Color Correcting & Color Grading Notes

Color Correcting & Color Grading Notes


September 1st, 2015


I’m currently helping out a director friend of mine by color correcting & grading a short film. I had to scour online to learn how to do this. So this article i will post videos that I used to easily navigate the world of Color Correction and Color Grading. At times i tend to foget how I did something, so this guide maybe is more for me as a reference back If i need to do this again. If this helps you out then that is awesome. I also took some classes and workshop on Cinematography and they covered color correction and grading, and I am adding my notes, hopefully you can pick up what i was talking about because it gets messy and unorganized.

Pick a hero shot and apply a film emulation lut (look up table) this is optional, then balance using a 3 way color correction either resolve or colorista or the application’s plugin (start with shadows, then hi-lites, then midtones). Learn your scopes: a waveform monitor= luminance & blackness, a vecotor scope = chrominance, and a rgb parade = rgb values. Optional are setting up diffusion effects, vignettes then denoise (either using magic bullet denoiser, neat video or other plugin software). Sharpening the video to make it pop (S-Curve) then adding film-grain (live grain)

As mentioned, there are 3 application that great at color correcting and grading:
Colorista – there are some great tutorials at Prolost
DaVinci Resolve – there are some great tutorial at Tao of Color
Adobe Speed Grade also is a pretty new application by Adobe.

Cinematographers/Filmmakers would usually shoot a film in Flat picture style to get a greater dynamic range. Why do we shoot in flat. Check out this link by Vimeo that explains and Defines Dynamic Range

Color Correction and Color grading are completely different from each other. In simple terms, Color Correction is white balancing, adding contrast to get an image the way you want it, while Color Grading is applying theme to get the looks. Below are a much more proper explanation by (follow the link, it has a couple more great tutorials, like color grading skin tones).

The tools I used are Adobe Creative Cloud Premiere (note: i will post some links to Final Cut also and maybe DaVinci Resolve, as I am also using those applications) and their 3-Way Color Correction plug-in. Also I am using Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Colorista 2 & 3 and also Quick Looks.

Here is a basic tutorial in the proper way to brighten a footage using brightness & contrast by Creative Cow, they also have other great tutorials.

Red Giant’s Quick Guide to Colorista III

I didn’t use Final Cut, but for future reference here is some basics @ using Final Cut Pro’s 3 Way Color Grade Plug-In.

Here is another one for Final Cut but this one talks about wave form and rgb parade. Also a basic on Magic Bullet Looks.

Film Riot is a great filmmaker video tutorials:
Color Correction

Color Grading

Thank You for reading this article, hopefully you learned a couple of things on Color Correction and Grading. I am not a writer mind you so again sorry for the clutter. If you like it and learned, please comment below and share this article to others. And since life is a continuous learning machine I will post updates below on other links that I find, and if you have tips, comments and or links of your own please post it below and i will add it to the update and give you a shout out. Have a blessed day. =)


An article on Color Grading using DaVinci Resolve
An Introduction to Color Corection by Vimeo

9/16/2015 – Here is video of using Adobe Premiere’s Blend Mode on an over exposed footage. On a note if you do this technique you may want to select the layered clips – right click – link them together or nest them on a sequence for trimming.

3/7/2017 – Here is video of using basic tools in Adobe Premiere CC, simple step by step.

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