexposed in a way that spoils your video quality? Have you ever heard of Color Correction or Color Grading?
Well, say no more! Today, I will show you how you can make your dull footage look more appealing to the viewer's eyes. So, let's get rolling with the basics of Color grading vs. Color correction to make your footage look fantastic, professional, and cinematic.
The terms color grading and color correction are often used interchangeably, although they have entirely different purposes. However, it's imperative to know what these processes are, what they are used for, and how they are different, especially if you want to start a career in video editing or motion graphics.
So, before we jump into how to improve your video quality, let's get a clear picture of Color grading vs. color correction.
Color correction vs. color grading
Color correction and color grading are two separate processes for editing color in a video. Both the processes are equally essential to video making. While both the terms have their own roles to play yet, they are both intertwined, and to get that professional look in your video; you'll need them both.
Color Correction, in simple words, is the adjustments you make to color correct your footage. These adjustments include white balance, exposure, tint, whites, blacks, saturation, highlights, shadows, etc. You have to make adjustments in these properties of your video footage to have a more appealing look.
Color Grading, in simple words, is a filtered layer applied on the top of your final footage. It makes your footage look more professional and appealing to the viewer's eye. It is a process that adds mood or emotion to the footage.
Now the question is, what is the difference between color correction and grading? Color correction is fixing problems, while color grading balances color and contrast to serve a visually appealing choice.
Keep in mind that color correcting or color grading your footage varies from footage to footage. However, to get a picture-perfect, professional look, you'll have to use both. First, you have to consider doing the color correction of your footage and then apply the color grading on your footage.
Getting started with color correction
Before we start talking about how to do it correctly, we need to make sure that we shoot the footage in the best settings possible so that the footage is not underexposed or overexposed.
To have complete control over the colors of the footage, we need to shoot the footage in some Picture Profile. It is a set of parameters that determine the characteristics of footage.
These picture profiles vary from brand to brand. If you have a Canon camera, you need to use C-log; if you have a Sony camera, you need to use S-log, and there are many others. Basically, Logs help us shoot a flat image to control it with more flexibility. It helps us achieve the desired image, professional look and helps in maintaining consistency throughout the video.
For color correcting the footage, you can use different software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Davinci Resolve, etc. It all depends on your personal preference as everyone works the same.
Color correcting the footage
Here, I am using Adobe Premiere Pro. You need to import your footage to the timeline and then select the footage and go to the Window tab and search for Lumetri Color. Once it is selected, your Lumetri window will open.
You will find different categories here, such as Basic Correction, Creative, Curves, Color Wheels & Match, HSL Secondary, Vignette. The best and perhaps the easiest way of color correcting your footage is to go step-by-step.
So, once you click on Basic Correction in the Lumetri Color Window, a window will appear, showing you some settings like:
- Input LUT - It tells the software to interpret footage in a specific way. It is applied to different Log footage for it to display with natural or correct colors. You can select different LUTs which are inbuilt or can even use a custom LUT to your footage.
- White Balance - It is the same thing as in your camera. We need to adjust the white balance every time the surroundings or lightning changes. If you forget to set the white balance or feel that it is not the way it should be, you can correct it from here. You should do it in the beginning before making any adjustments to the rest of the settings.
- Tone - Under Tone, you will find different settings such as Exposure, Contrast, Highlights, Shadows, Whites, Blacks, and Saturation. Here you may increase or decrease the value of properties of the footage as per your need.
- Exposure - The term is basically used to process light in the image according to our needs. You can let the image be light or dark the way you want it to be.
- Contrast - The difference between lighter and darker areas of an image is used to show the details within an image.
- Highlights - It consists of the brightest part in the image or footage.
- Shadows - You can control the brightness or darkness of shadows in your footage.
- Whites - From here, you can control the amount of brightness and darkness of whites in your footage.
- Blacks - From here, you can control the amount of brightness and darkness of blacks in your footage.
- Saturation - You can control the amount of color you want to show in your footage from here.
You can add points and drag them to make adjustments in shadows, mid-tones, and highlights with more accuracy. In curves, you can edit individual color channels, red, blue, green, and white.
These curves can perform overall adjustments in the hue, saturation, or luminance based on the values you select. If you are confused, hue is color; saturation is the intensity of color, and luminance is the brightness of your footage.
Each graph has two properties, horizontal and vertical, and both the properties are connected. You will find different curve tools under the same menu :
- Hue Vs. Saturation
- Hue Vs. Hue
- Hue Vs. Luma
- Luma Vs. Saturation
- Saturation Vs. Saturation
These are called selective grading tools because that's exactly what they do. For example, I can select the red shade of a particular area and change it to green without affecting the entire footage.
Besides, I can isolate colors and make a whole lot of changes. I can use Hue Vs. Saturation to desaturate that area. There are various changes, including fine-tuning skin tones, lower saturation of shadows, & a handful of other creative results.
Color wheel and matches
It allows you to compare two videos side-by-side by automatically selecting the color and gray-scale data from a reference picture and applying it to the current shot. It also allows you to make changes in shadow, highlight, and mid-tones.
It gives overall control over a specific color in the footage. Control over a single color is useful when the overall hue saturation curves are hitting their limits. Curves are then lowered to meet broadcast safe limits. Another typical scenario includes enhancing a specific color by making it stand out from the background or keying a particular luminance range, like a sky.
The organization of controls within the HSL section guides you through the workflow. This process requires setting a key, then refining your key, and applying a color correction.
Vignette is certainly the simplest way to drag attention towards a particular section of the footage. Adjust the Amount, Midpoint, Roundness, and Feather sliders until you achieve the desired result of your footage.
Getting started with color grading
Color Grading is a process that you do once you have completed color correcting your footage. It is the process of giving our footage the feel and emotion, so the viewer feels more interested and convinced while watching it. It helps us stylize the color scheme of the footage.
It is the most creative part where you can make it look like what you want to show. It helps look the footage more professional. You may even apply a LUT that you can download from different sources or make a Custom LUT to have a specific look for your videos.
- Go to the Creative Tab in the Lumetri Window, and load the LUT in the look option according to your own preference.
- Once you know which LUT you want to apply to your footage, you can adjust its intensity.
- Under the same menu, you will see the Adjustments option, where you will find the settings such as Faded Film, Sharpen,, and Saturation of the particular LUT you have applied on your footage.
- You can control the tint of Shadow and Highlight of the LUT.
Watch this video, to see both color grading and color correction in action.
That's it, folks! Now, you are all set to color and edit your footage.
Remember, both color correction and color grading play an essential role in giving your video a polished and professional look. Just pick the right color to make sure that it conveys the right emotions and tone you want to obtain in your video.
Besides, using both color grading and color correction ensures your video will look professionally created. In fact, color correcting and grading, when done the right way, could be the determining factor in whether your viewers will be engaged in your video or not.
Editor: Richa Sharma