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Li Motion

Color grading vs. color correction, explained

Why Colour Editing Is Important

The same way that filmmakers sometimes have to take on the role of director, editor, cinematographer (and sometimes actor!), they also often have to take on the task of perfecting the color of their videos. However, before you order an ad for the theatres, you’ll need to know some basics: like, what is the difference between color correction and color grading in the first place?

Color correction is the process of altering the overall color of an image (usually balancing out the white and black levels) so there’s a consistent color temperature throughout the entire film — and thus, a consistent look for the story. This is done prior to any color grading, as the actual raw footage needs to be “corrected” so it matches how the human eye sees things.

Color grading, as an optional second step, provides a specific visual style for the film. This can utilize elements of basic color correction, but is taken further. This seriously alters the color of the film to match a particular mood, tone, or theme. Take horror films: often, they feature a low-saturated, cool hue to them, making the video that much scarier to the viewer.

Let’s say you have a bigger budget production, though. You might be able to get a colorist, who can bring their refined training and expertise to better your film. Colorists take on a hefty role, as they usually put some of the final touches on a film. Not only do they help craft the look and feel of the story, but they also make sure that the shots throughout every scene match each other, keeping your visuals consistent.

All video purchases at Li Motion are colour corrected by default. Depending on the mood, tone or theme, most are colour graded using video software. However, for bigger budget productions, additional colorists come on demand, especially for ads featured on cinema screens.

For example, we often edit 90% of our footage on Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro X, because we know that most of our films are dedicated for outdoor banners or online use. We keep it efficient. Other softwares like DaVinci Resolve includes everything professional colorists need to cut blockbuster films, TV shows, and cinema commercials. They don’t us an “VSCO” or ”Instagram” filter button like most might think, instead they literally spend their time colouring and and masking tones to fill the mood.

Few people truly understand just how much the color of an image can change from the moment it’s captured by a camera to the moment it’s projected onto a 60-foot high wall in a dark room.

Color editing itself is an extremely helpful means of not only establishing the visual aesthetic of the film, but helping fix anything color-related that may have happened during production. However, don’t let the “We’ll fix it in post!” mentality get in the way of being proactive about the coloring of your film.

We’ll leave you with the latest colour showreel of our colorist, Arnaud Geysen.