Does your footage look a little dull? Or is your footage slightly 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 colour grading and colour correction are often used interchangeably, although they have 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.

Colour Correction vs. Colour Grading

Colour correction and colour grading are two separate processes for editing colour in a video. Both processes are equally essential to video making. While both the terms have their roles to play, they are 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.
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  • Color Grading, in simple words, is a filtered layer applied on 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. 
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Now, the question is, what is the difference between colour correction and grading?

Colour correction is fixing problems, while colour grading balances colour and contrast to serve a visually appealing choice. 

Remember that colour correcting or grading your footage varies from footage to footage. However, you'll have to use both to get a picture-perfect, professional look. First, you must consider correcting your footage's colour and then applying the colour grading to your footage.

Getting started with Colour Correction

Before we start talking about how to do it correctly, we need to ensure that we shoot the footage in the best settings possible so that it is not underexposed or overexposed.

To have complete control over the colours of the footage, we need to shoot the footage in some Picture Profiles – set of parameters that determine the characteristics of the 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 many others. Logs help us shoot a flat image to control it more flexibly. It helps us achieve the desired image and professional look and helps maintain consistency throughout the video. 

You can use software like Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Davinci Resolve, etc., to colour-correct the footage. It all depends on your personal preference, as everyone works the same.

1. Colour-correcting the footage

Here, we are using Adobe Premiere Pro. You need to import your footage to the timeline and then select the footage, go to the Window tab, and search for Lumetri Color. Once it is selected, your Lumetri window will open.

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You will find different categories here: Basic Correction, Creative, Curves, Color Wheels and match, HSL Secondary, and Vignette.  The best and perhaps the easiest way of color-correcting your footage is to go step-by-step.

2. Basic Correction

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 to display with natural or correct colours. You can select different LUTs which are inbuilt or even use a custom LUT for your footage.
  • White Balance – It is the same thing as in your camera. We must adjust the white balance every time the surroundings or lighting changes. If you forget to set the white balance or feel it is not how it should be, you can correct it from here. You should do it initially before adjusting 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 brightness and darkness of whites in your footage.
  • Blacks – From here, you can control the brightness and darkness of blacks in your footage.
  • Saturation – You can control the colour you want to show in your footage from here.
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3. Curves

You can add points and drag them to make adjustments in shadows, mid-tones, and highlights with more accuracy. You can edit individual colour channels in curves, red, blue, green, and white.

These curves can perform overall hue, saturation, or luminance adjustments based on the values you select. If you are confused, hue is colour, saturation is the intensity of colour, and luminance is the brightness of your footage.

Each graph has two properties, horizontal and vertical, which 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
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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 colours 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.

4. Colour wheel and matches

It allows you to compare two videos side-by-side by automatically selecting the colour and grey-scale data from a reference picture and applying it to the current shot. It also allows you to change shadow, highlight, and mid-tones.

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5. HSL Secondary

It gives overall control over a specific colour in the footage. Control over a single colour is useful when the overall hue saturation curves hit their limits.

Curves are then lowered to meet broadcast safe limits. Another typical scenario includes enhancing a specific colour 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 colour correction.

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6. Vignette

Vignette is 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.

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Getting started with Colour Grading

Colour Grading is a process 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 colour scheme of the footage.

It is the most creative part, where you can make it look like what you want to show. It helps make the footage more professional.  You may even apply an 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 Tabs in the Lumetri Window, and load the LUT in the look option according to your preference. 
  • You can adjust its intensity once you know which LUT you want to apply to your footage. 
  • 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.
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Watch this video, to see both color grading and color correction in action.

Got a clear understanding?

That's it, folks! Now, you are all set to colour and edit your footage.

Remember, colour correction and colour grading are essential in giving your video a polished and professional look. Just pick the right colour to ensure it conveys the emotions and tone you want to obtain in your video. 

Besides, colour grading and colour correction ensure your video will look professionally created. In fact, color correcting and grading, when done the right way, could determine whether your viewers will be engaged in your video.

The best thing to do is go out there and start experimenting. Looking for video editing tips or a video editing company? Well, get in touch with us now and get a personalized price quote.

Editor: Richa Sharma

Frequently Asked Questions

No, color grading and color correction are not the same. Color correction involves the process of adjusting and fixing the colors in a video to ensure accuracy and consistency. It corrects issues such as white balance, exposure, and color imbalances. Color grading, on the other hand, is the creative process of enhancing and stylizing the colors in a video to achieve a specific visual tone or mood. It involves artistic choices to create a desired look

Color grading is the creative and artistic process of adjusting and enhancing the colors in a video or image to achieve a specific visual style, tone, or mood. It involves manipulating aspects like contrast, saturation, brightness, and color balance to create a unique and aesthetically pleasing look for the content.

Color grading and color timing are related but distinct processes. Color timing originated in the film industry and referred to the adjustment of the exposure and color balance during the film printing process. It was a technical correction process. Color grading, as mentioned earlier, is a creative and artistic process that involves enhancing and stylizing the colors in a video to achieve a specific look or mood. While color timing was primarily technical, color grading is more artistic and involves a wider range of creative choices.

  1. Color correction is typically done first to correct technical issues like white balance, exposure, and color balance. This process involves using tools like color wheels, scopes, and curves to achieve accurate and consistent colors. Once the correction is complete, color grading follows, where you apply creative adjustments to achieve the desired artistic look. This may involve altering contrast, saturation, adding color tints, and using various grading tools to create the final visual style. Both color correction and color grading can be done using specialized software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, or Adobe After Effects.