What are colour grading?
Carried out by a trained colour technician, colour grading is a specialist post production technique consisting of careful adjustments to the brightness, contrast, colour balance & vibrancy of a video; making everything look its best in the process.
When filming on location, there are so many factors that can affect the colour balance of the captured image. As a result, colour grading is often essential for matching shots that have been filmed at different times of day, at different locatons or from different camera angles to ensure there’s consistency for viewers throughout. In fact, most videos you watch will have had some degree of basic colour grading to enhance the visuals.
Colour grades are a clever way to neutralise a “colour cast” encountered on location; the result of unavoidably filming too close to a strong colour (bright walls being the main culprit!) and turning everything & everyone in shot the same shade. To avoid the time & expense of restaging or refilming, colour grading can fix the issue instead.
As well as being used for lighting corrections, a colour grade can also be applied to a shot for artistic effect. Frequently used in documentaries and dramatisations, a dramatic colour scheme can help to build suspense, create a subdued mood or suggest to viewers they’re taking a look back in time.
In contrast, bright colour grades can be used to make an event highlights video appear a lot sunnier than it really was or direct viewers to key elements within a shot, such as corporate branding, by making them more vivid than everything else.
Take a look at a selection of different colour grading styles below to help give you some inspiration!