Colour grading video & film

As important to a storyline as editing

If most of us saw our favourite films before colour grading, we would have trouble recognising them. Colour grading is as important to a storyline as editing. Video doesn’t naturally make those blue skies as blue as they feel when you see them for real. Video can be harsh on skin tones. Video isn’t as advanced as our eye, which continually assesses and rebalance the colours that we see. To make the sky bluer, to make skin appear more even, to make colours as bright as what we see in life - you need colour grading.

The art of colour grading

Colour grading is an art. The films we love extensively use colour grading to convey mood, draw attention to characters and generally to bring about an aesthetically pleasing visual. Like the colour pallets of great artists, colour graders have their own unique ways of using colour. The best colour graders know exactly what is needed to achieve a result. The art of colour grading is far too complex than can be explained in a single paragraph or article. Only by seeing a great colour grader at work do you appreciate their art.

How is colour grading used?

Editors use colour grading to manipulate contrast, colour balance and saturation in order to achieve a predetermined colour profile. Colour grading is even used to bring colour profiles of a video more in line with corporate or brand colour pallets.

A beginners guide to colour grading

Colour grading can be used in a number of ways. It can be either very obvious or so subtle and seamless that without viewing the original source, you may not even notice.

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You can think of it as four stages

Stage 1
Balance various shots in a single scene, so if you run the sequence, it gives the illusion of all camera angles shot at the one time.
View example

Stage 2
Give the scene a mood or feel to it. It could be a blue/green tone to signify a cool day, or an orange/yellow feel to imply a warmer day.
View example

Stage 3
Force the viewer to subconsciously look at a particular part of the image. For example, darken off a background and highlight the subject.

Stage 4
Make sure that once all the scenes are put together that the colour from one scene to the next flows and doesn’t jar.

The best colour grading solution

At Promoscape, among a number of tools we use DaVinci Resolve, the world’s most advanced colour correction system. DaVinci Resolve allows us the maximum amount of flexibility in adjusting specific colours within a shot as well as colouring an overall shot or series of shots. DaVinci Resolve even allows us to store colour pallets for future shoots, to reduce the costs and time of colour grading new projects.

Video is notorious at being unflattering with skin tones and more subtle with colours. Promoscape uses DaVinci Resolve to compensate for video's failings, creating more professional looking and successful results.