What is Colour Grading and how can it be used?
Colour grading is the process of manipulating video footage (specifically the colour information) during post-production to enhance it. This can be achieved through either basic colour correction, to give consistency to shots, more elaborate colour grading, to give the film a specific ‘look’ or, a mixture of both.
If budgets don’t allow for a full colour grade during post production then a ‘baked in’ look can be used ‘in-camera’. This means that the image that is seen in the viewfinder at the time of recording is exactly the image that you’ll see when the footage is uploaded to a computer.
When this is the case, basic color adjustments can be applied during post production to make sure the shots look as consistent as they can. This can be through tweaks to exposure, contrast, colour and white balance.
However, as this look is ‘baked in’ at the time of recording, it heavily compresses the colour information, meaning that there’s very little leverage in adjusting the colours to achieve a specific ‘look’ that you may want for your film.
For this reason it’s always best to shoot ‘flat’ with a log profile to maximise the recorded colour information. If you were to view footage that had been recorded flat it would look extremely low contrast and completely lifeless. However this flat image allows for maximum manipulation during the grade.
Why is colour grading important?
Colour sets the mood and tone of a piece and can be used to give a stylised aesthetic to a film. To be able to achieve this you need to have a blank canvas to work from.
Imagine trying to build your dream house, but only being able to do so by renovating an existing property vs being able to build a house from scratch. By building it from scratch you’re not limited by existing structures that you have to work around. This is what grading footage that has a ‘baked in’ look, versus what grading ‘flat’ footage is like.
Having the full colour information to work with ensures that you can enhance every aspect of the video image to its greatest potential and have infinite options creatively. This enables you to make a film with a defined style, a consistent look and beautiful images. And beautiful images is what we live for!
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End Frame is a video production company based in London, creating a wide range of content including;
Commercial TVC, Branded Content, Animation, Promotional videos, Corporate videos, Explainer videos and more.