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Color Correcting VS Color Grading

Updated: Feb 26, 2023

Have you ever wondered why movies appear so otherworldly? Making a location look like a Mars backdrop or a scary haunted mansion is pure movie magic at work. Color correction and color grading are essential for setting the tone and atmosphere of such a visual spectacle. But what's the distinction between the two?

Color is frequently employed by film directors and photographers to create a specific style or ambiance. Footage or raw images captured on cameras may not always transition precisely and perfectly into screens. In the editing process, color correction and color grading are employed to modify color for the optimal viewing experience.

Color Grading vs. Color Correction

Color correction and color grading are terms that are frequently used interchangeably. However, in film or photo editing, these are two distinct procedures. To grasp the distinction between color correction and color grading, we must first recognize that they are both components of a technical post-production process. Color correction is typically performed before color grading.

Color Correction Techniques

On a fundamental level, there are a few simple ways to adjust color. Keep in mind that each adjustment in each stage impacts the others, so you'll have to go back to earlier phases to make the appropriate changes.

Change the white balance.

White balance is the process of achieving a true white in an image or video such that all other colors fall in the correct locations. Because light has a spectrum of warm to cold tones, modifying the white balance involves changing the temperature and tint by adding more warmness or coolness. In post-production, a curved application is typically used to fine-tune white, gray, and black levels.

Adjust the exposure

The exposure of a video or photograph determines how bright or dark it is. Adjust the brightness, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks to achieve the desired exposure. Making use of curves

Color Grading Techniques

Color grading is the practice of adding color information on top of existing color values rather than modifying them.

Split toning should be used.

Split toning is a rapid approach to adding a certain color to an image's or video's lights and darks without impacting the brightness or number of shadows and whites. This enables the addition of one hue to a highlighted area and another to a darker one. For example, you can modify the image's tone without impacting the skin tones.

The most basic technique to use split toning is to change the hue and saturation of highlights and shadows. You will also need to use the balance option to determine whether brightness levels are shadows or highlights - this adds precision to the process.

Make use of scopes.

Scopes ensure that the changing colors are correctly translated across multiple screens. It's pointless to invest time and effort color grading footage just to have the video seem completely different on someone else's screen. Scopes show the exact levels of exposure, color balance, and saturation, ensuring that each shot visually matches and the colors are broadcast-safe.

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