Video Color Grading

Video color grading is a critical process in video production. It involves adjusting the parameters of an image to achieve a consistent and appealing final look during video editing. Here, I’ll delve into the steps involved in video color grading and the tools I use to bring it all together.

Understanding Video Color Grading and its Purpose

Think about wanting to buy a painting that captures the essence of your childhood landscape in autumn. The one you’re accustomed to seeing every year during that time, evoking a bubble of nostalgia. The colors are magnificent. The colors are a mix of yellow, orange, red, and sometimes green. So you expect to find that positive feeling in the paint you’ve bought. May the colors be true to your memory.

In video production, color grading serves the same purpose. It’s about refining the colors of the image on screen to align with what the client or director envisions and to evoke the desired emotions. We tweak various parameters like contrast, brightness, saturation, and color tones to achieve a cohesive and realistic outcome based on the project brief.

You might already be familiar with this concept from editing photos for Instagram. Applying filters to create a unique visual style is essentially color grading but in the realm of photography. You modify the color palette displayed on the screen, creating a unique style.

As part of a Positive Impact video, color grading is the final touch of the editing process, enhancing your narrative. It’s an essential step for a successful video that conveys emotion.

How to Color Grade a Video?

So, how does it work? Let me break down the steps of color grading so you can understand what happens behind my screen.

Color grading is the final phase of video editing. The story has been assembled, and the visual effects and sound design have already been integrated.

If multiple cameras were used, the first step involves matching the outputs. I typically shoot in LOG or RAW formats, maximizing image quality and allowing complete flexibility in color work.

I adjust white balance and exposure for each shot to achieve a neutral image, a consistent base throughout the video. Saturation levels are set to a minimum. This step, while not the most exciting, is crucial: balancing the image.

The Davinci Resolve editing software greatly aids me in these adjustments.

From there, I work on crafting the desired visual aesthetic, aligning with the client’s or project brief.

For instance, in a video about wood, I aim for a warm tone, playing with oranges. A cold, blue look would have less impact in this scenario.

How to Grade a Film?

Film grading follows a similar process to video grading but can be more intricate due to the nuances of film production. Films may involve various cameras and film stocks, resulting in distinct colors and tones across different sequences.

Film color grading often requires individual attention to each shot, adjusting colors and brightness to achieve visual consistency and coherence throughout the film.

Choosing Software for Color Grading

After working with Adobe Première Pro editing software, I switched to Davinci Resolve 2 years ago. A project can be edited in Adobe Premiere Pro and then imported into Davinci for color grading.

There are several video editing software options available for color grading, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the most popular ones:

  • DaVinci Resolve: This is, in my opinion, the most comprehensive software for video post-production, including professional color grading tools. It is widely used in the film and television industry.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro: This video editing software comes with a basic color grading module, accessible via the Lumetri plugin, allowing adjustments to colors and brightness.
  • Final Cut Pro: Exclusive to Apple, this software is popular among audiovisual professionals. It offers high-quality color grading tools.

Essential Equipment for Video Color Grading

For video color grading, having a high-quality reference monitor is crucial for accurately displaying colors. Reference monitors are designed to provide an exact representation of colors and nuances, which is essential for precise color grading.

I use a calibration probe that ensures optimal color accuracy on my monitor. This probe measures the colors displayed on my monitor and adjusts them to match color standards such as REC 709, used for television broadcasting. I work mainly in gamma 2.4, but can also switch to gamma 2.2 for web use if required.

In my opinion, the second essential piece of equipment is a powerful computer capable of handling video editing and every stage of color grading a project.

When filming with cinema cameras, projects can quickly reach sizes between 250GB and 1TB. Video color grading software is typically resource-intensive, and a slow computer can lead to longer rendering times and a slower workflow. In other words, you wouldn’t be close to finishing your project…

Finally, there are many accessories like control surfaces that can be used to optimize workflow sessions, but I haven’t found them necessary for my work. Both my keyboard and mouse have well-integrated shortcuts that allow me to work efficiently.

Video Color Grading in Montreal

I work and produce my video content in Montreal, but I’m available to remotely color grade your projects if needed.

As you’ve probably gathered by now, I mainly work on projects with a positive social or environmental impact, but if you’d still like to present your project to me, I’m obviously open to it!

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