Color Grading

Color grading is a basic but extremely important process in post-production. It’s one of the key tools that ensures overall continuity in the look of your video, and becomes more important as the length of your video increases. Fortunately, it’s also one of the easier parts of post production in the hands of a skilled editor.

The basic premise is simple. The editor uses software to adjust and align elements such as brightness, contrast, and hue. This is especially crucial if you have the same person appearing in multiple scenes in different locations and/or at different times of day (real-life or artificially imposed). If a woman has medium-red hair in one scene, she must have medium-red hair in all of the scenes (taking into account slight variations due to lighting). She’s can’t have orange hair in the morning, dark auburn hair in the afternoon, and flaming scarlet hair by moonlight.

sunset duo

Sunset on Venus? No, it was here on Earth. Color grading ensures you get the exact look you want, whether you’re going for a natural look or artistic enhancement.

During the shoot, a skilled cinematographer  will check the color balance of the camera. Every time there’s a dramatic shift in lighting (which can happen fairly quickly if you’re relying at all on natural light) or a change of location, the director of photography should re-check the color balance. This goes a long way to ensuring continuity when you’re dealing with the overall appearance of the video. However, even the most meticulous video operators can fall victim to technical glitches that cause the final video to look much different than anticipated.

Let’s say that the video has been shot in your place of business. Everything seemed to be going fine; several people checked the video monitor, and you looked perfectly lit. But when the video was brought to the editor, it had an orange cast that made you look like the head Oompa Loompa in Willy Wonka’s factory. Admittedly, this is an attention getter, but…

By adjusting the hue, that orange cast will be a thing of the past. Adjusting brightness and contrast will help video that looks too washed-out.

Not all color-corrections are so dramatic. A slight nudge here and there can give you a healthier glow on the video if you seem overly pale. This is especially helpful if you need a natural look without using excessive makeup, as it avoids the caked-on effect that can happen when you try to change your natural coloring too much with heavy base and powder. Simple color tweaks can also make certain features in the scene stand out more and draw more attention if warranted. Or, subtle adjustments can be used to tone down aspects that seem to be too glaring or distracting.

The most important word to describe color-correction is “believable”. If there is such a noticeable difference from one scene to the next that the viewer exclaims: “We’re not in Kansas any more!” the effort has been wasted. The real goal of color grading is to convince the viewer that no corrections at all have been made. Our editors have extensive experience in making videos that look natural and convincing. Let them work their magic on your video, and you’ll see the high level of quality that is the Hencar promise.

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