New To Color Grading? Follow These Tips For Beginners

Posted on: 28 May 2020

If you are just starting to do your own color grading in video post-production, you may feel a bit daunted by the task that is in front of you. Thankfully, it's not as hard as it seems to get your footage to look great. Here are some color grading tips that every beginner should know.

Shoot Your Footage In Log Mode

When you are picking a shooting mode in your camera, it helps to know the differences between two different shooting modes. You can select a mode that gives your footage a basic look and color grade, or you can shoot your footage in log or logarithmic shooting mode. Log mode will cause everything to look really washed out with a flat image, leaving you wondering why anyone would want to shoot in this mode. 

Log mode is designed to preserve the highlights of the footage so that you can color correct them later. While the image does not look pretty coming directly out of the camera, you'll end up having more control over the color in post-production. Even if you change your mind and don't want to do your own color correction later, it is possible to apply a LUT to your footage to give it a basic color correction without having to create the look from scratch.

Create A Baseline Color Correction

The first thing you want to do with the footage in post-production is to create a basic look for your footage. You want to get the contrast in the right place, the saturation to where you want it, and the cast of the image to the point you like it. A common mistake that people make when starting out with color correction is jumping right into making a stylized look to their footage. This is only going to set you up for problems later on with footage that looks bad and is hard to correct. Always start with a baseline correction, knowing that you can stylize a properly correct image later on. 

Understand The Curve Tool

The next tool you should use to create your look is the curve tool. This is the tool that is really going to create some nice contrast in your footage. The basics behind the curve tool are that you can adjust exposures of your white and blacks independently, with the top of the curve tool adjusting the whites and the bottom adjusting the blacks. Try creating a basic S curve by crushing the blacks slightly and brighten up the whites, which will help form a baseline correction that makes the footage pop.

For more help with Cinema Grade Color Grading Software, contact a company near you.