Colour grading is considered as the unsung hero of the content creation, from still imagery to cinema. You might be doing it every day without even realizing, by changing the levels or curves in Photoshop, adjusting the face colour of the person in the after-effects of taking a photograph in black and white.
Different software packages excel at helping the artists to adjust and change colours. Colour grading typically applies to the creative thought process, and that is why colour needs to be adjusted, rather than colour correction that makes the images work.
When to use colour grading
There are various reasons for you to implement color grading in your project. Colour grading tools are also much like the video production Company tools that are at your disposal; however, you must know when to utilize it. If you overuse it or use a heavy hand, it can be as detrimental to your project as you haven’t done anything at all.
It is not quite a new concept to use colours to represent moods. You can take a look at the prevalence of the mood rings from the past decades. One can see a wealth of colour theory about which the hues elicit specific responses. However, you have to figure out when and how to use these on your audiences.
This is not very easy to handle, but you will get a better feeling for implementing the specific grading techniques after gaining more experience. You need to think about the story that you are telling and your video. When you watch the cuts of the project, you have to think about the emotions you would like your viewers to feel during the specific sequences.
Is the colour grading necessary?
Colour grading is mostly used to denote the character, mood and time. It is an essential part of any process to consider a colour look for a creative project before the start of production. Pixar, who is among the masters of storytelling, creates a wide range of colour scripts before the show commences. This basically indicates the colour palette that will be used for every scene. This also ensures that colour is helping to tell the story to the viewers, rather than fighting against it.
Colour grading vs colour correction
Though colour grading and colour correction have the same tools and software, the difference between both is the mental approach that is taken by the creative team. Colour correction includes different tasks like removing the spots and dust from an image, cropping, and removal of skins marks and the composition of the picture. When you want to match footage from different cameras, colour correction is applicable so that when the colour grader is applied, one can be able to achieve a consistent look throughout the scene.
Colour grading, on the other hand, is used to adjust the image in specific ways to create a stylistic effect. With color grading, you can crush the blacks of the photo to make it feel contemporary, or you can take the match shots from the camera, track and lighten the face of the main characters so that they can stand out.
It is important for you to understand that any colour that you choose either for colour correction or grading, it must be made using non-destructive methods. If there is a flat colour or a neutral profile on the camera, you should use that. You can render CG by using a file type that can support as high a bit depth as the equipment can handle. This will make you get the maximum amount of flexibility in both the colour processes.
Cinematic colour grading
Colour grading is quite a creative choice in cinema that is taken by an innovative team or individual on how best to show the story that is being told by the use of colour. Colour grading is very heavily influenced by the decisions that are made by the director of photography and the director on set.
If the production pipeline ensures that they were shooting in the most flexible way that is possible, then this means that the decisions can easily be made about color grading through to the final edit. The CG artists are quite aware of the need to accommodate the colour grading workflows. Therefore, they use file formats like EXRs, which tend to store a wide range of colour data.
As colour grading is an emotional polish on a film, various feature films leave the colour grade to the end of the production process. Colour grading involves the director sitting in the darkroom with the colour grader. This could be a standalone post making changes to affect the mood of the film.
Colour grading in photography
Photography is also an area where colour grading is very influential. You can adjust the mood of food shot to greener hues that may make a salad look tastier for an Instagram shot. If you add some blues to the shadows of a photograph, this will evoke a more urban look.
In Instagram and other online social apps, we see the use of filters that is an elementary color grading. There is a conscious decision that is made to adjust the look of the photograph to represent better what the photographer wants. Be confident to press the edit button in Instagram to become a power colour grader.
Another big colour grading choice with photography is whether to shoot in black and white. In this age of digital colour, the option of using black and white colour is purely an aesthetic one. This is the reason why it falls under the definition of colour grading, as different elements like texture and composition become essential.
No one can deny the importance of colour grading on your videos. From putting the spotlight on the emotional performances to influencing the thoughts of your audience, it is no doubt an invaluable storytelling tool. Diving into colour grading might feel very daunting in the start, but the results of your hard work will evaluate your videos and make your effort worthwhile.